Frequently Asked Questions
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*This total reflects what it costs to raise, train and prepare a fully trained service dog. Our dogs are approximately 1.5-2 years of age by the time they are placed with an individual or family and have undergone thousands of hours of professional training.
- Purchase of a suitable puppy: $2,500-3,500
- Insurance: $1,200
- Veterinary Expenses: $2,000
- Training & Care: $20,000
It takes about a year to receive a fully trained service dog. If you already have a suitable dog that has passed our temperament and health assessments, the dog’s training usually lasts 3-4 months.
We typically use Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Standard Goldendoodles, and Standard Poodles for our program. However, some of our clients are able to use their personal dog for service work, and therefore we train a variety of other breeds as well. The temperament of the dog is much more important than the type of breed.
Most of our clients fundraise for their service dogs, including fundraising events and online crowdfunding campaigns. Some clients have also utilized their health insurance or have applied for grants to help cover the costs. The IRS now categorizes service dogs as a medical expense, so the costs associated with purchasing a service dog or paying for service dog training is now deductible on tax returns.
The initial deposit for a Started Service Dog through our program is $5,000. The remaining balance for the dog ($11,000) can be paid in full or into four monthly payments.
The cost for Phase 3: Task Training ranges from $7,000 to $14,000, depending on the duration of training required. Monthly payments amount to $3,500.
Once your dog has completed Phase 3: Task Training, we will fly or drive to your location along with your service dog. For local clients, delivery is done through a series of private lessons over 5-6 days. For distance clients (those located outside of the Charlotte Metro area), we stay in your area for approximately 5-6 days, and provide several private lessons per day. Travel fees will apply (mileage, flights, hotel, etc). During the delivery, we will review how to properly care for and work with your new dog. We cover all aspects of dog care, exercise, management, obedience, task training, motivation, and rapport building. We want to ensure that you feel fully confident in your ability to work with your new dog, and prepare you for the team certification tests.
To graduate from our program, each team is required to successfully pass three tests: AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen), AKC CGCA (Advanced), and a Public Access Test (PAT). These tests are provided at no additional cost. Upon program completion, participants receive a certificate of achievement. Additionally, the AKC will issue a title of completion for both the CGC and CGCA tests.