Service Dog Application Process and Cost
SERVICE DOG APPLICATION PROCESS – STEP ONE
We would be happy to assist you in finding the right service dog for your child and family. Our service dog application process is pretty simple. We will send out a Service Dog Application Package. This package is in-depth and gives us information about the needs of the family and allows you the opportunity to give us the proper insight that we need for selecting and training a Service Dog for your family. Service Dog Application Packages are reviewed regularly and once your package is approved, we will set a meeting or phone conference and discuss dog selection, needs, etc. We will also discuss your family’s frequent activities, hobbies, etc. so that we can have the best information when we begin to look for dogs to meet your needs. There is a $50 non-refundable application fee.
When Assistance Service Dogs BC Association and the family have agreed to work together, the family is sent our Service Dog Training Agreement. At this time the family signs and sends the agreement with a $1000.00 non-refundable deposit. This deposit ensures that you retain the next available spot on our waiting list.
SERVICE DOG APPLICATION PROCESS – STEP TWO
Our staff will then create a dog selection profile for your review and proceed with the purchase of a dog. ASDBC acquires and holds the dog for you until training begins. At this time, you have the opportunity to “meet and greet” with the dog and spend some time getting to know the dog. This time also allows us to meet with you and your family and discuss your needs further. This meeting is very helpful to us in customizing the dog to fit your needs. Once training begins, we require a payment of 25% of the total cost of the dog.
SERVICE DOG APPLICATION PROCESS – STEP THREE
Training takes, on average, 4-6 months. Some dogs will take less time and others will take more, depending on the type and amount of tasks that are needed to be taught. During the training process, we will continue to work together to obtain additional information to assist us in training the dog and we will also provide you with updates on the dog and their training progress. Our standard assistance dog includes: advanced obedience training, tracking, public access training, repetitive behavior interruption and environmental stability training. Dogs requiring additional training will increase in price. Please feel free to contact us for more detailed pricing to fit your needs.
SERVICE DOG APPLICATION PROCESS – STEP FOUR
Once the training is complete, you can either come to our facility to pick up the dog (we will want to spend about 5 days working with you) or we can deliver the dog to your home. In home delivery is preferred by a majority of our clients and require additional costs. Some of the benefits of in home delivery include:
• Teaching the entire family how to work with the dog in your home where it will live and work
• Our trainer(s) come to you so that you do not have to travel
• We are able to work with your family outside the home in restaurants, theaters, stores and other places that you commonly visit
• Our trainers are able to answer questions and demonstrate techniques to help get the most from your dog while it is transitioning to your home
Upon delivery, the balance of the dog/training cost is due.
COST OF A SERVICE DOG
Unfortunately, there is no Government funding for Service Dogs in Canada. We ask our applicant families to assist us in fundraising for their dog. Our approximate breakdown cost of the dog ($25,000) is the following:
- purchase of puppy/dog including crate and airfare from reputable breeder ($2000-3000)
- 350-400 hours of private training and 150 hours of group training for socialization/public access ($10,000)
- boarding and office costs during training ($4700)
- vet bills during first 2 years of training including spay/neuter ($2000 approx).
- food during 2 years of puppy raising and training ($2400)
- ongoing maintenance training for the 8-10 years (average) working life of the dog, plus on-call assistance to the family ($2000-$3000)
- Cost of first government certification test ($300)
*This does not include office and admin costs that are all volunteer at this point in time.
WHY ISN’T THE SERVICE DOG FREE?
A large majority of the service dog agencies list their dogs as “no cost to the recipient,” which is often taken to mean “free.” However, service dogs are not free. The agency placing the dogs, “at no cost to the recipient” has received donations for the funding of the dog placed. In other words, someone other than the recipient paid for the training of his or her dog.
These agencies have a person, or a small number of people, doing the fundraising. They are able to raise funds and the amount of dogs placed is limited to the fundraising they are able to complete on behalf of the organization. This is part of the reason service dog organizations that place service dogs with children tend to have very long wait lists – an average of five to ten years, some even higher! Some agencies aren’t even accepting applications, as their wait list will keep them busy for the foreseeable future.
The payment for service model allows us to expand our fundraising reach. More fundraising is done in less time to more potential donors. This also limits the wait for our families. There is not a long wait list at ASDBC. Once the fee has been paid (either in full at the time of application or after the family completes fundraising), a dog must be born, raised, and trained for the applicant. On average our families complete the entire process in 1-2 years, with an average of 6 months spent fundraising and 18-22 months from completion of fundraising to training class date.