training service animals

kelly wei

what sort of training do service dogs undergo?


  • Puppies around 14-16 months of age are brought in.
  • A six-nine month training course with professional instructors.
  • The first two weeks, dogs are screened and undergo x-rays and medical tests to make sure they're healthy and have a good personality.
  • Some dogs are released due to medical or temperament problems. The others continue into training.

first semester

  • Lasts three months.
  • Teaches basic obedience commands the dogs learned as puppies.
  • Dogs begin to work around the wheelchair and learn the "retrieve" command.
  • Those that pass the first semester continue into their second semester of training.

second semester

  • Three months long.
  • Finishes teaching the basic commands the dogs will need to know.
  • They learn 40+ commands and practice working in different environments.
  • Dogs are prepare for Team Training, where the dogs are paired with a human to work together.

team training

  • Two-week session.
  • Teaches the humans how to properly care for and handle their service animals.


Some service animal training institutes will check up regularly on their service animals after they have graduated and been adopted into families, just to make sure they are still efficient and providing positively to their owner's life.