How to Make Your Dog a Service Dog

How to make your dog a service dog in the Philippines

As a dog lover, you're probably already aware of the joy and comfort of being around dogs. However, aside from these benefits, there are actually dogs that can provide you with more than comfort. They are widely known as service dogs.

If you're thinking of turning your dog into a service dog, then here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Assessing your dog

Your dog's breed, age, and health condition must be thoroughly assessed before he can be granted permission to be a service dog. If your dog is a female, she must be neutered to lessen the chances of aggression or heat. He must also be more than 6 months old and over the puppy years.

In terms of health, your dog shouldn't have any health conditions that can put additional strain on him in case he becomes a service dog. These conditions include arthritis, obesity, and diabetes.

Finding the right training program

Aside from signing up for a professional training service, you can personally train your dog. If he will be rendering psychiatric services, it's recommended that you prepare your own dog to ensure the bond between the two of you. If you decide to enroll him in a professional trainer, make it a point to involve yourself in the sessions. Leaving him alone with the trainer can disrupt his connection with you.

Training the dog

Generally speaking, it can take six months to two years before a dog fully masters the tasks of being a service dog. He must be trained to behave appropriately in public places and to respond based on his handler's disabilities. He should be able to accompany you wherever you go without disrupting or annoying anyone.  

Although there are no known strict obedience requirements, your dog should be able to skillfully respond to the following commands:
  • Stay
  • Down
  • Wait
  • Heel
  • Come

Final Assessment

To prove your dog's capability as a service dog, he should be able to display good behavior in public places. He should be able to urinate or relieve himself only on command. He shouldn't behave aggressively, like growling or barking at others. Your dog should also be able to contain his excitement once he's out with you. All of these behaviors should be appropriately documented, preferably in video format.

Related Article: Best Autism Service Dogs for Both Children and Adults

Getting certified

Certification and registration of service dogs vary from state to state. If you are unsure about the procedure in your area, it’s best to consult other service dog owners to get a clearer idea. Aside from this, official services can put your dog’s name in the national registry. Upon placing on the registry, your dog will get a picture ID, a badge, and a certification letter. You can present the certificate and the badge to institutions that want to verify your dog’s status.

Before registration, you must verify the legitimacy of the service handling your dog’s certification. Make sure that it's accredited by the Better Business Bureau and that there’s an actual customer service representative you can actually talk to.

In the Philippines? Try Dr. Dog Instead

Service dogs are less popular in the Philippines than in the United States and other countries. Because they are rare, getting your dog certified as a qualified service dog can be challenging. As an alternative, however, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society is implementing a dog-assisted therapy program that can be checked out.

Requirements for enrolling your dog in the Dr. Dog program include the following:
  • As an owner, you must be at least 18 years old to volunteer your dog.
  • Your dog must be at least 2 years old and have lived with you for at least 6 months before the examination.
  • He must be healthy and de-sexed.
  • He must also have basic obedience skills.
  • Your dog should have updated vaccines and certifications as proof.
  • He should have an outgoing personality and can adapt well to stress.


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