The following are some frequently asked questions we recieve from handlers and potential clients. if you have any other questions, Service Dog Central and the Americans with Disabilities Act are great resources. 


Q: What is a service dog? 
A: A service dog is a dog specifically trained to perform tasks to help a disabled handler. These are not "naturally occuring" behaviors. An example of a task would be if you were to have an anxiety attack and your service dog responded by retrieving medication from the cupboard, water from the fridge and then performed Deep Pressure Therapy. Merely providing comfort does not make a dog a service dog. In addition, service dogs undergo extensive training in obedience and public access so that they may accompany their handler anywhere the general public is permitted.  
Q: What public access rights do service dog teams have? 
A: Service dogs can accompany their handers anywhere the general public is permitted, including movie theaters, restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores, hotels, airplanes etc. They can also reside in non-pet housing and fly with their handlers. Because of this privlige, service dogs undergo rigerous temperament testing and training.  
Q: How do I qualify for a service dog? 
A: You must be disabled. Your disability cannot be of a temporary nature, such as a broken leg or a momentary depression. Your disability must severely limit one or more of your life activities (walking, talking, etc.).  
Q: I qualify for a service dog. Now what? 
A: Now, you have a lot of research and contemplation to do. Consider the nature of your disability. How would you like a dog to help? If, for example, you possess limited mobility in your right side, then a service dog might be trained to retrieve dropped items, remind you to take medication or fetch help should you fall. If you suffer from PTSD or anxiety, tasks such as deep pressure therapy for anxiety, blocking people from approaching behind you and interupting a disassociation episode might be useful. Once you have comprised a task list, it's time to consider your lifestyle and abilities. What breed is best? Would you prefer to train a service dog yourself (owner training) or have a professional train the dog for you? Would you go to work and/or school with the dog? Do you possess the physical strength and ability to provide exercise for the dog? Do you have the necessary funds to provide medical care and the cost of training and equipment? These and more are all questions to consider, and we'd be happy to discuss them with you!  
Q: How long does it take to train a service dog? 
A: The answer depends on how experienced you are, how much time you have to dedicate to the project, the temperament, intelligence and working drive of the dog and much more! We have been training service dogs for the past 7 years, and our experience helps us vastly in determining the right temperament in the dog, directing their training and teaching them advanced task work and public access. We take a full 12 to 15 months to fully train a service dog in our Raise and Train Program. Working with an owner to help them train their own dog can take longer.   


Q: Do you offer payment plans? 
A: We do! Please call for more information. 
Q: Do you know of any government grants to help offset the cost of a service dog? 
A:We do not. We do have a great many of our clients who fundraise successfully though! 
Q: I have other pets at home. Does that disqualify me from any of your programs? 
A: If your other pets are friendly, fully vaccinated and you are able to hold your service dog to a higher level of obedience, then we are happy to place a dog in your home. Please call for more information.  
Q: I am interested in one of your programs and have filled out your Preliminary Application. Now what? 
A: Now we will look over your application and get back to you as quickly as possible. Due to the high number of applications we try to respond within the week.  In the meantime, we recommend you go onto our Instagram at #customk9servicedogs and take a look at the pics and videos of us working with our dogs. We also strongly recommend you watch some videos, read articles and research a ton!  


Q: I am interested in applying for the next dog you are training in your Fully Trained Service Dog Program.  
A: Excellent! Start with the Preliminary Application and we will be in touch! Applications for our next Raise and Train Program dog, born in December 2018, will be closed on April 30th, 2018.  We will consider all applications and notify you if you have been accepted into our program by the first week of May 2018. We appreciate your patience as pairing the right handler with the right dog is our paramount concern.  

Q: Are your Raised and Trained service dogs "certified"? 
A: Glad you asked! There is NO such thing as a service dog certification in the United States. Vests, ID cards and other forms of identification are not required by law. While we do recommend that you vest your service dog to avoid any confusion, this is a personal suggestion from years of experience handling service dogs.  For our Raise and Train Porgram, we do provide you with written training logs and videos proving your dog's training, and a letter signed by us testifying the dog has passed our training program. 

Q: What would disqualify me from your selection process? 
A: We do not place our dogs with handlers under the age of 14, train guide dog tasks or train one dog for multiple handlers. Additionally, when we make our selection process, we consider the potential client's living situation, career, lifestyle and future goals. Our ideal client has the full support of their family and friends, works in an environment where the service dog would not be in danger, and is physically capable of providing the exercise requirements a young, healthy dog needs to thrive.  

Q: I have chronic fatigue. Does this disqualify me from your program?  
A: We have many clients with chronic fatigue, and while your dog will still require exercise, there are a variety of ways to accomplish that without going out for a brisk jog. We teach all of our dogs to play fetch and they view working for you (fetching items, doing DPT etc.) to be great fun! Just be aware that after a couple of days your dog will need a walk.  

Q: If accepted, will you provide me with a service dog vest? 
A: We find our clients prefer to use their own style of vest, but we do provide you with a Custom K-9 Service Dogs patch and a signed letter testifying that your dog has undergone extensive professional training.  
Q: Why do you only raise and train Labradors and Golden Retrievers?  
A: In the 7 years of raising and training service dogs, we have found the greatest success with well bred, temperament tested labs and goldens.
Q: If accepted, can I name my future service dog? 
A: Absolutely! We are often waitlisted years in advance, so you can take your time and choose a name that you feel is befitting. We also encourage our clients to bring collars, ID tags, favorite dog toys and blankets so they can be a part of the pup's first year.  
Q:  How do you select my puppy? 
A: We conduct a variety of modern behaviorism and temperment tests on each puppy of the litter at 5 weeks of age. We encourage clients to participate in the selection process. After evaluating each puppy, we present our first and second choices and you can make your selection.  
Q: If I am selected, how often can I expect communication and updates from you? 
A: We try to send daily updates, pictures and videos. We also encourage our clients to visit us throughout the dog's year with us. Located in beautiful Carson City, we are 35 minutes away from Lake Tahoe and 40 minutes from Reno, so there is plenty to do and see during your visit.  
Q: What if I decide I need an additional task trained? 
A: Should you require an additional task we will consider teaching it to the dog depending on their age and progress. Please call to discuss with us.  
Q: What if I decide I need additional public access trained? 
A: If you need additional or specialized public access then we are happy to train them at additional cost. Please call to discuss with us.
Q: If accepted what is needed to prepare my home for my new service dog? 
A: You will need to purchase a crate, bedding, food and water bowl, dog food, a treat bag (we recommend rock climbing bags that belt around the waist) and any other equipment such as a vest, patches and harness that you will require.  We can provide gear recommendations and pro-deal suggestions.  

Q: How long does it take to upkeep my service dog's training each day?  
A: A daily upkeep for the service dog's training is required, around 15-20 minutes of practicing commands in the addition to your daily routine together. For the days when you might be ill in bed, missing a couple of days is fine, so long as you provide exercise and stimulation in the days to follow.  
Q: I will be attending college with my service dog. Would you be willing to meet with my Disability Resource Center/Advisor and discuss the service dog's presence? 
A: Absolutely. We frequently discuss the service dog's role in academic environments and work with the handler on how to introduce their service dog and interact with the public.  

Q: I've been accepted into your Raise and Train Program! Now what? 
A: Congragulations! We will Skype or call you to confirm a payment schedule, discuss the tasks you wish us to train and determine when you can fly down to watch us select your pup. After we confirm your acceptance, you have 30 days to send your first agreed payment. After 30 days, your spot in our program is no longer guarenteed and we will move onto our second choice.  

Q: After you have bonded my service dog to me, can I contact you if I have any problems? 
A: Of course! We consider our clients family, so first, we will not leave until we are certain you and your dog are ready. Secondly, when we are back in NV, you are welcome to call or chat with us anytime. We do everything we can to support our clients from afar.  

 Q: I was declined admittance into your Raise and Train Program. When can I next apply? 
A: For each dog we raise and train, we recieve on average 20-25 applications. We value each and every applicant but at the moment, we only raise and train one service dog at a time. When we are prepared to work with another dog we will post on our website and reopen applications. We also offer other alternative programs for those who wish to Owner Train with professional assistance and long-distance obedience training. Please give us a call and we will see how we can help!