FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does ASA offer professionally trained dogs?
Yes, we provide fully trained Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs, and Therapy Dogs (sometimes called Comfort Dogs).
Where does ASA obtain the assistance dogs?
We get our dogs from a variety of sources including rescues, reputable breeders and sellers, and generous puppy donations.
What breeds does ASA train?
ASA provides hypoallergenic and non-hypoallergenic options. Hypoallergenic breeds include (but are not limited to) Poodles, and Poodle mixes such as Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Aussiedoodles, and Shepadoodles. Non-hypoallergenic breeds may include (but are not limited to) Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, German Shepherds, and Border Collies.
What traits is ASA looking for when finding an assistance dog for me?
Ensuring the dog is the perfect match for the recipient is what we do best. We account for many factors when matching the service dog to their new recipient. Lifestyle, exercise options, goals, housing, and family members (caregivers) needs are all taken into consideration. Working drive, energy level, hypoallergenic requirement, exercise requirements, age, health, size, and temperament are all considered when choosing the appropriate dog.
Is there an age restriction for the recipient?
No, we do not have an age restriction for the recipients. Assistance dogs can help in a plethora of different ways. These dogs are trained to assist the recipient, but they are also incredibly beneficial to the recipient’s family, friends and caregivers. The most important aspect for those receiving the assistance dog, is to ensure that they provide benefits when and where they’re needed.
How do I apply to receive a trained Service Dog, Emotional Support Dog or Therapy Dog?
Complete our application; the application fee is $40. You may pay the application fee by:
Visiting our website at: www.asaservicedogs.org
Click the “pay now” button on the right side of the home page
Pay $40.00 via PayPal
The application will be sent via e-mail (or postal mail if requested) within 2 business days
“Reply” or “send” the completed application to email@example.com
Within 15 business days after we have received the completed application, we will respond with an e-mail containing the following information: a list of tasks and commands the service dogs will perform uniquely for the recipient, the estimated training time, the estimated waiting list time, and the cost. We then schedule a time to discuss our program and expectations of owning a service dog.
How much will my trained Service Dog, Emotional Support Dog, or Therapy Dog cost?
The donation requirement for our assistance dogs varies based on each recipient’s unique needs. A trained ASA assistance dog will range between $5,000 to $25,000.
That is a wide range, how do I know exactly how much the dog will cost?
After you complete our application, we will respond with a customized training plan including the cost, estimated wait time, and list of command and tasks that the assistance dog will perform uniquely for the recipient. Many organizations charge one price for all of their trained dogs, we do not believe this method is fair. We try to keep the cost as low as possible for each individual recipient.
What if I don’t have the funds?
Most of our recipients have raised full or partial funds by fundraising, corporate matching, and by acquiring grants and financial assistance. Once you have signed up with our organization, we are happy to share and promote your fundraising efforts on our ASA social media, along with offer a list of proven-to-work fundraising ideas.
Why do assistance dogs cost so much?
Training time can range from 4 moths to 2 years. Boarding a dog for 4 months at $40 a night (the average boarding costs for 24 hour supervision) costs the organization $4,500 ($29,200 for 2 years), that’s not including the 300 to 1800 hours of advanced professional training per dog, food, vet care, and the purchase of these temperament and health tested dogs.
ASA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Any money received goes directly into the organization to help us help others. We rely on donations from outside sources to help us keep the costs low.
How long does it take to learn how to work with the trained dog?
An ASA trainer will provide a minimum of two full days of service dog handler education before the dog is released from the organization. This intensive handler course is private (not a group class) with an professional service dog trainer.
What if I need help with training in the future?
The assistance dog training is guaranteed for the working life of the dog. This means ASA will be available for questions, concerns, issues, and refresher training (on ASA business days), for the entire life of your dog. Refresher training is available at our Lakeland Florida location by appointment.
Can I train my personal dog to become an assistance dog?
Yes, we offer advanced training lessons and classes at our Lakeland, Florida location. Basic obedience is required as a prerequisite for Service Dog, ESD or Therapy Dog training. We highly recommend John K9.
Do you offer certifications?
Yes, we offer ASA Service Dog Certification, ASA Therapy Dog Certification, and ASA Emotional Support Dog Certification. Certification Testing is offered at the Lakeland store, contact us for additional details. Each testing is video documented; the team (which includes the dog and all handler(s) must be present to receive certification. An ID, certificate, and vest will be provided upon completion.
Does my service dog go with me everywhere I go?
Yes service dogs are legally allowed to accommodate you in public locations including restaurants, hotels, beaches etc.
Although they are allowed to accommodate you everywhere you go, this does not mean that they have to accommodate you everywhere you go!
Service Dogs are an incredibly beneficial tool to be used, when and where they are needed. The service dog and handler bond is something that initially takes time to develop. Practice, practice, practice is required before most people feel confident handling their assistance dog. The recipient must learn how to “read” the dog. The dog must learn how to adjust to their new person’s command variations, habits, walking patterns, noises, etc. Good habits must be formed.
We recommend taking the time to become a great handler before taking your service dog to places that may cause stress for both of you. It can be very difficult for a new handler to focus on their dog when they have an agenda such as shopping, traveling, working, test taking etc.; practice at the grocery store, but only when you don’t have to go shopping! Once you are confident in your handing skills and what to expect in response from your service dog, then you will be ready to take your service dog with you everywhere you go!
Can I obtain a dog from ASA if I already own a dog or another animal?
Yes we allow placement of service dogs in home that own other animals. The animals must not show any aggression to dogs and must be well controlled.
Is a Service Dog right for me?
There are many misconceptions about service dogs, our goal is to educate. The following is a list of misconceptions or misunderstandings, followed by a little bit of clarification:
“My life will be so much easier when I have my service dog.”
Reality – Owning a service dog requires work!
Although service dogs provide immeasurable benefits, “less work” is not included on that list. Dogs are just like humans; they eat and drink, use the bathroom, require grooming and veterinary visits, not to mention attention, entertainment, socialization, continual education, exercise and love. A minimum of 30 minutes of training practice must be completed by the service dog handlers daily. Please remember that you will be 100% responsible for every aspect of that dog’s life, an awesome experience, but it does require work!
“The service dog will know what to do!”
Reality – Service dogs are super cool, but unfortunately (and against popular belief), they are NOT able to read human minds! Service Dogs are trained to respond to clear commands given by the supervising handler.
Clear communication is one of the most important aspects of the service dog team. We teach you how to appropriately communicate to the dog, along with how to “read” what the dog is doing in response. We essentially teach the dogs a little bit of English, specifically the English commands listed on your customized training plan. These must be communicated clearly by the educated supervising handler. The dog is “paid” with positive reinforcement for completing the command appropriately, and corrected when the appropriate response is not displayed. Handler education regarding proper communication, corrections, enforcement, and reinforcement of the service dog will be provided to the handler(s) on the exit dates. Paperwork will then be signed by the adult handler(s) confirming comprehension of proper service dog handling education.
“My service dog will be perfect at all times, just like a robot!”
Reality – Service dogs are still DOGS!
Service dogs have emotions and personalities, likes and dislikes; they are very similar to human children. They will need structure, routine, attention, sleep, food and water, love, a place to use the bathroom, attention, toys, fun, exercise, health checks, and a climate controlled living environment.
“The service dog must be working at all times.”
Reality – The service dog is a tool to be used when the handler is in need of their service(s).
When the handler has released the dog with “free dog”, the dog is free from working until a following command is given. When released from working, they are able to “just be a dog”- similar to a pet. They can play, swim, run, sleep, eat & drink, roam the house, and interact with all members of the family.
“I will be an expert handler as soon as I get my trained dog!”
Reality – Handling an assistance dog is similar to driving a fancy car; it takes time and practice to become an expert driver!
An ASA trainer will provide a minimum of two full days of service dog handler education before the dog is released from our organization. This intensive handler course is private (not a group class) with an advance service dog trainer. The handler(s) will be taught how to control (how to drive) the dog. We not only encourage, but require daily practice. Usually after 6 months of practicing training every day, you will be a good driver.