Service Dog Program

Life-Saving Independence Through Training

When we developed our service dog program, we had two goals in mind:

To create an accessible option for disabled handlers to have a service dog they can train to their specific needs

To clarify and demystify the service dog process and the laws surrounding the use of a trained service animal, so handlers can utilize their dogs with confidence

To that end, we have developed an OWNER-TRAINING PROGRAM that serves as a middle ground between receiving a fully-trained “program dog” from a large organization, or doing it all yourself.

This program builds upon our existing Partnership Training philosophy, and incorporates the training of individual tasks that mitigate a handler’s disability, as well as the critical public access training service animals need to safely accompany their handlers in day-to-day life.

      • We work with clients to train their own dogs for service dog work, utilizing our Board & Train and Private Lesson programs
      • Each prospect dog is carefully assessed prior to beginning training, and dogs continue to be re-assessed as they advance through the various stages of our program for suitability.
      • We maintain a high standard of reliability and control to ensure confidence and safety while out in public
      • We work extensively with handlers to ensure that training is being utilized correctly and maintained, and that handlers are well-versed in their rights, the rights of businesses and other entities, and appropriate service dog rules and etiquette. We treat the dog and handler as equal pieces to create a cohesive whole.

What type of dogs do you train? 

Because we custom-tailor each program for our individual teams, we can assist with many different disabilities and they don’t always fit into a pre-defined category. However, all of our service dogs must be trained to perform specific tasks to assist their handlers, in accordance with service dog law.

Exception: We do not train seeing-eye/guide dogs for visually-impaired handlers

*We do NOT train Emotional Support Animals for public access. Psychiatric service dogs must still be trained to perform specific tasks. 

Below are some of the most common types of service dog tasks we train (but not an exhaustive list):

Mobility Assistance

  • Retrieve Objects for handler
  • Open and Close Doors
  • Push Handicap Button
  • Turn on and off lights
  • Assist to remove clothing (pulling off socks, pants, jackets. etc.)
  • Momentum pull and counterbalance
  • Assist with position transfer (sit to stand, etc.)
  • Pull a wheelchair

Psychiatric Assistance (Includes PTSD & Autism)

  • Create space for handler in crowds (Blocking / orbiting)
  • Watch behind handler for strangers approaching
  • Alert handler to impending medical crisis (panic attack, flashback, meltdown, etc.)
  • Deep Pressure Therapy to calm handler after medical crisis or to reduce length/severity of medical episode
  • Alert to/interrupt maladaptive behavior (i.e. skin or nail picking)
  • Interrupt meltdowns/crying
  • Turn on lights in dark room/perform room searches
  • Provide tactile grounding (physical contact on cue, head in lap for petting, persistent/soothing licking
  • Find Help in case of medical emergency (parent, family member, even a stranger)
  • Help prevent bolting

Scent-Based Medical Alert (Allergen Detection, Diabetic Alert, etc.)

  • Train dogs to identify and alert to the presence of specific odors and alert their handlers, such as:
    • Dangerous food allergens
    • High/low blood sugar levels
    • Seizures
    • Other medical episodes such as migraines, autoimmune reactions, etc.
  • Teach a specific, recognizable alert for the handler
  • *Note – Scent-based medical alerts (exception: diabetic alert dog) do not have enough current research behind them to guarantee results. The methods for collecting scent samples during medical events and training dogs to orient on these samples is a sound practice, but we cannot guarantee that all dogs will be able to reliably perform these alerts. For any team wishing to train scent-based medical alerts, we recommend this not be the only task the dog is trained to perform. 

Seizure Assistance

Note – We cannot guarantee a dog we train will be able to detect seizures before they occur. Some dogs possess this ability innately, and we can shape and reinforce this ability into a reliable alert. We can also attempt scent-based seizure alert training, but research in this area is lacking and results are not guaranteed.  

If the dog does not possess a natural alert and is unsuccessful with scent-based training, we can still train response/assistance behaviors for seizures, such as:

  • Rolling a handler over onto his/her side to prevent aspiration
  • Lying next to/on top of the handler or under the handler’s head to prevent injury
  • Assisting the handler to recover or to navigate to a safe location (a seat, the handler’s vehicle, etc.)
  • Teach a dog to “Find Help” by locating a friend/family member or even a stranger.
  • Teach a dog to retrieve food, water, or medications to an individual recovering from a seizure


Before we can begin a service-dog training program, you need to have a dog to train. Being an OWNER TRAINING PROGRAM means that handlers bring their own dogs to us for training – but not all dogs make good service dogs. You will find yourself in one of the two situations below:



If you do not yet have a dog, or if your current dog is not suitable service dog candidate, our trainers can assist you in a variety of ways, both virtual or in-person:

  • Phone or email consultation to help determine the ideal breed/age/type of dog for training based on your individual needs
  • Phone, email, or virtual consultation with your chosen breeder or rescue organization to discuss ideal traits or to screen a potential candidate dog
  • Researching breeders to find potential candidates
  • Conducting in-person assessments on puppy litters or candidate dogs for local breeders, rescues, or individuals (within the greater Missoula/Bitterroot valley area.)

Click Here to Read About Choosing A Service Dog Candidate


Virtual Consultations – $70/hour

In-Person Assessments – $95/hour plus mileage


For clients who have a dog they wish to train as as service dog, our first step will be to assess your dog to determine if he or she makes a suitable service dog candidate. We will perform an in-person, hands-on assessment and go over the results with you. From there, we can determine whether or not to continue training or if we need to look for a more suitable service dog candidate. 

  • Temperament tests on puppies 49 days-6 months old do not always predict adult temperaments. All puppies may begin our puppy-training program and will be re-assessed as they progress and age. 
  • Dogs who initially pass an assessment may still be determined unsuitable if they demonstrate any “red flag” behaviors during the training process, such as aggression towards humans or other dogs, or extreme fear or environmental sensitivities. Dogs who display these behaviors may be dismissed from our program. 

On-Site Temperament Assessment & Training Consultation – $75

Off-Site Assessment – $95



Once you know what your starting situation is, we ask that you fill out our service dog program application by clicking the button below. This will give our trainers the preliminary information we need to determine how best to help you.

Once we’ve received that application, one of our trainers will reach out to you either to work with you on finding a suitable service dog candidate, or for scheduling your existing dog’s evaluation.

Build A Training Program

Once you’ve identified the dog you’ll be training, you’ll work with one of our trainers to build a program that addresses the specific tasks you need your dog to perform to mitigate your disability(ies). We can utilize our Board & Train option, our Private Lesson option, or a combination of the two. We also take into account a dog’s age and the handler’s learning style and pace so teams have the best chance of success.

Our program addresses four critical components of a well-trained service dog team:

  • Foundation Obedience Training
  • Service Dog Task Training
  • Public Access Training
  • Handler Education on service dog rights and laws


Pricing Guidelines

Below is a general guideline of costs for our service dog program, via Board & Train and private lessons. This guideline assumes a dog is begining with no previous training and is a suitable candidate. Actual costs will vary based on the number and type of tasks needing to be trained, and a formal quote will be drafted after completion of your hands-on assessment and consultation.

Training Assessment – $75-$95

Training Gear (Including leashes, collars, vests, harnesses, etc.) – $250-$500


Service Dog Puppy Jump Start          – 2 Weeks – $1,400

Foundation Partnership Training     – 2 Weeks – $1,800

Advanced Training (PA Prep)            – 2 Weeks – $2,000

(Recommended) – Off Leash              – 2 Weeks – $2,000

Task Training                                        – VARIES – $1,800-$5,400

Public Access Training                          – 4 Weeks – $4,000                     

Total Board & Train Estimate    12-20 Weeks     $9,600-$18,000


Service Dog Puppy Jump Start              – 4 Lessons – $360-$380

Foundation Partnership Training         – 4 Lessons – $380-$420

Advanced Training (PA Prep)                – 4 Lessons – $380-$420

(Recommendedd) – Off Leash              – 4 Lessons – $380-$420

Task Training                                             – VARIES – $380-$1,260

Public Access Training                             – 8 lessons – $840                       

Total Private Lesson Estimate       24-32 lessons – $2,360-$3,360