Owner Trained Service Dogs

Our Lead Dog Service Dog Program includes an owner trained service dog program.  You may elect to train your own dog as your service dog. However, you and your dog must meet certain requirements in order to become a certified service dog team through our program.

Please thoroughly read our application, training, and certification processes for owner trained dogs before submitting an application request.

Application Process

In order to be accepted into our owner trained dog program, the dog must be in good health, up-to-date on its shots, and must be spayed or neutered at the appropriate age. Additional testing may be required.

The puppy or dog must pass an initial temperament test. Please be aware that only 20% of dogs will pass this in-depth test. There is a fee for this evaluation. All applicants must request an application for the temperament test.

Training Your Dog

All puppies in our owner trained dog program must attend puppy classes and puppy outings with our other service dogs in training. The fee for each semester must be paid in advance and is non-refundable, even if you do not attend all classes. Each semester is approximately four months long. Our training staff will determine how many semesters you must attend.

If you attend at least 80% of our classes, you may be loaned a Lead Dog Service Dog vest or harness.

In addition to regular puppy classes, you must attend private lessons to teach your dog the tasks necessary to mitigate your disability. Our training staff will teach you how to train your dog to perform these tasks. The lessons will be held at a mutually agreeable time and location chosen by us. Payment is due at the completion of each lesson.

As with all Lead Dog Service Dogs puppies and dogs in training, your dog must pass frequent temperament evaluations throughout training. Your dog will stay in the training program at the discretion of our Lead Dog Service Dog Program. There is no guarantee that your dog will have a suitable temperament to qualify as a service dog.

If you and your dog do not complete the training process, you must return all materials loaned to you by the program.


When your dog is fully trained, over one year of age, and meets all of our temperament and health requirements, you and your dog can start the certification process.

To become certified by Lead Dog Service Dogs, you and your dog must complete an in-depth exam and certification testing in public this is held at the end of each semester. Successful completion is passing the Foundation for Service Dog Support Public Access Test and our Lead Dog Service Dog Program Task Test.

You will receive a Lead Dog Service Dogs harness or vest suitable for your dog and your disability with our logo patches, adaptive equipment normally supplied to our teams, a dated letter of certification, and an ID card which expires yearly. You will be invited to become part of the Lead Dog family and to participate in all activities and available support.

We also require yearly recertification. Testing is held in the Anchorage, Alaska area. We have travelled to other locations in the past and this can be arranged well in advance. You are responsible for any travel related expenses.

There is no guarantee that a team that starts the certification process will successfully complete the process. The final certification is granted at the discretion of our Lead Dog Service Dog Program because you and your dog will be identified as an Lead Dog team and will be representing our program. If at any time during this process, Lead Dog Service Dogs feels that the dog is not suited for service work, we have the right to end this process.