service dog training in alaska

Service Dog Training in Alaska

Our service dog training in Alaska program that we call, Lead Dog Program has taken years to develop and we are proud to say that we have trained and placed 35 dogs throughout North America, as well as New Zealand, Canada, Argentina, and South Korea. We train dogs for autistic, mobility, psychiatric, and PTSD (for our soldiers) for service work.

Our Service Dog Training Program in Alaska

Each and every service dog is trained to meet the specialized needs of their handler. It takes approximately two years to train a service dog and takes a tremendous amount of patience, handling and work from everyone involved, including the family members of the service dog recipient.

The decision to add a service dog to your family is not to be taken lightly. On this page we have A LOT of information and we encourage you to read through it very carefully. After you have read through the information and have spoken to your family, your health care provider, and anyone else that will be a part of the decision, we ask that you fill out an appointment request utilizing the calendaring system at the bottom of this page and we will arrange a phone consultation with you to begin the process.

We are asked all the time if we can train a dog that you already have. While on occasion we train a dog you already have, we have found over the years that there are several breeds that work better than others but we are very rigorous in our training program and many of the dogs that enter into the owner trained program do not graduate. We have developed a very good relationship with the breeders that we work with to provide the best service dog candidates.

We understand that our service dog training in Alaska is much different than others around the country. In our more than 20 years we have developed a program that works best for the needs of our clients. We have different program outlines in place to best-fit individual needs; we sometimes utilize puppy raisers. We offer a program where warriors help other warriors and a brand new program that we are calling ‘The Pack’ where we work with college students to provide them with a unique opportunity to raise service dogs. We have scholarships available for our soldiers and others on an as needed basis.

Our program works on a system that you will see is very similar to a college system. We even have developed our training program to mimic a college “class” (ie. freshman, sophomore etc.). It takes approximately two years to train and certify a service dog to our standards and our “classes” are approximately 20 to 30 weeks in length. During each class you will be working with our team in private lessons and public outings. At the end of each class the dogs are tested and moved to the next phase of the training program.

Steps to Get Started in our Service Dog Training Program in Alaska

  1. Book a phone appointment using our calendar app below
  2. Fill out an application
  3. Doctor’s note on file
  4. Financial– develop relationships with potential sponsors, apply for credit, or our in-house financing program
  5. Contract signed
  6. Get on the waiting list for a puppy and pay the deposit
  7. Sign up for our next “Undergraduate Class” and pay the deposit

Application Process for our Service Dog Training Program in Alaska

To apply for a service dog, please begin by reviewing our application process. Once you are accepted into our program and we will move to the next steps in helping you get started in our service dog training program in Alaska.

Doctor’s Note on File

The ADA has very minimal requirements for you to qualify for a service dog. The rules simply say you must have a “need”. We establish that “need” by requiring a doctor’s note from your healthcare provider. This can be simply a letter on their letterhead that says you would benefit from the use of a service dog. This “need” can be for a plethora of medical diagnosis both physical and psychological where a service dog can provide you assistance to make you as independent as possible. This can be things like the dog: picking up objects, mobility assistance for a person in a wheelchair or with Cerebral Palsy, traumatic events like PTSD, or helping a child with autism.

Financial Requirements for our Service Dog Training Program in Alaska

In the service dog training industry you have two types of providers. Non-profits that cater to those with the greatest needs and often with little financial resources and have a waiting list of two to five years. Most of the time these non-profits will still require an average of 20-30% of the costs of the service dog.

The other type of provider are organizations like ours, who cater to people with little income but still enough to cover the $10,000 to $20,000 for the cost of a service dog. People with severe physical, or psychological needs, and those that are willing to wait several years.

At our company we try our best and meet our clients somewhere in the middle. Our service dog training in Alaska program is designed to have you assist in the training process. This will provide many benefits and not require a multi-year waiting list.

Please list our Financing a Service Dog page for more information.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are enrolled in our in-house financing program that may mean a financial commitment of several years after your training plan is complete. Just like any other financial contract you are required to fulfill the obligations until the end of the term.

Signed Contract 

The ADA does not test dogs or their human counterparts and if they did we are sure there would be many lawsuits for discriminations. This has led to a very un-regulated service dog training industry. Variables in training  go from very strict standards established by the non-profit service dog providers, very experienced trainers like us who have been doing this for twenty years, to a novice dog trainer that has no experience with working dogs and wants to “give back.”

We strive to provide our clients with the best possible service with the highest standards. There is also a very important commitment required from you. By signing our contract you agree that you will see the training of your service dog from the beginning until the end. By entering into a legal and binding contract it means you are not only financially responsible for the training program but also responsible to uphold your end of the training commitments as well.

Thorr Alaska Dog Works Service Dog

The Dogs that we work with in our Service Dog Training Program in Alaska

After you have completed the steps above the next step is to pay your deposit for a service pup. We require a $2,000 deposit and you will be placed on the waiting list for the next available pup that fits your needs. We utilize a network of breeders that have provided us with exceptional dogs for more than ten years. We use Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Labradoodles, and German Shepherds. All of our dogs come with a health guarantee and we always have the final say when matching a puppy with a client. By filling out the application it will allow us a better understanding of your needs and to better prepare your puppy.

The cost for an approved pup range from $1,000 to $2,500 for a Labrador and Golden Retriever to $3,000 or more for a German Shepherd that are often imported from Europe. All of the dogs in our program are required to be spayed or neutered. This will be done during the first “class” in our program. Our breeder contacts have puppies available at different times during the year. For example if you enter our program and after you fill out the application we decide that a Golden-doodle is the best fit for you, we will contact our breeders and get on the waiting list. The next litter may not be available for the next several months.

If the pup is already born you must pay for the dog in full as well as the service dog program in full (or have other financial arrangements approved). We will then pick up the pup (and travel if necessary at an additional expense to you) and enter the pup into our “Undergraduate Class.”

The next “Class”

After all of the steps have been completed above it is time for you to enroll in the next “Class” for a service dog. We have designed our service dog training program to mimic a college format meaning that each class: undergraduate, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior has compounding training objectives. Each class is 15 to 30 weeks in duration and more information can be found below.

To enroll into the next class you either have to have paid a deposit for a service pup, or the dog is already available and ready to begin. We require a $2,000 deposit to reserve a spot in the class. If you are obtaining financing through our in-house program your 20% of the cost of the program is due at the time you enroll in the “undergraduate class”.

Have you ever been in college? Do you remember what it was like to enroll in courses each semester and they were progressive based on things you learned previously? Do you remember what a syllabus, learning objectives and rubrics are? Our Lead Dog Service Dog Program is designed just like a college experience but for your dog!

Here is a graphic breakdown of the different “classes” in order for the service dog to progress to the next class (ie. from sophomore to junior) it must pass the testing requirements.



Cost Breakdown

After reading all of this do you have a question?

SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY. Please do not fill out an appointment request until yo have read through ALL of the information herein. 

Thank you and we look forward to working with you and your family.