FAQ

Bodie is being trained to help his disabled handler. This photo is from our Basic Pet Adult Dog Seattle Dog Training Class. We make sure to accommodate your disability as best we can. With Bodie, having him train while on a table made sure he was reachable to his disabled handler.

Please note: This FAQ will not work on a iphone.

Pet Dog Training Questions? Click on the question and your answer will magically appear!


Can I make partial payments for classes?

Unfortunately a number of previous students have asked for partial payments for classes and/or services and despite us holding up our part of the bargain by reserving our time and space in classes they decided on not paying us in full for said services. We are not in the business of being bill collectors and do not like hounding students for payment. If you cannot pay in full for classes, we cannot help you at this time.

What training methods do you use?

We utilize a strict positive reinforcement training method, and only methods approved by the American Humane Association. Click here to find out more!

What qualifications do your trainers have?

Director of training and behavior, Mary McNeight holds a professional dog training certificate issued by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers which is only awarded after hours, and hours of dog training and by passing a thorough examination. She is also a professional member of the Association for Pet Dog Trainers, and holds a state-certified Canine Studies Degree. Visit our education page for more information.

My dog is older than 17 weeks, but still acts like a puppy. Can he enroll in the puppy class?

No. Our puppy class is set up as such based on puppy developmental stages. After 17 weeks, brain chemistry in dogs change. You will, however learn a lot of the same things in the adult dog class, only without puppy play.

How many dogs do you have in a class?

We do not enroll more than 5 dogs per adult class, and 7 puppies in the puppy class. This will ensure you and your dog get the one-on-one attention you need, and maintain a low distraction environment.

Can you help correct my dog’s aggression issues?

Our trainers specialize in positive reinforcement training for service work and basic obedience training. Just like you wouldn't go to a heart surgeon for a broken leg, we are not adequately equipped to handle aggressive dogs. Aggression training needs concentrated socialization and on-location training.

Can I enroll in Canine Good Citizen or Party Tricks without having taken Basic Obedience?

Yes. Just keep in mind that your dog might have a harder time passing the CGC test if he doesn't know the basics.

On the other hand, Party Tricks is a fun way to teach obedience in disguise, although it might be helpful if Fido knows "sit" or "down" prior to Party Tricks, it's not required.

Service Dog Training Questions? Click on the question and your answer will magically appear!


General Program Questions


      Where are one on one / individual training appointments held?

      Once you are eligible for individual appointments, ALL efforts will be made to make training appointments AT OUR DOG TRAINING STUDIO. If it is deemed that travel is required based on the type of training problem, travel time will be booked at an hourly rate based on your hourly training rate. An example of this is your dog is having problems with using glass elevators, this is something we cannot simulate in our current training environment.

      Can I make one on one / individual training appointments for service dog training.

      You can make individual training appointments for service dog training at the rate of $250 per hour. Until students have gone through our entire class line up (both pet, service dog classes and/or diabetic alert dog 101 and 201 classes) they are not eligible to make individual appointments at a reduced rate.

      My dog is a good dog and/or has already passed his Canine Good Citizen Test, why do I need an evaluation or to retake classes I have already taken elsewhere?

      Since the dog training industry is not regulated, we have found a wide disparity existing between the methods used in our training process vs. the rest of the dog training world. Additionally we use the classes and/or evaluation appointments to make sure your dog is safe to access the public and you are intimately familiar with our training philosophies. Our service dog classes are very advanced and want to make sure all of our students have a strong positive reinforcement training foundation to work with so that they may succeed in class rather than end up being frustrated because they do not understand the concepts we build upon in each consecutive class.

      Do you provide service dogs?

      Starting in 2013, we will have trained diabetic alert dogs available for purchase starting at $20,000. Currently, we hold classes for people to train their own stably temperamented dogs for service work at a significantly lower cost.

      How does your program work?

      We help people with disabilites train dogs they already own for service work.

      I don’t have a dog. Can you tell me where I should get one? and What kind of dog should I get?

      There are certain traits we look for in a service dog candidate. The dog must have a stable temperament, and show absolutely NO signs of fear, anxiety or aggression. Depending on the type of service work you need, depends on the type of dog you should get.

      We hold a seminar that explains everything you need and more. Register for Before Your Service Dog to find out more about whether service dog life is right for you, and how to find the right dog.

      What type of service dogs do you train?

      We train all types of service dogs. You can view the list of dogs we train on this webpage.

      I have a dog, and want to train for service work. Where do I start?

      You have two options:

      1. Basic Obedience. To start training for service work with us, we need to know that you and your dog have the right training foundation in order to be successful at service work. Secondly, our trainer needs to be able to evaluate your dog's temperament and taking classes is the best way to do this.

      or

      2. Private Evaluation. If you're confident that your dog has perfect manners, our trainer still needs to evaluate your dog before accepting into the service dog training program.

      Something to keep in mind: A One-hour private evaluation costs the same as 5 hours of Basic Obedience. We highly encourage taking basic obedience in order to get more for your money.

      How many classes do I have to take? How long will it take?

      Here is a list of the classes needed in order to complete the service dog training program:

      Basic Obedience - 4 weeks, meets once per week - $145

      After Your Service Dog - 1.5 hour session meeting once - $40

      Canine Good Citizen - 4 weeks, meets once per week - $145

      Service Dog Access - 4 weeks, meets once per week - $145

      Task Training - 4 weeks, meets once per week - $145

      Other costs to keep in mind: The cost for a vest, CGC test, Service Dog International Public Access Test

      For details on these classes and why you need to take them, please visit our Training Path.

Funding Questions


    Can I make partial payments for classes?

    Unfortunately a number of previous students have asked for partial payments for classes and/or services and despite us holding up our part of the bargain by reserving our time and space in classes they decided on not paying us in full for said services. We are not in the business of being bill collectors and do not like hounding students for payment. If you cannot pay in full for classes, we cannot help you at this time.

    When am I eligible for the reduced individual service dog training rate?

    Until students have gone through our entire class line up (both pet, service dog classes and/or diabetic alert dog 101 and 201 classes) they are not eligible for reduced cost training services.

    Do you accept donations?

    Yes. Most of our students make less than $20,000 a year. Any donations you make help to support the low cost service dog program. Additionally you can donate to an individuals training services by specifying who you would like your donation to go to. Donations can be made through google checkout.

    Why does your diabetic alert dog class cost so much?

    Diabetic Alert Dog training is a highly specialized field with only a handful of trainers throughout the US able to do it properly. A trained Diabetic Alert Dog can cost up to $20,000! A $1300 class where you get individualized attention is pennies in the bucket compared to what it would cost for you to get a trained dog.

    Are you a non profit?

    No, but we operate like one. We take the funds from our pet dog training program and funnel them into our service dog training program.

    Do you have scholarships or grants available for training services?

    No. The Service Dog Academy does not receive government funding and rarely receives donations. We keep our prices low to ensure that if you REALLY want to train your dog for service work, you can. The average cost for a Pet Smart dog trainer is $95 for a 30 minute session. Our service dog training rates run as low as $40 an HOUR - depending on income level. As you can see we already discount our services, additional discounts are not possible.

    What other funding options do I have available?

    We do not take partial payments for services. Full payment is required at the time of registration for classes, and at the time an individual appointment is confirmed. However, if you need to begin training and do not have the funds, there is an Assistive Technology Loan available from the Washington Access Fund. They help disabled individuals with bad credit secure extremely low interest loans to help them pay for services/items to improve their life functions. Under their program Service Dog Training qualifies as an assistive technology.

Accommodation Questions


    Do you provide sign language interpreters?

    We do not. Since we are a micro company (1 full time, 1 part time person), receive no federal funding and operate so close to financial failure, providing a sign language interpreter would be considered an undue hardship for our company. All of our previous students have brought along family members or their own interpreters to classes. We realize this may not be the most viable solution for you but its all we are capable of doing without federal funding and/or donations.

    If I take classes, I will need help to manage my dog due to my disability. Can you do this?

    Students who have limited mobility/ability to control their dog should bring someone with them to assist in the training process. Since we are a micro company (1 full time, 1 part time person) and receive no federal funding we cannot provide you with the help you would need during classes to help you manage your dog. All of our previous students have brought along family members or their own assistants to the classes. We realize this may not be the most viable solution for you but its all we are capable of doing without federal funding. Since we operate so close to financial failure, from discounting our training and giving so much away for free, we are unable to accommodate you.

    I have severe allergies, can you provide an allergen free environment?

    Since the dog food / dog training treat ingredient list is unregulated by the federal government we are unable to guarantee ANY allergen free environment.

Documentation / Service Dog Vests


    Do you provide service dog documentation or vests?

    We only provide documentation and resources on where to obtain a vest to dogs who are actively engaged in our training program.

    My landlord says my dog needs to be a service dog in order to not charge a pet deposit or I need to get rid of my dog, can you help with this?

    Im sorry, the service dog academy trains dogs to help people with disabilities live more independent lives. We are not here to help you get around a deposit fee or help you keep your dog. We are a training organization and are only interesting in helping individuals who truly want to lead a better life with the aide of an assistance dog.

    The airlines say I need service dog documentation and/or a vest in order to not be charged a pet fee for my dog to travel in the cabin, do you provide this?

    No. The service dog academy trains dogs to help people with disabilities live more independent lives. We are not here to help you get around transportation fees. We only provide documentation and vests to dogs who are actively engaged in our training program. We are a training organization and are only interesting in helping individuals who truly want to lead a better life with the aide of a service dog.

Diabetic Alert Dog Training Questions? Click on the question and your answer will magically appear!


    I have seizures and/or migraines. How is training for “diabetic alert’ effective for my needs?

    All scent-based training is done using the same methods, and we can tailor the class with your specific needs in mind.

    When training is complete, will my diabetic alert dog be a certified service dog?

    Yes! Your dog will have been trained to mitigate the symptoms of your disability, and thus qualify as your service dog. For more information on access rights for service dogs, click here.

    How much does it cost, and how long does it take to train?

    The cost for diabetic alert classes is $1300 for the 4 day intensive class. It takes from 6 months to 2 years to train a reliable diabetic alert dog.

    Why does your diabetic alert dog class cost so much?

    Diabetic Alert Dog training is a highly specialized field with only a handful of trainers throughout the US able to do it properly. A trained Diabetic Alert Dog can cost up to $20,000! A $1300 class where you get individualized attention is pennies in the bucket compared to what it would cost for you to get a trained dog.

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Neighborhoods We Serve

We are a simple hop skip and a jump off of the West Seattle Bridge and are within a mile of the neighborhoods of South Park, West Seattle, Alki Point, North Admiral, West Seattle, Seaview, Fauntleroy, Arbor Heights, Gatewood, Genesee, Fairmount Park, Delridge, Pigeon Point, Riverview, Highland Park, Roxhill, High Point and White Center And are within 3 miles or less of Magnolia, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Montlake, Downtown, Belltown, First Hill, Pioneer Square, International District, Central Waterfront, Madrona, Central District, Leschi, Rainier Valley, Mount Baker, Columbia City, Rainier Beach, Seward Park, Beacon Hill, Industrial District, Sodo, and Georgetown

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