Shared Blog Post – If a Dog Fails This Test, He Won’t Make a Good Service Dog

I receive many calls from people that want to make their dog into a service or assistance dog, or that want to purchase or adopt a dog that they have selected and make it into a service dog. What these people do not realize is that while most dogs can be great pets, very few have what it takes to become a service dog. Even service dog agencies that have breeding programs to select the qualities that they believe will make a good service dog and up having a large number of dogs, as many as 70 percent, that do not graduate due to behavioral problems.

In her blog post, Dr. Becker discusses a recent study that may help service dog organizations evaluate dogs earlier in the process. “These study results suggest fMRI scans can improve the ability to identify dogs who are not good service training candidates to 67 percent, up from about 47 percent without the use of fMRI. “What the brain imaging tells us is not just which dogs are more likely to fail, but why,” says Berns.”


Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (

Service, Assistance and Therapy Dogs – What is the Difference Between a Service/Assistance Dog, an Emotional Support Dog, and a Therapy Dog?

10 Things That Make A Dog Unsuitable for Service Work –

10 Signs That A “Service Dog” Is Actually A Fake – An article from “I Heart Dogs” that reveals ten things that are a reliable predictor of whether or not a dog is a trained service dog. Sadly, more and more people are committing fraud and claiming there dog is a service dog when in reality they are not. It takes much more than a letter from a doctor or mental health professional to make a dog a service dog. Typically a real service dog will have between 12 and 24 months of training, by professionals at a service dog organization, before the dog is every placed with the person they are meant to help. –