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. –

Maine’s community of disabled asks relief from ‘comfort animals’

Thank you to Bill Green and WLBZ2 News for their story on the difference between service dogs and comfort or emotional support dogs. The story stresses that comfort dogs or emotional support dogs do NOT have the same public access rights as service dogs. They also discuss how the increasing prevalence of inadequately trained comfort dogs in public places is making it difficult for service dogs and the people they are meant to help. –

PODCAST – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 2

18JUL15-Dog Training w-Mark Hanks-Part-2 400x400Dr. Mark Hanks from Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinic has been a frequent guest on The Woof Meow Show, giving Kate and I several opportunities to “pick his brain” about a wide variety of topics. For quite some time he’s been asking to “host” the show and to turn the tables so to speak; interviewing Kate and I and asking us questions about animal behavior and training.

In this episode Dr. Hanks asks Kate and Don about: Green Acres holistic approach to training (husbandry, nutrition, body language, ethology, and training) and how we work with families to understand their dog and the importance of having a good foundation of education so people can better understand their dogs, how some students may attend class without their dog either because their dog is sick, in heat or simply because the dog learns better at home, private training options at Green Acres, the critical period of puppy socialization and habituation, why socialization needs to be actively planned and implemented by owners – it doesn’t just happen, what do you do you when want your puppy to be a therapy dog, the difference between therapy dogs, service/assistance dogs, and emotional support dogs, the fake service dog epidemic, can you teach an old dog new tricks, how do you deal with constant barking, and how do you deal with clients that need the dogs behavior changed tomorrow.

You can listen to this episode of The Woof Meow Show at:

You can download this episode of The Woof Meow Show at the Apple iTunes store, or you can download it at:

You can listen others episodes in this series at the links below.

Pet Behavior Counseling and Don and Kate – 10JAN15 –

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate, part 1– 12JUL15 –

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate, part 3– 26JUL15 –

For more information on the Woof Meow Show go to:

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