Frequently asked questions

How much does Anthem Service Dogs, Inc. charge for a fully trained service dog?


Anthem Service Dogs is a nonprofit with a mission to provide fully trained service dogs at no cost to qualifying applicants.




How long will it take to get a service dog once I become a client?


Service dogs typically complete training between 1.5-2 years old depending on the tasks needing trained. Due to the growing list of applicants and available service dogs it could take 2-5 years before receiving an Anthem service dog.




Can you train my current dog?


No we do not train current dogs as we are a provider of service dogs to applicants in our program. We also carefully select the dogs in our program based on temperament.




How do I apply for a dog?


We are not taking new applications at this time due to the length of our waitlist. For more information, click here.




Can I pick my own dog?


After you have been accepted, we will discuss the best breed for your needs. Though we can't always guarantee the breed, when the time comes to be paired, we will conduct a match meeting to find the right dog. Anthem carefully matches our dogs to clients based on size, temperament, drive, personality, and skill level.




Can you help me train my dog to be a service dog?


Through trial and error we briefly introduced this concept early in the development of Anthem. However, the level of commitment was not met by the trial group of self-training teams. We discontinued the program, however, contact us and we may be able to connect you with a private trainer to help you with your training needs.




I've never owned a dog, what will you do to prepare me?


This is a very important part of Anthem Service Dogs and what we represent. We always have education classes you will be able to attend as well as a required Anthem Orientation and "service dogs 101". When you have been paired with your dog, you are required to complete 100 hours of team training with your dog prior to graduation. This is one-on-one training between you and the dog to practice daily tasks, learn their commands, and gain confidence in each other working together and learning each other's personalities and abilities.




Where do you get the dogs?


Most of our dogs come from responsible breeders who focus on breeding puppies with good temperament.




What can I expect from start to finish as an applicant?


Once you have been accepted and paired with a service dog. You will be required to attend an Anthem orientation. You will attend scheduled sessions with your assigned transfer trainer and dog to work towards completing 100 hours of team training. We will have a lot of extracurricular activities to attend as well that will benefit your dog. When the time has come for the team to graduate, you will pass a Public Access test before receiving your Anthem Service Dogs diploma. Every year you will return for a new Public Access evaluation and will always be invited to return for training, activities, or public events.




How many dogs in training make it to become service dogs?


Less than 20% of service dogs in training meet the requirements and standards to graduate as a service dog. We put in as much effort into picking a dog as we do training. Some key factors that wouldn't make a dog suitable to become a service dog graduate would be: A dog injured on or off the job

  • Genetic malformations/illnesses
    • hearing or vision problems
    • longterm medical conditions
    • poor hip/joint development
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Timidity, Reactivity, Aggression
  • Too high drive
  • Too low drive




What is the difference between a Therapy Dog, Service Dog, and Emotional Support Animal?


Emotional Support Animal: Emotional support animals are animals whose presence benefits a person with a mental illness. They may live in no-pet housing if the person's mental health provider writes a letter stating that the animal provides significant benefit to their owner. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. They may not enter public spaces that do not allow pets, such as restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Therapy Dog: A therapy dog is a dog that might be trained to provide affection, comfort and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, or disaster areas. They must be registered and insured by a therapy organization that sets standards of practice and ethics. They do not have public access unless invited in to visit by the business. Service Dog, Service Animal, Assistance Dog: Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. This working dog has full public access except for permission needed to access private residences, churches, and some government buildings. Service dogs DO NOT have a registration or certification, DO NOT require proof of tasks, and DO NOT require a vest in public. However they DO need to adhere to public etiquette such as "4 on the floor" (no carrying, no basket or lap riding, no purse dogs), no eating on from or off any floors in ANY public space, no disruptions of public space, no aggression, and must ALWAYS be under control with a collar and leash.




Do you provide Emotional Support Animals?


No, we do not provide Emotional Support Animals.




Do you provide Therapy dogs?


We are about to launch our new therapy dog program. Stay tuned for details!