Training Program

The StLHuggs Owner Trained Service Dog Program


The StlHuggs Program was designed to allow people with disabilities to learn to train their service dogs. This approach helps provide service dogs to people that might not typically be able to benefit from the use of service dogs.

Our focus is to provide the individual with the ability to train their service dog. The benefits include a low cost, the ability to train the next dog once yours is retired, and the confidence that comes from training the dog.

The training program uses monthly group outings, group classes, solo training outings along with regular testing.

The Program

  • Getting started
    • Application
      • We need an application filled out completely. We will be asking you to disclose your disabilities along with other medical/personal information.
      • We also need a list of detailed tasks that you are interested in having your dog perform to assist you. Please read the tasks page for more details.
      • You will most likely get an email asking for clarification of specific details. Please answer all questions.
    • Board Review
      • Our board meets monthly to review applications
      • We have several options on how to address applications
        • Approval – this means you will get an invite to have your in-person interview and dog evaluation.
        • Need more Information -this means you will receive an email with further questions. Once they are answered, the board will review the application again.
        • Decline -There are several reasons that your application may be declined.
          • Failure to provide requested information
          • Disability/Tasks do not meet federal guidelines regarding public access
          • Fraud or misinformation
          • Inability to follow directions
          • Failure to respond promptly
          • You do not meet our program requirements
          • Handler Age
          • Distance
          • Dog Age
          • Dog evaluation
          • Height / Weight Ratio
    • Personal Interview
      • We will set up a meeting with you to go over your application.
      • This is a great time to ask questions
      • Evaluate your dog
        • Temperament, Trainability, Health
    • Offer to join
      • You will receive an email with an offer to join our program
      • This letter will contain our conditions, costs, and requirement.
      • We will set up a meeting to sign the paperwork
      • Our contract will be signed
      • Payment of start-up costs will be made
      • Monthly auto payments will be set up
      • I.D. will be provided
      • The vest will be fitted to the dog
      • The workbook will be provided and explained
    • Monthly outings
      • Required attendance
      • You will be notified each month via a newsletter of upcoming events
      • You will need to arrive early
      • $20 cash outing fee will be collected
      • Outing last between 1 to 3 hours depending on the event
      • Your dog should come to the event groomed and ready to work
      • You should have proper attire for the event (walking shoes etc.)
      • A bag of training supplies should accompany you anytime your dog is out in public
    • Training Class once every six months
      • The class needs to be at/with an approved training center/trainer
      • You are responsible for the cost of these classes
      • We will require proof of attendance and completion
      • You should have proof of enrollment at the beginning of each 6-month period.
    • Testing
      • There are several testing requirements listed in the workbook
      • These tests have fees tied to them
    • Graduation
      • The following must be completed to graduate from our program
        • Workbook activities are completed
        • Passed all trained Classes
        • Passed all test requirements
        • Must perform approved tasks and be signed off by all three board members.
        • All outings must be completed (included makeup outings)
      • All fees must be paid in full

The Vests, Patches, and IDs are the property of StLHuggs. They must be immediately turned in upon request. In the event, the handler passes away or is no longer in need of a working service dog, the gear mentioned above must be returned. If the dog passes away, retires from working or is no longer in the care of the handler, the equipment mentioned above must be returned.