Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Breeds Do Service Dogs Europe Use?

We generally use dogs from larger breeds that were developed to work closely with humans, such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. Mixed breeds of these and other types of large breed dogs are also very well suited for becoming one of our Mobility Service Dogs. While there are many Service Dogs of smaller breeds, including the tiny Papillon, Service Dogs Europe prefers to work with breeds that have the strength and size to have the option of being used for either bracing or assisting with pulling wheelchairs.

Which Is Better For A Service Dog, Male Or Female?

Both sexes are equally suited to be a Service Dog. While some programs prefer to work with a certain gender due to size, strength, and other factors, Service Dogs Europe has found the dog itself is the deciding factor, not what sex it is. All of our dogs are neutered before placement so their working behaviour will not be affected by hormonal changes.

What Temperament Qualities Do Service Dogs Need?

We look for intelligent dogs that have a strong desire to please, are curious and bold enough to adapt to new situations, have a calm public demeanour, exhibit no extreme displays of aggression, and have the ability to easily form affectionate bonds with humans.

What Standard Will My Service Dog Be Trained To?

All of our dogs are highly trained to the standards laid down by the most respected assistance dog organisation, the ADEu ( Assistance Dogs Europe ) using the same principles of care and training. 

Will You Train My Personal Dog?

Yes. If your dog passes our extremely rigorous evaluation and health standards, and would fit your disability needs, we will consider training your dog to become your Service Dog. Please realize though, that while your dog may be the best pet ever, they might not make a good Service Dog for you.

How Long Does the Training Take?

Due to the type of work the dog will be required to undertake we do not run a puppy programme but instead an adult dog programme.This also cuts down on the time needed before your dog will be a certified Mobility Assistance Dog. We can usually have a dog ready in 8 weeks this will depend on the dog’s emotional maturity and learning ability and the complexity of tasks needed.

Do Service Dogs Ever Get “Time Off” Or Playtime?

Positively and absolutely! Just as it is important for us to have down time, so it’s the same with these hard working canines. They relish their play times during their off duty hours but they are also very dedicated to their jobs when it’s time to work. People occasionally think they look “sad” or “depressed” when they’re working in public but that is actually the exact opposite case. They are just doing their jobs of being quiet and helpful but they are definitely enjoying every minute of the Service Dog benefits of being with their partners at all times.

Is it Okay to Pet a Service Dog?

Service Animals working in public should never be petted without asking permission first because it could distract them from their focus on their partner. An ill timed desire by the dog to go visit and play could easily result in a controlled pulling of a wheelchair to quickly become an out of control chariot race with disastrous consequences! These dogs undergo extensive socialization with humans which requires them to be petted and interacted with but it is vitally important that they learn when and where that’s acceptable. So if you see a Service Animal on duty, even though they may be absolutely adorably cute, just go ahead and ignore them so that they can continue with their important job for their partner.

Can I Offer Service Dogs People Food?

ABSOLUTELY NO! Service dogs accompany their owners into restaurants and grocery stores and it’s vitally important that they do not show any interest in eating people food. By feeding them food you can cause years of training to be compromised. Additionally, these dogs are on specialized diet programs to keep them in top shape to help their partners. Feeding them people food can make them sick, overweight and in some cases can kill them. NEVER EVER try to tempt a dog with a treat. What you think is being nice to them is actually causing a great deal of harm both to the dog and it’s training and their disabled partner!

What Type Of Disabilities Do You Serve?

We serve people with many types of mobility impairments, from arthritis and heart conditions to paraplegics and those with debilitating diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. Many people would like a service dog but feel “there are people more disabled than me”. Just as there are many different levels of disabilities, there are Service Dogs with different abilities. We don’t look at the severity of a disability to determine need for a service dog; we merely look at the person’s specific requirements and what type of dog would best assist them.

How Long Can These Dogs Serve?

There is no mandatory retirement age. Much of it depends on the type of work the dog does for the individual and the health of the dog. As an example, a dog that works with a power wheelchair will generally have a longer working life than one that physically pulls a manual wheelchair. While some dogs can work upwards of 11 years, the average expected working span is approximately 9 years. Many people will start the process of getting on a waiting list for a new Service Dog before their canine partner must be retired so that they don’t have to go without help. Usually, unless there is a personality issue between the senior Service Dog and the new one, the senior will live out the rest of its days as a revered and beloved family pet.

How Do I Recognize A Service Dog?

Many Service Dogs wear a harness or backpack with a patch identifying them as a “Working Service Dog”. If you are not sure, ask the person.

How Long Is The Waiting List For Service Dogs?

We can usually place a dog within 3 to 4 months.

What Does it Cost to Receive a Service Dog?

Alot of training, housing and veterinary care is invested in each dog. Even then not all dogs will become service dogs, yet the cost of our time and resources remain fixed. Service Dogs Europe do not receive government funding: we fund this programme ourselves through the placement of our service dogs and help from local businesses with dog food, accessories, fundraisers and volunteers.

We ask all those requiring a service puppy/dog to raise + Vat. Vat can usually be reclaimed by you in full when the dog is certified. This fee is to cover the cost of the service dog, all training required, vaccinations and service dog certification. 
This fee can come from personal funds, through family, friends or fundraising. This fee is split into 2 payments of €500 deposit and the balance to be paid when you are with us undergoing your own training, before leaving with your Service Dog.

We highly encourage the prospective partner to initiate their own fundraising to help offset cost. These dogs are an important investment and the dedication of the individual in obtaining their new Service Dog generally reflects the success of their partnership once they become a team. Please bear in mind that there are additional personal costs to be factored in during the team training stage of the placement (i.e. hotel, travel, etc.). Fortunately the time involved in custom training the prospective partner’s dog allows ample time for raising the necessary funds.

One factor that a prospective partner needs to know is that they *ABSOLUTELY MUST* be able to provide for the dog’s emotional, physical, and financial needs throughout the dog’s relationship with them. In addition, the applicant must also be able to provide a stable and secure living environment. While our goal is to provide a partnership for these hardworking and wonderful canines, we care greatly that the home and partner that they go to is the best for them and we will not knowingly place them at risk to be neglected, abused, or otherwise treated to anything less than the best of care. After-all, they’re dedicating their lives to helping a person in need, they deserve the best possible life to reward them for all their hard work helping others.

If You Would Like Anymore Information On Our Service Dogs