Service Dog Training and Certification

Service animals are defined by U.S. federal law as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Canine Community Heroes offers a comprehensive training program for individuals who are training their own service dog (CCH does not provide trained service dogs). For general service dog information, see our About Service Dogs page.

Service Dog Certification Program

CCH offers an optional certification program in addition to service dog training services. U.S. federal law does not require certification or that service dog handlers present proof of certification to enter any public areas. We offer certification as a part of our comprehensive program to help provide handlers with a roadmap of skills and documentation of achievements. When you embark on training your own service dog it can be overwhelming to know what skills are necessary and when your dog is ready for the next steps. The CCH certification program includes a customized curriculum that culminates in a final certification exam that documents the service dog team’s success in team work, restaurant skills, shopping, traveling, task work, public access, and self-advocacy.

Task Training for Medical Response and Physical Assistance

CCH offers task training according to the type of work the dog will be doing and not based on disabilities. We train tasks (dog jobs) for Medical Response (including responding to physical and psychiatric symptoms) and Physical Assistance (including performing physical tasks to assist with physical and psychiatric symptoms).

Medical Response Examples

  • Summoning help by pushing an alert button
  • Retrieving medication, phone, or alert device
  • Providing balance support for dizzy episodes (large dogs only)
  • Circling and positioning near the handler to create greater physical space from others
  • Physical pressure from the dog on the individual to relieve pain or anxiety

Physical Assistance Examples

  • Assisted walking to provide physical stability
  • Pulling a manual wheel chair (large dogs only)
  • Retrieving and/or carry items to improve independence
  • Performing manual tasks to operate doors, drawers, lights, and/or switches
  • Physical guide during psychiatric or medical symptoms

CCH does not provide service dog training for visual guiding, sound alert, allergy detection, blood sugar monitoring, pre-seizure detection or any task that may put a dog or individual at risk of injury.

Prerequisites to Enroll


  • 8 weeks – 4 yrs. of age (puppies less than 6 months will focus on socialization, confidence building, and manners)
  • absence of chronic pain, physical disability, aggression or reactivity
  • appropriate size and breed for the tasks necessary to mitigate the disability


  • 18 yrs. and older (children less than 18yrs require a responsible adult to participate in training and handling)
  • sound decision making abilities and memory skills
  • reliable transportation

Getting Started

Training your own service dog can be a challenging, yet rewarding process however; we recognize that it is difficult to know whether you and your dog are candidates for this type of training model. To help determine the suitability of our program to meet your needs, the Getting Started Page will help you learn more about our evaluation process.