Training Your Puppy to be a Diabetic Alert Dog

Training Your Puppy to be a Diabetic Alert Dog. My training manual is in
workbook format with links to online resources, training videos, recommended
products,how to use collect and use scent samples, forms to track
scent training,training checklists, and much more. 122 pages.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

The cost of that puppy you want to train as a service dog

AS YOU RESEARCH DIABETIC ALERT DOGS, it is helpful to have an idea of costs involved in acquiring them in a variety of ways. One way to get a DAD is to buy a puppy and train him yourself. What follows are estimates but I hope they will help you make an informed decision about the best road for you and your family.

I start with a Lab puppy because it is the breed I've worked with most ... not because it is the only breed that can do the job. The cost of a Labrador retriever  puppy from a reputable breeder will be between $1,200 and $1,500. This price will usually include the first set of shots, de-worming, and sometimes micro-chipping. It will not include delivery. 
The first year of a puppy’s life is very expensive. The chart below is an estimate of costs for that first year, which vary considerably depending on where you live. The estimate does not include the cost of a fence for your puppy or emergency medical costs if your puppy gets sick or is injured. The first chart does not include diabetic alert dog training. You will find that estimate further down the page.

Annual Costs for a Large Breed Dog
Food (premium dry kibble)
Recurring Medical (exams, vaccinations, heart-worm and flea/tick preventative)
Health Insurance (Some policies cover spay/neuter, vaccinations and heart-worm medication. Deductible will also vary depending on the policy.)
Annual Total
Initial puppy wellness examination
Spay/Neuter (may be covered by insurance)
Service dog vest
Obedience Class
   First Year Subtotal

That $3,130 does not include service dog training. Here is an example of training costs associated with a family training a puppy to become a DAD. These are first-year costs only.
DAD training manual
Phone consultations with DAD trainer – 1 per month x 12 months
Three 2-day in-home visits from DAD trainer
DAD trainer travel expenses for three 2-day visits. These costs depend on location. Airfare is the biggest variable in the list of travel expenses.
Total unique first year costs

Estimated cost of year #1 with
your DAD puppy:

Please understand that training does not end after the first year. You will continue training your DAD pup through his second birthday and beyond. In future posts, I will address the kinds of training your puppy needs (obedience, scent, public access) and some of your other questions, including:
  • Do I have to have the help of a service dog trainer?
  • Can I train my family dog to be a DAD?
  • What other breeds can be DADs other than Labs?
  • Can my DAD be a rescue dog?
  • Do I really need health insurance for my dog?
  • I've never had a dog. How do I know if I can train one? 
  • Can I hire a local obedience trainer to help me?
  • If I don't want to train my own puppy, what are my other options?
For now, continue your research. Engage in conversation with people who have DADs, train them, and breed them. Take your time. Make an informed decision - the right one for your family.

Note: Fees vary among service dog trainers.

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