Service Dog Training

While you may be familiar with service dogs, you may not know the type of training they go through to become one. Service dog training includes various areas of study and can take a lengthy amount of time to complete. At Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, we’ve put together an overview of the training service dogs require to help you gain a better understanding.

A service dog is defined by the ADA as a dog that is trained to perform tasks to assist or benefit a person with a disability. A disability can be visible or invisible such as PTSD, Diabetes, Seizures, etc.

What are the Requirements of a Service Dog?

A person is eligible for a service dog if they have a permanent disability that significantly limits one or more major life activity. A service dog must always remain well-mannered and be trained to perform specific tasks that aid someone with a disability.

If it is not obvious what service your dog provides, recipients must be willing to answer two questions about their service dog. You can also choose to clearly identify your dog with service dog accessories to make their purpose clear in public spaces.

To be a service dog, the dogs must be brave enough, large enough, and intelligent enough to do the job. A service dog can never pose a safety threat to the public and is required to be able to perform their task 90% of the time or more, no matter the environment.

When Does Service Dog Training Begin?

Our service dogs begin their training in puppyhood. In the early stages of their training, the service dogs will learn the same things any well-behaved dog must learn, including:

  • Crate training
  • Housetraining
  • Learning what to play with or chew (and what not to)

They will also begin to learn basic obedience exercises and skills. As puppies, they will go through a variety of exercises such as confidence building, mobility games, desensitization, and scent skills.

What Basic Skills do Service Dogs Learn?

Service dogs will learn the basic skills that come to mind when you think about dog training. They learn standard commands such as:

  • Down
  • Sit
  • Come
  • Heel
  • Stay
  • This basic training helps service dogs learn the positions that are useful during their task training and work. With basic training, we can also begin the process of distraction and proofing, so they learn to focus on their current task rather than being distracted by what is going on around them.

Advanced Service Dog Training

In many cases, most pet dog trainers, military dog trainers, police dog trainers, etc., have never trained service dogs or studied disabilities. Because of this, Guardian Angels created a college accredited program to teach apprentices how to become service dog trainers.
When it comes to training a service dog, multiple components of their training are far above and beyond the of training for other types of disciplines, such as:

  • How to train a dog to alert on a certain high or low for diabetes
  • Alert in advance for a seizure
  • How to know when to hit an emergency help button if you were incapacitated
  • How to wake someone from a night terror

What Special Tasks are Service Dogs Trained to Do?

  • Task training is a major part of service dog training. Without learning the proper tasks, a dog cannot become a service dog. Service dogs can be trained on a variety of tasks, but their specific training will depend on the person’s disability and needs to help them lead an independent life. Common tasks for service dogs include:
  • Retrieving dropped items
  • Retrieving the phone
  • Providing balance
  • Turning lights on and off
  • Opening/closing doors
  • Helping a fallen person back to a standing position
  • Alerting prior to a seizure
  • Diabetic alert
  • Mitigating challenges of PTSD by shielding, grounding from anxiety/panic attacks and flashbacks
  • Waking someone from nightmares
  • Help someone transition from sitting to standing

This training will help someone with a disability lead a more independent lifestyle. There are high expectations for a properly trained service dog in public. A service dog should essentially be invisible unless they need to perform a task for the recipient.

At Guardian Angels, our dogs exercise and practice on confidence-building courses as part of their specialized training. These courses offer challenges to the service dog and expose them to different environments that they may experience in their daily work.

In these courses, they work with their handlers to learn how to navigate the stairs and deal with moving objects. They also work on walking across a sway bridge and balancing on wobbly tables or platforms, among other obstacles. These courses are great exercises for the dog’s mind and body and teach them valuable real-life scenarios and skills they need to properly serve their recipient.

Learn More About Guardian Angels’ Mission Today!

Visit our Donate page today to learn more about our mission to unleash the power to heal for veterans and others in need. Our service dogs change lives for those who have a disability. If you want to be part of that mission, make a donation today!

Online voting is underway to name the Pirates pooch.

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates have a new pooch, and he needs a name.

See the new team dog: Click the video player above.

The baseball club said it’s teaming up with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs to provide a service dog to a local military veteran.

Voting is open now, with four names to choose from: Homer, Bucco, Rookie or Jolly. Click here to vote for your top pick.

Guardian Angels will train the dog and bring the young pup to baseball games this season to meet fans and get some needed socialization before going to his forever home.

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates have adopted a new team dog, and he is ready to play ball!

The Pirates teamed up with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs to provide a service dog to a military veteran.

Guardian angels will bring the pup to games throughout the season to engage with fans. The Pirates Pup will then head to his “furever” home with a military veteran once training is complete.

There is just one thing the Pirate Pup still needs: a name.

The team is asking fans to help name their new teammate! The names to choose from are Homer, Bucco, Rookie and Jolly.

Click here to cast your vote! Voting ends May 3

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pirates have a new teammate who will surely be happy to fetch as many balls as the players can field.

The organization has joined forces with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs to introduce the Pirates Pup. Now, they just need a name for him.

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, which is building a training facility in Western Pennsylvania, will train the pup to eventually pair with a military veteran in need.

While he grows and trains, the puppy will be the Pirates’ team dog.

He will appear at PNC Park this summer and socialize with the team and the fans, the Pirates said.

(Story continues below tweet.)

The Pirates are asking fans to help give him a name. Voting is now open on their website through May 3.

Choose between Homer, Bucco, Rookie and Jolly.

Visit this link if you would like to vote.

Pittsburgh, PA April 23, 2022 (EIN Presswire): The Pirates and PNC are teaming up with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs to provide a service dog to a military veteran in the Pittsburgh area. Guardian Angels will train the dog and bring it to games throughout the season to engage with fans and help get the socialization it needs. Once training is complete, the Pirates Pup will head to his Forever home, partnered with a military veteran dealing with permanent disabilities.

“This is an incredible partnership” said Chris Ann Phillips, CAO of Guardian Angels. “We are so grateful to the Pirates Organization, Pirates Charities and PNC Bank for joining us to change the life of another Veteran with disabilities in the Pittsburgh area”.

The Pirates organization has just launched a contest to name this future Service Dog. You can vote for one of 4 names selected by the team:

Homer, Bucco, Rookie or Jolly are the choices, and can be voted on by visiting: between now and May 3rd. You can also follow this future service dog’s training on Twitter @PiratesPup or on Instagram or @piratespup.

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs is based in Williston, Florida, but has paired nearly 50 deserving recipients in the Pittsburgh area and are in the process of funding a new state-of-the-art campus in Washington County, just outside of Pittsburgh.

For more information on Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, our campus campaign, dog sponsorship or an application, please visit

About Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Williston, Florida and has grown into a nation-wide medical service dog organization. The organization rescues, raises, trains and then donates individually trained medical service dogs to veterans, first responders and others who suffer from disabilities including PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, diabetic and seizure disorders, mobility issues and more. Since their inception in 2010, Guardian Angels has donated and paired hundreds of individually trained medical service dogs with those in need. For more information, visit:

A lot of businesses have suffered greatly through the pandemic. Thirty percent of small businesses and even some large businesses, including non-profits, closed their doors permanently in the last two years. It is estimated that another 10% of the remaining businesses have been so severely damaged that they may still permanently close in the next 12 to 18 months. However, there are businesses that did survive and even thrive. (more…)

Recipient Kathy has Multiple Sclerosis, and before being paired with her Service Dog, Jule in 2020, reported that life was very difficult.



APRIL 23, 2022: Williston, FL (EIN Presswire) –Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs will host its first ever Career Day at its Headquarters in Williston, Florida on April 23, 2022.

Due to rapid growth, Guardian Angels will be interviewing for several positions including:

  • Veterinarian
  • Service Dog Trainers
  • Veterinary Technicians
  • Recipient Relations Specialist
  • Dog Care Specialists
  • Veterinary Assistant

Please join us for a day of networking and interviews. Pre-registration is required, and interview schedules will be set in advance of the event. We are looking for people with a passion to help others, and a love of dogs. Please visit: Career Day to learn more and register to attend.

About Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs is a 501(C)3 Based in Florida that rescues, raises, trains and then donates individually trained medical service dogs to veterans, first-responders and others who suffer from disabilities including PTS, Traumatic Brain Injury, seizure and diabetic disorders, mobility issues and much more. Over the past 11 years, Guardian Angels has paired nearly 400 individually trained medical service dogs with recipients in 29 states, and with your help, that number can continue to grow. Visit our website at: MedicalServiceDogs to get involved or learn more.

At Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, our volunteers and fosters play a crucial role in helping us prepare our dogs for our recipients to help them lead a more independent and accessible life. Jim Granoff is one of the volunteers who goes above and beyond for our organization, to help us in our mission to unleash the power to heal. (more…)

Dogs, much like humans, get a variety of health benefits from regular exercise. Physical activity is an excellent way to enhance and lengthen your dog’s life.
Like non-working dogs, service dogs require a healthy weight and regular exercise to stay in their best working condition.

Guardian Angels Service Dogs

PreviousWhy are Service Dog Laws Important?

Michael and Maci

NextMichael & Maci