SERVICE DOG MAINTENANCE // What it takes to care for and train a Service Dog

SERVICE DOG MAINTENANCE // What it takes to care for and train a Service Dog

How hard is it to have a service dog? After training a service dog is MAINTENANCE. Service dog care and training never ends. Here’s what it takes to have a service dog, emphasizing the time required for daily service dog training on top of normal pet dog care. As always, just trying to give glimpses into what it’s like living with a service dog. =)

Did anything surprise you? What’s a day in the life like with your service dog?

Support my work & learn things early:


○ Buddy’s Migraine Tasks:
○ Buddy’s POTS Tasks:
○ Service Dog GEAR HAUL:
○ Buddy Responding to a Faint on Camera (second half):
○ “Mistakes”
○ Buddy’s BIRTHDAY!
○ Access Issues at the Grand Canyon:
○ Trips for Travel:
○ Service Dog Training Philosophy:
○ On-Duty vs Off-Duty Walks:
○ Dog Training with Structured Play:
○ Buddy does the LEAVE IT Challenge!:
○ The Unexpected Benefits of having a SD:
○ The TRUTH about having a Service Dog:
○ If you see a Service Dog in Public:
○ Working my Service Dog during COVID:

DISCLAIMER: Links included in this description might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting Momming with Migraine so I can continue to provide you with free content each week!


  1. Jay-Lee van der Berg on May 27, 2022 at 12:42 am


  2. Laura Hartmus on May 27, 2022 at 12:42 am

    Awesome video! I’m lucky to not need a service dog or anything, but I enjoy these videos because I work as a cashier and want to be able to accommodate anyone who does need a service dog

  3. Luta K on May 27, 2022 at 12:43 am


  4. John Torruella on May 27, 2022 at 12:45 am

    I have service dog. You are right on about having one. He is still in training so we spend a lot of time together. Just grooming is about and hour a day. Training total about 2hrs in small parts. My wife is also part of the group,she is very understanding a big plus.

  5. Potter Eli on May 27, 2022 at 12:45 am

    Yes. I got a puppy prospect and it is so different than my adult sd. I got him when he was a year and was not prepared for a 8week old chew monster who gets into everything.

  6. Catt Houser on May 27, 2022 at 12:45 am

    Just started training my service dog. have a lot of learning to do yourself. There are obedience commands and learning how to task train. Is the dog you adopt even going to be able to help you?? This isn’t easy. You have to figure out you own behaviors that the dog can recognize. When you are dealing with a severe illness this is a mountain of a task. Then there is dealing with the insensitive public. I even got kicked out of my doctors office where my PCP recommended me getting a service dog. My dog was behaving perfectly…P.S.. I didn’t leave. I also see some irritation from people who have professionally trained dogs towards those of us who can’t afford this and have dogs not so perfect. Exhausting….especially when most days you are already running on. fumes. Sigh.

  7. Jean Morgan on May 27, 2022 at 12:47 am

    45 minutes training feed 3 times a day. Potty as needed ten to fifteen minutes early to shop

  8. Sammy Coyle on May 27, 2022 at 12:51 am

    Would love to see a collab with you and Molly Burke!!! There could be some awesome conversations comparing a medical alert service dog vs. seeing eye dog. Home trained vs. professionally trained. Frustrating denied access stories. You two have so much you could talk about!!

  9. SnowySpiritRuby on May 27, 2022 at 12:52 am

    Just an FYI, unless you want to (to each his own), you are not required to undress your dog for security – TSA rules state that you can leave on anything they’re wearing that is to help keep control of them (e.g. leash, harness, collar, etc.) as well as anything that shows that they are on duty (e.g. vest, labeled harness, cape, etc.), and the officers cannot legally make you take them off if you don’t want to, even if it will/did alarm the metal detector.

  10. Kendra Williams on May 27, 2022 at 12:52 am

    This is the best video on having a service dog. It is so much work, and when you are training, you don’t see the benefits for a very long time. I have been training for a year and my puppy is just at the point where is the actually consistently working for me. She is a gluten detection dog. She is not fully trained yet, but close. Know that this is for the long haul and is a lifetime commitment.

  11. Zion Thomas on May 27, 2022 at 12:53 am

    I do want a service dog becauseI am legally blind and it is Alstom to have another familymember.Yes. I am sure it will be challenging ,but with God nothing is impossible. You also said a good point" treat your pet like family".

  12. Jodie Hampson on May 27, 2022 at 12:53 am

    Honestly if you’re not capable of training a dog properly then you shouldn’t have a service dog. Tools are lazy and abusive. If you have to force them, you’re a crappy trainer. I have an assistance dog and I’m a qualified dog trainer.

  13. Destin J on May 27, 2022 at 12:53 am

    Just got out prospect a few weeks ago and it is a FULL time job it’s like having a baby all over again. I have lots of help for my rough days but its given me purpose back on my good ones!

  14. Andrea Pytlinski on May 27, 2022 at 12:55 am

    Thank you for making this video. My fiance and I’ve been trying to decide if a service dog is right for my autistic son. Do now because of Covid has severe anxiety around people

  15. Enya Savory on May 27, 2022 at 12:57 am

    This is so helpful for me. I’m blind and was thinking of getting a guide dog but I don’t know if I can handle having a large dog while having multiple disabilities. Really something to think about

  16. Eric Taylor on May 27, 2022 at 12:57 am

    6:30 I used to help my neighbor with her service dog’s 50lb food bags. But then I moved away.
    I let her know before I left, but don’t know what she did after I left.

  17. PrettyRosePlace on May 27, 2022 at 12:58 am

    I am a handler and you definitely hit all the major points. My SD is a lot of work for daily up keep. She also has allergies so extra grooming and house cleaning is necessary. Some her allergies include human dander, dust mites, cotton, grass, etc. But my favorite interaction with ignorant people decimating against SD goes like this.
    Person A: You can’t bring dogsin here because of allergies.
    Me: That is ok she is allergic to you too.
    Person A: …..?
    Me: She recommends allergy meds.
    Person A: ……?
    All of this in a dead pan voice and we walk off with no more issues.

  18. car6ron3k on May 27, 2022 at 12:58 am

    Having my two service dogs were a joy ( they have retired and are living the life of luxury now). They saved me many ER visits and taught me how to be aware of my triggers. One thing that was difficult was maneuvering any environment without a thousand questions! Is that a service dog? Where can I get a vest so I can just take my dog everywhere, too? How much time do they take? Can I pet your dog? Etc. etc.
    My first dog was training when accessibility was still very new and most people had no clue! I took on the challenge to allow time (yes, allow time!) to educate the community. It was not always easy!

  19. Pink bunny on May 27, 2022 at 1:01 am

    I’m autistic, having a service animal would be a great option if I needed it. But I’d need help to take care of the dog, as I am bad at maintaining the cleaning of everything as times goes (sensory overload, emotional overwhelming, blackouts)

  20. A Secret court of crows and clockwork doors on May 27, 2022 at 1:02 am

    Great video Jen, you did a really comprehensive list. As someone who is on the waiting list for a program dog and it will be a first time handler it I found it very useful.

  21. My Lovable Pets on May 27, 2022 at 1:04 am

    Truthfully everything you just said in this video…. minus the sickness…. I think should be put into any pet dog. I don’t have a service dog but I do have a pet dog and I do all these things as well. Training, care, take him places where I can to give him socialization etc etc

  22. K A on May 27, 2022 at 1:05 am

    We had this issue with a girl. We were going on a horse outing and she DEMANDED to bring her SD. It was to private property on a working foxhound kennels. They have every right legally to say no because 1) Its their home/property. 2) The horses safety is at risk. 3)The foxhounds abilities can be thrown off by rogue dog scents. We eventually told her we just wouldn’t go because she was negatively impacting our relationship with them by refusing to even do basic research because her "Service dog" can go anywhere (95% sure it was a fake SD since he wouldn’t even sit)

  23. Holly Costello on May 27, 2022 at 1:09 am

    Having a play date would be a familiar thing.

  24. Sophie on May 27, 2022 at 1:09 am

    Very informative! Wishing you the best:)

  25. scrumps101 on May 27, 2022 at 1:09 am

    A ‘service dog’ and a ‘regular dog’ and still the same animal. One is not more or less difficult. If you want to have a good, we’ll adjusted and happy dog of either sort you must train it to know their expectations. Dogs inherently like to please their humans and will continue doing as they are trained. They are pack animals, they just want to know their place, regardless of their ‘job’.

  26. Cinna Moon on May 27, 2022 at 1:16 am

    Such an important topic to talk about. Since you linked a video by Molly Burke, there’s actually another one by her where she first talks about her current guide dog retiring. In it she addresses the huge problem the pandemic is for guide dogs with many needing retraining or even retiring like hers because they couldn’t go out regularly and train their daily tasks.

  27. Momming with Migraine on May 27, 2022 at 1:16 am

    HANDLERS: How many hours per day would you say are dedicated to caring for and training your service dog?

  28. Divya Nalinaranjan on May 27, 2022 at 1:18 am

    Thank you so much for these types of videos ! I have ADHD and Anxiety, and am trying to decide between an emotional support dog and a physiatric service dog, love all this info:)

  29. Living with challenges on May 27, 2022 at 1:19 am

    This isn’t something that alot of service dogs can be allowed because of the handlers need but I give my SD 1 full day off not including the days I don’t go anywhere per month. I do this for this particular dog because he starts getting burned out of were doing 6 days of go go go which is typically 8-10 hours per day 6 days straight so I don’t blame him for it and sometimes the 7th day is smaller outings but a few of them so if I never offered a day off he could go 3,4 or 5 weeks without a break. He made it through training like that then when he go the ok from work to go with me he was working long hours and started to not want to leave the house I contacted his "trainer" (really the person that helped me understand and work better with him ) with the issue and they said to give him a day off every once and a while and it fixed the problem. My SD is mainly for mobility so if he isn’t working even if I’m having a good day I will use my wheelchair just to make sure I’m as safe as possible without him.

  30. Emilia Giuliani on May 27, 2022 at 1:19 am

    This is really helpful, thanks for addressing it all and sharing with us! 🙂

  31. Sherrie Capp on May 27, 2022 at 1:19 am

    As a dog trainer, I found this video informative and realistic. Thanks for educating others.

  32. Eric Taylor on May 27, 2022 at 1:20 am

    4:00 My parents had a dog that, when dad came home, he would lose control of his bladder. The dog would lose control, not my dad.

  33. Adriana Blumer on May 27, 2022 at 1:21 am

    this is such a huge reality. My dog is a white poodle, that means that after every outing I need to clean his legs and sometimes belly if he spend to much time in down. He gets dirty soooooo easily and you can see it. Once I went to Disney and came home to give him a bath, I literally had no spoons left.

  34. Laura Van Niejenhuis on May 27, 2022 at 1:23 am

    Thank you for this! I’m training a service dog (puppy) and everything you’ve said has been true for us except I haven’t had access issues yet. I know they are coming but it’s only been 2 weeks working on public access. We got him as a pet and he decided that he wanted to be a service dog but it’s very true if I compare him to when we had a pet dog before him the amount of work is significantly higher and it is hard especially in public to maintain/work on the high level of training needed while also trying to manage the environment around us and whatever I was trying to do.

  35. Daniela Muñoz on May 27, 2022 at 1:23 am

    There is no more a "quick stop for a coffee" What used to take me 10min from parking to getting my coffee, has taken up to an hour because of access issues of places I REGULARLY go to. Like you saw me two days ago and we had the same combo.

  36. Jae on May 27, 2022 at 1:28 am

    Let me put it this way. If you paid yourself minimum wage for all the additional time and training you need to invest into a service dog from when you get the dog at 8 weeks old to when they are ready to work (generally 2 years of age), you’ll be more than able to purchase a program dog ($15,000 – $50,000 depending on the level of communication and types of medical training you need). I personally believe any working (service, protection, guard, herding) dog needs to be able to perform just as well off leash and from distance as they are on leash. You might not have your dog off leash at all times, but if you train your dog up to that level, you can be certain that your dog will perform on leash. The example I like to use is: If you want your car to reliably run 150 m/h for a long duration, you need to get a car that can run 200 m/h or faster. Maintaining the dog’s training will be another 2-5 hours of training a week (on top the normal time you would spend on a pet) depending on your life style and needs. You also need to keep in mind that most dogs retire during the last few years of their lives. So, depending on the breed and health of the dog, they will only work for 5-8 years.

    *Disclaimer: I’m not a professional dog trainer.

  37. Maria Legare on May 27, 2022 at 1:30 am

    It’s sort of counterintuitive, but I feel like learning how much work and inconvenience a service dog is can really help able-bodied people get a clue about what it’s like to be disabled. Like, if all this work is worth it to you, if it somehow still makes your life easier with all things considered—well dang, you must really be sick then.

  38. venlakirahvi on May 27, 2022 at 1:31 am

    This was definitely helpful! I’m in the process of getting a service dog. I haven’t owned a dog until now so naturally I’m worried I’m missing something that should be taken into account. Luckily I have lots of experience with other animals. There were some things you brought up that I hadn’t really considered, like carrying towels with you to clean up the dog with during an outing. However it was nothing that would negate the advantages of me having a service dog, which obviously makes me very happy!

  39. Malene Simonsen on May 27, 2022 at 1:32 am

    This was really helpful and whilst it seems counterintuitive, hearing about the extra care steps actually helped solidify that a service dog would be good for me! I have ADHD so I have a physical need to spend more energy than I currently am, but because of executive dysfunction, I have a hard time finding the self-motivation/start button for getting up and moving about or changing scenery/tasks, so having the external cue/prompt of a dog wanting ro play, needing a walk/food/attention sounds like something that would really help me doing more with my time and getting out of the hyperfocus/paralysis states I’m a little too prone to

  40. Jay-Lee van der Berg on May 27, 2022 at 1:34 am

    It’s no wonder people have had their service dogs revert during the pandemic – and they had to retire the dogs, early

  41. Jasper The Service Demon on May 27, 2022 at 1:35 am

    Hiii I have a 4 month old puppy I am training to be a service dog, his biggest problem is leave it. He’ll grab just about anything he sees on the ground and it takes a lot of time just to get him to leave it alone while walking past it, even if he’s in a heal. Will he grow out of it? If not is there anything I can do to help him along?

  42. Urgelt on May 27, 2022 at 1:36 am

    Good message!

    I’m not a handler, so I’ll skip to something else.

    I think you might enjoy owning a Tesla. They have a ‘dog mode’ that lets you put your dog in the car on a hot day unattended, certainly long enough to visit a P.O. Box. The dash screen tells observers the situation in bold letters and displays the internal temperature, so there’s no excuse for ‘rescuers’ to break a window.

    If you get the Full Self Driving option, the car will navigate itself to your destination. Attentionless driving won’t arrive until your state and local authorities adjust laws and regulations to permit it – could be a long time, who knows? – but the *capability* in software and hardware isn’t far off. Tesla achieves top safety ratings by rating authorities, in part because of its automatic accident avoidance. Which isn’t foolproof just yet, but it’s helpful.

    The downside is, Tesla’s cars are pricy, and even more so if you spring for FSD.

    There’s another upside: operational costs are lower for BEVs, particularly for highly efficient BEVs like Teslas, and the car should last for a third of a million miles – or more – without any maintenance overhaul whatsoever. They’re extremely low maintenance. If you can stomach the purchase price, you’ll make it back easily during the life of the car.

    If Congress does what the Democrats want (an open question), then we’ll soon see a $10,000 tax credit for Tesla’s new car sales. It’s worth tracking what they will do with their infrastructure bill as it makes its way through the Senate, House and reconciliation.


  43. Sarah Walters on May 27, 2022 at 1:38 am

    Thank you so much for making this video, it was very helpful. I will definitely be coming back to it again in the future as I consider when the right time to get a service dog will be

  44. Li-la-lo Meyutar on May 27, 2022 at 1:38 am

    I love your inferences into the man-dog relationship. Maintenance for a service dog is so resource consuming, but people don’t think about it.

  45. Jean Morgan on May 27, 2022 at 1:39 am

    Three training times a day 15 minutes yes each training outings weekly

  46. Jordan McAllister on May 27, 2022 at 1:40 am

    I’m 17 years old, and I’ve always had migraines. Always. These migraines aren’t constant, probably 2-3 a month, maybe even less, sometimes I go 2 months without one. but when I do get one, it’s bad. As I’m 17, I’m getting a job, driving, e.g. I noticed my Migraines get more frequent as I get older and they’ve been worse after my concussion 6 years ago. I’ve recently been thinking about a service dog, but I personally don’t know if I need one as I don’t have migraines every day. I’ve been doing my research first before I ask my doctor, and was just wondering if you have any advice? This video really helps me consider!

  47. BirdandCatLover on May 27, 2022 at 1:40 am

    Anyone have something to say about more psychiatric service dogs? Specifically for ADHD. How hard on the dog is it to have a sensory overloaded, and full grown, human hug them for comfort? Large dog, I’m thinking a Bernese Mountain Dog, or Leonberger (calmer than a retriever, and said to be quite friendly). I do not always appreciate human contact, but cats are too small to hug (and mine is a rescue…she stays away when I’m upset, I think she had an alcoholic owner. Oh, she loves dogs)

  48. NiNiMeggie on May 27, 2022 at 1:41 am

    I always assumed service dogs were really easy to have if you only had to handle them for a few hours. We have a few at my school and as a teacher occasionally I need to handle the student’s dogs in class. I had very short training because I barely need to handle them.

    But the training to get the dog to that point and keep the dog highly trained has to be hard. It takes a lot of work to have a happy healthy dog anyway, let alone one that is highly trained and needs to keep being trained

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