While the true cost is $39,000 (we find that the process works best when your responsibility is half of this cost).


Is there a fee for a Service Dog from Pawsitivity?

Yes. The true cost is $39,000 (to keep the process sustainable, we ask you to pay for half).

The information behind those numbers:

  • What is a Service Dog worth, i.e. how many resources are used in training a Service Dog?
  • Luckily, there is a clear-cut answer, derived from a peer-reviewed study: For any organization, the approximate amount spent on rescuing, socializing, training, and placing, and then providing support for a service dog throughout its life is $39,000. Source: Coutts, Jason. "Cost of Canine Programs Across the United States." Syracuse, New York: American Society of Canine Trainers, 2012. 
  • This $39,000 cost is approximately the same for ALL service dog organizations.

Half of $39,000

  • Some organizations do all the fundraising (but have long wait lists).
  • At Pawsitivity, we raise up to half, and your responsibility is the other half of the costs, which is $19,500.

If you do not have the resources, i.e. savings, for your half, we totally understand, and in that case, we highly recommend another organization which is ten times as large as us: Canine Companions for Independence--their area code is 740 and their phone number is 833 - 3700. Note that while CCI pays for all the costs, that means that their waiting list is many years long.

Are service dogs tax-deductible? Yes--the fee for a service dog is a tax-deductible medical expense.

How the process goes:

1 - Pawsitivity works with rescues and shelters across the country to find that "1-in-a-thousand" dog that tests as being appropriate for training. Check out our page on "Breeds" to find out more about the difficulties of finding the right candidate dog for training. We find that our selecting and training the dog works better than having us (or you) train your current pet dog.

2 - Once we have spent a month or so evaluating the dog and confirming that his/her suitability for training, then we open up the application process for people to apply. You can check this page for announcements when we open up for applications (about twice a year).

3 - When we find who we believe might be a good fit for the dog we're working with, we contact that person for an interview. If everything works out, we then train the dog (and the person). We fundraise half the cost of training, and your fee is the other half.

4 - Even after graduation, we are available for questions and advice.