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Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of dogs does Capable Canines use?
We primarily use large breeds such as Labradors, German Shepherds, Labrador mixes, etc. Because the most important characteristics in a service dog are the desire to be a loving and faithful companion and the passion to be of service to its owner, the dogs we choose are not necessarily purely bred. 

Where does Capable Canines of Wisconsin get its dogs?
Our dogs come from shelters/rescues and dog breeders who either donate or sell them to the organization at a discounted rate. Where are the dogs trained? For the dog’s first year, training takes place in our foster parent homes and at scheduled classes. Much of this training happens in public places such as shopping malls and restaurants. After the dog’s first year, the dog then learns specific skills to assist its future owner. 

How long is the training process?
Training begins as soon as the young dog enters the foster parents’ home. Depending on the age of the dog and the “job” the dog will have, the training period can range anywhere from 3 to 24 months. How long do these dogs work? On average, service dogs work about eight years. A dog’s physical and emotional well-being may extend or shorten the dog’s expected length of service. After retirement, the dog may stay with its owner or be placed in a home approved by Capable Canines of Wisconsin. 

What happens to dogs that do not graduate?
There are times when a dog may not graduate its training program. A dog may not graduate for a variety of reasons—health and temperament, to name a couple. For these dogs, we find good homes approved by Capable Canines of Wisconsin. What if someone already has a dog and would like it trained? We do not train existing dogs simply because we cannot guarantee the dog has what it takes to be a service dog. 

What if someone wants a dog but they don’t live near Wisconsin?
At this time, Capable Canines of Wisconsin focuses on serving only the upper Midwest with our service dog program. We do this to ensure proper follow up with the service dogs and their human counterparts. For information about service dogs in other regions, visit Assistant Dogs International at their website,

Who can apply for a dog? 
Anyone with a physical or developmental disability may apply for a service dog. We will consider all applicants regardless of race, sex, religion, creed, sexual orientation, ethnic origin or age. 

Who qualifies for a dog?
The candidate or caregiver must be mature enough and possess sufficient cognitive functioning to actively participate in the training and learning processes required to own a service dog. The candidate must be actively pursuing the goal of independent living and seeking to improve the quality of his/her life through the aid of a service dog. The candidate must be able to continuously meet the emotional, physical, and financial needs of a service dog in a stable & loving environment. 

What is the cost to receive a dog?
There is a $25 non-refundable application fee. The cost to provide these dogs ranges from $8,000 to $25,000, depending on the skills of the service dog. The organization does assist recipients in fundraising activities to help reduce the financial burden. 

How is Capable Canines of Wisconsin funded?
Capable Canines of Wisconsin is funded by private contributions, gifts from businesses, civic groups and service clubs. Grants from corporations and foundations and ongoing fundraising activities, special events, and mailings also fund Capable Canines. Capable Canines of Wisconsin receives no government funding. 

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