© 2010-2018 Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs Inc.
Commonly Asked Questions
Do you breed your own dogs or do you buy them from other breeders or shelters?

Over 90% of Service Dogs that I place are my breeding. I do not obtain dogs from shelters or random breeders.
In some cases I may find a puppy that is a match for your needs from another GSD BreederI feel comfortable with producing the quality Elite German Shepherd Dogs I look for that can be trained for Service Dog work. Some breeders have produced some excellent working dogs that fit the profile for the high standards I have in temperament, conformation and trainability. Pebbles Vom Haus Hutfeld featured on the home page of this website is a product of a breeding by another kennel. If a dog from another breeder is identified for you, the Sale of the puppy will be between you and the other breeder. At that point you will own the dog. After completion of the sale, a separate training contract will be between you and Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs. The cost of the puppy will be deducted from the total cost to obtain a fully trained and certified Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dog in the area or areas you requested the dog to be trained.

Who pays for the Food, Vet Bills and Equipment when the dog is being trained and is in your care?

These things are all included in the total cost for my dogs that you purchase and are contracted for in house training with us. While the dog is being trained, before it is certified to go live with you full time, the expenses of food, grooming, routine Vet Care and equipment for the dog are covered by Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs.

Who pays for the Food, Vet Bills and Equipment when the dog comes to live with me full time?

You (Our Client) do. However, some Veterinarians, large pet stores or companies do offer free or discounted rates for active Service Dogs. For instance, Lunenburg Veterinary Hospital waives the exam fee for active Service Dogs. Thank You Dr. Flinkstrom

Who owns the dog after it is trained, certified and paid for?

You (Our client) do. With the exception of a puppy that was purchased from another breeder. Those dogs you will own once the sale between the other breeder and you is complete. The Service Dog training contract is a separate agreement in those instances. 

What standards do you use to certify a Service Dog?

Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs have a standard that goes beyond standards set by other Service Dog organizations.

1. The puppy has been pre screened and selected to perform a specific task or tasks for a SPECIFIC individual with a disability BEFORE training begins for that specific individual. The puppy must pass an initial evaluation. Meeting or exceeding expectations of an extensive temperament and trainability evaluation (criteria for this evaluation is confidential) performed by Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs.
2. The puppy must meet the genetic profile of an Elite German Shepherd Dog verified by the AKC pedigree, DNA and the United Schutzhund Club of America or SV paperwork showing working titles, Hips and elbows clear of any dysplasia or genetic defects at least 4 generations back in the bloodline. (If I am training someone else's dog to certify him/her as a Service Dog, It might not be a purebred German Shepherd Dog, it might be another breed or a mixed breed. In this instance, the dog undergoes a full evaluation of temperament and trainability for the specific tasks the dog will be required to perform before training begins).
3. The dog must pass the test and obtain an AKC CGC Certificate. (This test/Certificate does not certify the dog as a Service Dog but is part of the process to obtain Certification according to the standard of Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs) Please click on AKC CGC Certificate for more details.
4. The dog must pass a public access test given by Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs. This test is designed to be certain the dog can handle the stress associated with functioning as a Service Dog in public. The dog must be attentive to the handler over 90% of the time in public areas and must respond to commands of the handler by the second attempt 100% of the time. This includes but is not limited to Stores, Malls, Movie Theaters, Grocery Stores, Public Transportation, Trains and Airlines or places that do not welcome dogs or pets. The dog must not show any aggression to other people or animals. The dog must be able to work and perform its task or tasks under reasonable distraction in public. The dog must not eliminate indoors or in an area that is not suitable for the dog to do so. The dog must eliminate upon command.
5. The dog must perform in the following areas of disability that is requested by the client.
Hearing Dog: Must alert on reaction a deaf or hearing impaired person to a minimum of three specific sounds chosen by client at least 90% of the time.
Mobility Dog: The dog must perform a minimum of 3 different tasks to assist a mobility disabled person at least 90% of the time on first command or on trained reaction.
Diabetic Alert Dog: The dog must alert the Diabetic on trained scent detection with at least 90% accuracy to High and or Low blood sugar levels Over 200 and or under 80 
Medical Assist Dog: The dog must perform at least three different tasks requested by the client to assist them in an area they are no longer able to function on their own.
PTSD Dog: The dog must be able to react to the condition of PTSD by quickly gaining the disabled persons attention and calming them with lots of love and affection over 90% of the time on trained reaction to the condition.
Psychiatric Service Dog: A Psychiatric Service Dog is classified as a Medical Service Dog with a difference in area of disability. A Psychiatric Service Dog helps the mentally disabled person vs. a physically disabled person. These areas may include but are not limited to Phobias, Stress Induced Disorders or Manic Depression. These dogs must be able to neutralize the effects the mental condition requested by the client on trained reaction to the condition at least 90% of the time.
All Service Dogs must be able to perform their tasks at least 80% of the time during nighttime or sleeping hours.

How is it legal for non-disabled Service Dog Trainers to train Service Dogs where Dogs are not allowed?

MGL CHAPTER 129 Section 39D&F Service dogs; trainer rights & Hearing Dog Business

Section 39D. A person engaged in the hearing dog business, while actually engaged in the training process and activities of hearing dogs, shall have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities with respect to access to public facilities as those applicable to deaf persons.

Section 39F. A person accompanied by and engaged in the raising or training of a service dog, including a hearing, guide or assistance dog, shall have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as those afforded to an individual with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq.

I was told that you don't need to be licensed or certified to have a Service Dog or a Service Dog Company or Organization. Is this true?

Section 39C Hearing dog business; licenses

Section 39C. Every person engaged in the hearing dog business shall obtain a license therefor from the director, the fee for which shall be determined annually by the commissioner of administration under the provision of section three B of chapter seven for the filing thereof, and such license shall expire on December thirty-first following the date of issuance, unless sooner revoked. The director may make rules and regulations governing the issuance and revocation of such licenses and the conduct of any business so licensed, and relative to the maintenance of premises, buildings and conveyances, the health of the dogs and the method and time of inspection of such dogs and such business.

The director shall promptly furnish to the director of the office of deafness the name and address of each person licensed to conduct a hearing dog business, and the person so licensed shall promptly furnish to the director of the office of deafness with the name and address of each person to whom a hearing dog is furnished. A hearing dog shall, for identification purposes, be fitted with a collar and leash which are of a bright color.

To the best of our knowledge, Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs is the ONLY one in the State of Massachusetts that has been issued this License. If you are looking for a Hearing Alert Service Dog from a Company or Organization in the State of Massachusetts, ask the Service Dog Company or Organization to see their License to Operate a Hearing Dog Business in compliance with Massachusetts General Law.

To view these laws on the Massachusetts Laws Website please follow this link

How much does a Service Dog cost?

The cost on a national average for businesses and organizations to raise and train a single disability Service Dog exceeds $30,000.00. This cost does not include the cost of the dog/puppy. Some Non-Profit Organizations have reported expenses related to the raising and training of a Service Dog to exceed $38,000.00 while using unpaid, inexperienced volunteers to raise and train the Service Dogs they provide. Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs DOES NOT use the services of inexperienced volunteers in our program to raise or train our Service Dogs. All dogs are 100% raised and trained by top professionals in the Service Dog field. Our unique process to 100% Professionally raise and train a Service Dog specifically for you is indeed expensive. 
Because our dogs are of premium pedigree and we 100% Professionally train our Service Dogs from a young age for a specific person and for their specific needs and lifestyle, availability of funding to offset the cost to obtain a Service Dog and final cost to you from Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs varies. With help from donations, we are try to keep the cost to our clients ranging from under $20,000.00 to $30,000.00. The final cost to you is determined by a financial statement and eligibility, availability of outside funding sources and out of state travel expenses that may apply to your specific situation or location. A fully trained Service Dog from Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs would be $30,000.00 + out of state travel if applicable, Minus Donations or other outside funding you may receive or may be qualified for.

Help Save A Life, Donate Today!

Is there any source of financial help for the costs associated with obtaining a service animal?

YES, Civic and charitable organizations sometimes provide financial assistance or may assist you in fundraising. These organizations may include but are not limited to local:
  • Lions
  • Elks
  • Chamber of Commerce 
  • Diagnosis-related Associations
  • Charitable Foundations ​
  • Religious organizations
Network within your community to locate as many possible funding sources.

*** Unfortunately, Medicare/Medicaid and MassHealth DOES NOT cover the cost of training and/or obtaining a Service Dog at this time. If this policy changes, you will see these changes in the literature provided to you directly from your healthcare insurance provider. Your healthcare insurance explains what is covered under your policy. An announcement directly from your healthcare insurance provider may be provided to you explaining any new services they may or may not cover in the future.***​

If you cannot afford the costs associated with obtaining a Service Dog and are having trouble securing funds to obtain your Service Dog, we may be able to help you with our funding program. Call us for details 978-855-6415
​Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs IS NOT a non-profit organization. What is done at reduced cost is mostly funded by gifts from donors, donations to us through Service Dogs of Florida as well as from Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs directly.

How will I know I am getting a strong healthy dog?

You will be getting an elite purebred German Shepherd that comes with a Health Record of the dog showing that all vaccinations are up to date and the dog is healthy and clear of any illness, Elite Pedigree showing mother and father trained, titled in work and show at least 4 generations back. Hips and elbows OFA’d and/or German A stamp from the SV. These dogs are also registered with the AKC and their DNA is registered with the pedigree as well. Pending on the specific breeding of the litter, dogs may also come with tattoo # in their right ear (Tattoo is done between 6-8 weeks of age) matching the SV/Schutzhund USA paperwork (Required to verify the dog for Schutzhund USA competition matching the dog to the pedigree. It also verifies the puppy and pedigree was verified by a Breed Warden for Schutzhund USA) proving without a doubt that you are getting the right dog and the best of the best. *** Tattooed puppies does not confirm the puppy selected for Service Dog work was trained in Schutzhund/IPO. It is only one way that may verify breed standard from a USCA or SV Pedigree. This means that the parents of the puppy and at least 4 generations back within the Pedigree, consistently met or exceeded minimum standards to produce a puppy resulting from the breeding of the mother and father of the tattooed puppy. *** Although I prefer to adhere to the USCA/SV Standard, German Shepherds that are a perfect fit for Service Dog work may just come with an AKC pedigree. The reason for this is one or more dogs within the line do not have a USCA/SV working title. Dogs from Saint Francis German Shepherd Service Dogs that do not come with a USCA/SV pedigree, do come with a AKC pedigree that shows an AKC Obedience Title where a USCA/SV title may be missing.

If you still have questions or would like to set up an appointment please feel free to contact us