Service Dog Training – An Overview
Dogs can be trained to do a lot of things, but undergoing service dog training can be the most difficult, but also the most satisfying things they can go through. A dog undergoes service dog training so that it can assist people with disabilities. While the tasks they learn in service dog training seem routine and common, it is highly prized by those they serve.
Many are already quite familiar with the fact that dogs can undergo service dog training to assist the blind or the deaf. What most are not aware of is that service dog training can also prepare a dog to serve people with other disabilities and illnesses such as mental illness, seizures, diabetes and even people with severe allergies. Service dog training can teach dogs to pull wheelchairs, retrieve objects and even provide some form of rescue and protection for their masters.
In the US, service dog training and service dogs in general are regulated by the American with Disabilities Act which definer parameters for their roles and uses. Dogs that are chosen to undergo service dog training are selected with care because not all dogs can be good service dogs. In fact, many great dogs start service dog training, but do not finish the course because they are deemed unsuitable. Dogs that will undergo service dog training are selected carefully based on personality traits that will make them suited for the role of service dogs.
Formal Service Dog Training
Service dog training can be done through a formal service dog training program. Organizations who offer such a program will often breed their own dogs to come up with the ideal combination of personality traits and characteristics. Basic social skills, manners and potty training is often done by a foster family, but once the dogs are old enough, they are sent back for evaluation to decide whether they will undergo service dog training.
Those who pass the initial screening will go on to the basic service dog training level. Those who do not pass the initial screening for the service dog training program are evaluated for other programs such as bomb detection or narcotics. Otherwise, they are put up for adoption.
The basic service dog training level will focus on teaching the service dog training candidates the same basic skills. This basic service dog training level will include obeying simple commands, common working positions and leash training. This service dog training level will also train dogs how to be obedient, despite distracting circumstances and more advance potty training.
Once they pass this level, the dogs go on to more specific service dog training programs based on the needs of the person they are going to serve. For instance, service dog training for a dog who will be serving someone in a wheelchair might include opening doors, retrieving objects and even turning lights on and off.
Owner-Led Service Dog Training
An alternative service dog training method is for the owner to train the dog himself or herself. Or they can hire a service dog training expert to their dog to suit their particular needs. This kind of service dig training is very effective with owners who have multiple disabilities since the service dog training program can be fully customized for their needs from the very start.
The only downside to this kind of service dog training is that the owner can become very attached to the puppy during the training. This can make it very hard to make the decision to give up the dog if it proves unsuitable and fails the service dog training program.