After house training puppies, crate use tends to fade as dogs mature. They stop destroying things. They can be trusted to be out and about with supervision. However, just because your dog doesn't need to be crated doesn't mean you should let their crate training fall by the wayside. Here are 3 reasons why your Service Dog needs to be crate trained. Crating Service Dogs: In Case It's Ever Necessary During day to day life, your dog might not ever need to be crated. However, sometimes, events are beyond our control. If your dog needs to be hospitalized at the vet, they'll be staying in a sanitary crate or kennel unit. Dogs who aren't used to being crated often stress when confined or separated from their handlers. If you're traveling, you might need to crate them at a friend or family member's house. If you're hospitalized, part of the requirement for having your Service Dog on unit might include them being crated while you're undergoing testing or procedures. Looking for guidelines on bringing your Service Dog to a behavioral health facility? Check out our guide to Psychiatric Hospitalizations With a Service Dog. Crate Training: For Safety and Management Sometimes dogs need to be crated for their safety. Crate training can really help with environmental management. If there's remodeling or construction going on in your home, crating your Service Dog keeps them safe and secure. For ill or injured dogs, crating them allows them to rest and recuperate safely. If you're working on boundaries or a behavioral issue, using a crate allows you to keep an eye on the situation and manage your training plan more effectively. Crate Training: So Your Dog Has Opportunities for Quiet Time Working dogs work hard. Just like people, some dogs need more alone time than others. Crate training gives your Service Dog a quiet place to rest. If your Service Dog provides task work in the home, they might not ever willingly take a break. Crating your dog is an easy way to signify that they're off duty and they can rest, chew a bone, or enjoy some downtime.
People love showing off their dog's tricks. Flashy skills like rolling over, playing dead, or sitting pretty provide lots of opportunities for fun. While many dog owners assume training tricks serves little purpose for their dog beyond entertainment, they're quite wrong! Training tricks offers many health benefits for dogs both young and old. Trick Training Provides Mental Stimulation Make no bones about it -- mental stimulation, science says, is just as good, if not better, than physical exercise! Working your dog's brain offers great opportunities to stave off boredom and reduce excess energy. Learning tricks requires your dog to focus on the new skill or behavior, master it, and link it with a cue. Performing tricks on cue means your dog has to sort through known behaviors and cues, select the correct one, and then do it! That's hard work that occupies a lot of brain power and mental juice. If you don't have enough energy to train tricks, try some of these other tools for increasing mental stimulation for your dog. Training Tricks Builds Strength Many tricks require your dog to use their body in ways that aren't common in day to day life. Sitting pretty, commando crawling, standing on hind legs, perching, pivots, and many other common dog tricks work your dog's core strength and body awareness. Training tricks builds strength, enhances mobility and flexibility, and allows your dog to get a nice workout while having fun. Remember to start slowly and built up duration and intensity. Performance in the beginning may not be awesome, but don't give up -- keep practicing and your dog's physical capabilities will improve. Tricks Help Bond Dog and Owner One of the best ways for dogs and owners to bond involves spending qualiy time together. Playing, grooming, and, you guessed it, training, all offer ample opportunities for bonding. Learning tricks helps handlers hone training and communication skills. It assists dogs in furthering knowledge and capabilities, while also letting them practice focus, learning to learn, and all kinds of other important engagement skills.
Trainers and handlers use verbal commands in dog training to communicate with their dogs. The dog learns to associate each command or cue with a specific behavior or skill. When the dog hears that command, they perform the behavior. Some of these skills are very simple, like position changes. Others are very complex, like running to the fridge to retrieve a beverage. When people think about dog training commands, oftentimes, English comes to mind first. You tell a dog to "sit" and they do it. For professional working dogs or performance dogs, though, trainers often use languages other than English for their cues. Sometimes they do so because of the culture of their breed or sport. As an example, lots of dogs who compete in the sport of Schutzhund are trained in German. For other teams, especially teams that utilize their skills in real-world environments or in public, training commands in another language is a matter of necessity. Sometimes, it's even a matter of safety! Imagine a police dog responding to a fleeing suspect who yells "DOWN" or a Service Dog who turns to respond to a mother who asks a child to "COME HERE." A large part of that can be mitigated with distraction proofing and handler focus, but many trainers find using another language for dog training cues to be simpler and safer overall. Without further ado, here are lists of cues in 5 common languages used in dog training: English, German, French, Dutch, and Czech. English Cues for Dog Training Sit Down Stand Stay Wait Come Heel Finish Kennel Retrieve Take It Drop It Go Search Shake Jump German Dog Training Commands Sit - Sitz (See-tz) Down - Platz (plah-tz) Stand - Stand (Shtahnd) Stay - Bleib (Bl-i-b, with a long "i" sound) Wait - Wart (Vahrt) Come - Hier (Heer) Heel - Fuß (Foos) Finish - Fuß (Foos) Kennel - Zwinger (Zuh-ving-ehr) Retrieve - Apport / Bring (Brink) Take it - Nimm (Neem) Drop It - Aus (Ous) Go - Geh (Gay) Search - Such / Voran (Sook / For-ahn) Shake - Pfote (Pif-oh-teh) Jump - Hopp (Hop) French Dog Training Commands Sit - Assis (ah-see) Down - Couche (Koosh) Stand - Debout (Da-boo) Stay - Reste (Rest) Come - Ici (ee-see) Heel - Au Pied (oh-pee-aye) Finish - Au Pied (oh-pee-aye) Kennel - Chenil Retrieve - Rapporte (aport) Drop It - Halt (alt) Go - En Avant (on-a-vahn) Search - Cherche (scherch) Jump - Saute (soat) Dutch Cues for Dog Training Sit - Zit Down - Af Stand - Staan Stay - Blijf Come - Hier Heel - Volg Finish - Volg (left) / Rechts (right) Kennel - Hok Retrieve - Apport Drop It - Los Go - Voruit Search - Revieren Jump - Over Czech Cues for Dog Training Sit -
Basic obedience positions, consisting of sit, down, and stand, provide a foundation for much of the movement your Service Dog does throughout the day. Public access uses long downs, mobility work relies on rock solid stands, and sit is the most commonly cued position for most dogs. Lots of puppies learn sit first. Next, they master down and down stays. Some go on to learn stands, but many don't. By improving your basic obedience positions, you can improve your communication with your Service Dog while also improving task work, public access, and functionality. You can also use basic obedience positions to build your dog's strength, mobility, and flexibility. In addition, improving sits, downs, and stands offers a great chance to work on your dog training skills, including timing, reward placement, and reinforcement schedules. These skills also serve as a base for more advanced obedience and positioning skills, like pivots, emergency downs, and stays out of motion. Basic Obedience Positions and Cue Differentiation Does your dog know sit? Many people believe their dog does but then discover their dog relies on a mixture of physical, environmental, contextual, and verbal cues and not on the cue "sit" itself! The same goes for downs and stands -- does your dog still respond to the cue if you're standing straight up and you don't use your hands? What if your back is turned? Many dogs, including highly trained ones, only know what their handler wants if the cue is delivered with precisely the correct elements. Work on improving your dog's response to verbal cues. Strive to reduce or remove physical elements from your cues. Change the way you deliver cues -- sit down, stand up, lay on the ground, try it from an elevated position, etc. Work until your dog performs reliably off a single verbal cue regardless of the environmental set up or the position you yourself are in. Expanding your dog's generalization of a cue might come in handy during emergencies or in situations your dog can't readily see you. Basic Obedience Position Transitions Playing position transition games is a great way to improve basic obedience positions. Most dogs can go into a down from a sit, but does your dog pop into a sit from a down on cue? Do they stand on cue while sitting or in a down? How many times can they transition cleanly? These games are great opportunities to work on cue differentiation
With another year nearly behind us, it's time to start looking forward to the new year. The question is simple: how can we better ourselves as Service Dog handlers, owners, trainers, puppy raisers? Setting Service Dog training goals offers an easy place to begin. Good goals provide a concrete endpoint so you know when you've succeeded. They give you a way to focus your efforts and work efficiently and productively towards what you want. Knowing how to set goals can be tricky, though! Many experts recommend utilizing the SMART goals system. SMART goals are: Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-based Basically, SMART goals consist of concrete steps you take within a certain time period to achieve something specific that's quantifiable. An example of a SMART goal for dog training would be "Obtain my Service Dog's Canine Good Citizen certification by Valentine's Day." An example of a goal that does not adhere to the SMART protocol is "Train my Service Dog more." More than what? What counts as training? Does a single repetition of sit-down-stand count, or does it have to be several minutes to matter? Now, if you said, "I'd like to do 90 seconds of obedience training twice per day at least 4 days a week," now you're talking! Goals like that allow you to know whether or not you've achieved them -- there's no guessing and thusly, less stress. It's important to keep the "achievable" part of the SMART goals process in mind. Set goals you can feasibly reach so that you can succeed. When you've achieved the first set of goals, set new ones. It's far easier to start a habit of training for 3 minutes a day than it is for 30 minutes twice per day! Be kind to yourself, your dog, and your capabilities. Step One: Decide What You Want Your Goals to Be Before you can set goals, you need to know what you want to work on. Ideally, your goals involve behaviors or skills you'd like to build or improve in your dog or in your handling. Not all goals have to directly involve training your dog. Maybe you'd like to read a chapter per week of a book on canine behavior or maybe you'd like to take an online course on canine massage. By all means, though, set goals for direct interactions with your dog, too! Consider including goals for exercise and enrichment, too. Chances are both you
Holiday travel with a Service Dog doesn’t have to be stressful. By following a few simple tips, you can reduce any difficulties associated with bringing your partner along for Christmas celebrations. Prepare Ahead of Time Preparing ahead for holiday travel solves many potential problems. If you’re flying, call the airline and let them know about your Service Dog. If you’re driving, look up good spots to stop so your Service Dog can stretch their legs. Having a solid plan in place means you don’t have to think about details on the day of travel. Preparing ahead also means packing for your dog. Divvy out individual meals and put your Service Dog’s gear in a small bag so it’s easily accessed. Bring extra food, medication, treats, and copies of documentation. It’s better to have a bit too much and not need it than to need more and not have it. If you’re traveling for an extended period, consider purchasing a bag of food once you reach your destination instead of trying to fly with or pack enough for several days. Understand Travel Buddies May Not “Get It” People who don’t routinely see you working with your Service Dog may not entirely understand what your partner does for you. Many people are lucky to have friends and family who support their Service Dog, but some teams might face criticism, disdain, or other difficulties when they return home for the holidays. Be prepared to enforce boundaries concerning your partner, especially regarding access and interaction. Many holiday guests may not “get” that your partner is working for you while around the house, so be sure to be clear about when your Service Dog is on duty and when they’re off duty. If there are children, consider using a visual cue that your partner is working or not. A bandana often works well for this. If your Service Dog has a bandana on, it’s like an invisibility cloak and the kids should pretend they can’t even see your dog. If your dog isn’t wearing a bandana, then they may be petted or played with. If you’d prefer that no one interacts with your partner except for you, then enforce that from the very beginning. Be clear and consistent in your expectations. Stick to a Routine Try to avoid changing your Service Dog’s routine during holiday travel if at all possible. If your partner generally eats at 10 am and 3 pm, do
At first glance, "sit" seems like a pretty easy position to teach a dog. In fact, sit is often the very first thing puppies learn. Did you know, though, that there are several different kinds of sit positions? The type that's commonly taught, the rock back sit, isn't always the most efficient or best version for working dogs. Learn how to teach a "tuck sit" by following a few simple steps! Dogs sit via one of two basic ways -- by shifting backward on their haunches with or without moving their front feet towards their rear or by scooting their rear end up towards their shoulders. The first way, called a "rock back" sit, uses gravity to sink the dog's rump to the ground. The second, called a "tuck sit," requires enough shoulder strength and stability to support the dog's body weight as they transition into the sit. For most dogs, the basic rock back sit is just fine -- they just need to be able to put their rear on the ground when asked. For working dogs or performance dogs, especially those competing in obedience trials, the tuck sit reigns supreme. It allows the dog to remain properly aligned without moving away from their handler. If you put the dog's front feet on a line and ask for a tuck sit, the feet stay in a place. In contrast, a dog using a rock back sit might end up feet away from the place they started! For Service Dog trainers and handlers, tuck sits prove invaluable because they ensure the handler can easily reach the dog or anything the dog is carrying in their mouth or in a pack. Furthermore, the tuck sit also prevents the Service Dog from occupying more space than necessary while working in public. There are many ways to teach a tuck sit Multiple methods exist for teaching tuck sits. Depending on how your dog learns, one way may work better for you guys than another. Below, you'll find a step-by-step guide to teaching a tuck sit that relies on simple foundation skills. The method outlined tends to work for a wide variety of dogs, including puppies. Before beginning tuck sit training Ideally, before beginning to teach the tuck sit, your dog will already have some paw targeting and nose targeting skills. The targeting isn't completely required but it will shortcut the process. You'll need high value treats, some kind of
Astro the robot dog looks like and learns like its canine namesake. This 100-pound quadruped robot features a 3D printed Doberman Pinscher head, a tail, and a deep neural network computerized brain that learns from experience and can be trained. Designed and developed by a Florida Atlantic University research and psychology team, Astro's potential is far-reaching. Using deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI), scientists from Florida Atlantic University’s Machine Perception and Cognitive Robotics Laboratory (MPCR) in the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science packed Astro full of some serious technology. Unlike previous iterations of quadruped robots, Astro isn't "programmed" to perform simple tasks. Due to the kind of neural network in Astro's Doberman-shaped head, this robot can be trained to perform a wide variety of tasks, just like a real dog. Astro can see, hear, process, and respond to a wide variety of sensory input. Developmentally, Astro is still a puppy. It can sit, lie down, move forward, and perform other basic commands. The research team who built the robot wants to teach it to respond to hand signals, colors and multiple languages. Additionally, they also want Astro to recognize different people by sight, which would allow it to be paired with a wider variety of handlers. In addition to responding to cues and commands, Astro's "brain," can, with training, sync up with drones and other mechanized technology. The K9 robot could send and receive a wide variety of intel and respond to real-world input on the fly. Astro the Robot Dog's Uses Astro's is no lightweight -- it weighs 45 kilos (100 pounds) and can traverse extremely rough terrain. Not only can Astro move through challenging geographical areas like dense forests or over mountains, but it can also enter disaster zones more safely than human rescuers or search dogs. Originally, the FAU team built Astro for military applications. The robot was to serve as a scout. The team equipped Astro with over a dozen sensors including optical, auditory, olfactory, gas, and radar. Its key missions include detecting guns, explosives and gun residue to assist police, the military, and security personnel. This robotic dog can also be trained for and/or assist in the following ways, as well: Guiding the blind Pulling wheelchairs Assisting with mobility tasks Medical diagnostic monitoring Exploring hazardous environments Assisting soldiers on the battlefield Search through thousands of faces in a database Sniff
Service Dogs raised from puppyhood learn Service Dog foundation skills early. Without daily practice, though, young Service Dogs in Training often struggle to master the complex behaviors required for public access and advanced training. To help your SDiT master responsiveness, focus, and relaxation, practice the following 5 skills every day! Settling & Matwork Public access often requires young Service Dogs in Training to lie quietly for long periods of time. Whether the handler or trainer is working, at school, or standing in line at the store, the ability to settle proves invaluable. This Service Dog skill doesn't happen accidentally -- it's built through daily practice. Use matwork, place training, tether training, and long downs to build quiet, calm, settled behavior in your young Service Dog in Training. Impulse Control Impulse control allows your Service Dog in Training to decide whether or not to engage with a distraction instead of doing so instantly because it's exciting. Puppies do not come with impulse control pre-installed. This skill must be earned through daily practice. Use training games like Zen or It's Yer Choice, along with programs like Control Unleashed or Crate Games, to assist you with teaching your young Service Dog in Training impulse control. Handler Focus There's a lot going on in public. People walk around and make strange noises. There's lots of motion and activity. Children drop food or reach for your dog. Solid handler focus allows your dog to ignore these everyday distractions without stressing. Furthermore, lots of practice with handler focus gives your dog a clear job with clear expectations on what to do when they encounter something new -- just stay focused and wait for further information. Build handler focus through reinforcing eye contact, check ins, movement-based games, distraction proofing, and leave it. Positions Sit. Down. Stand. Settle. Heel. Side. Front. Positions are an every day Service Dog reality. Young Service Dogs in Training should learn positions early on and then work daily to master them. Work on transitioning from one position to another and on gaining clear cue recognition. Make sure you're practicing in a wide variety of environments, too, since dogs don't generalize behaviors automatically. Shaping Shaping, along with luring and capturing, allows trainers to easily teach complex skills and behaviors. If young Service Dogs in Training start playing shaping games early in their education and practice them daily, they often prove easier and more fun to train overall. In addition to being useful for training, shaping
In the United States, every Service Dog handler enjoys the right to travel with their Service Dog. However, finding straightforward information about airline policies and requirements, international laws, TSA regulations, security checkpoints, and other commonly encountered situations isn't easy! To help you prepare you for your trip, we've compiled Service Dog travel tips, tricks, hacks, guidelines, and resources. Terminology note: U.S. Federal law includes miniature horses in the list of allowable Assistance Animal species. Miniature horses trained as Assistance Animals usually provide either guide services or brace and mobility support. Since the majority of Assistance Animal handlers partner with a dog, we usually utilize the term "Service Dog" instead of the more universal "Service Animal." However, any time you see "Service Dog," you could replace it with "Miniature Guide Horse" or "Brace and Mobility Support Horse" seamlessly. Miniature horse users possess identical public access rights to Service Dog teams. Airlines Updated Service Dog and ESA Policies in 2018 Throughout the course of 2018, nearly every major domestic airline updated their Service Dog travel policies. Most airlines designed their new protocols to crack down on people using legal loopholes to transport untrained or unsuitable dogs free of charge in the cabin. As such, many of the new rules differ greatly from the "old" airline Service Dog requirements. This is particularly true concerning Emotional Support Animals (ESAs). Many airlines now require an extensive, multi-step approval process for Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals. Some airlines outline different rules or behavioral expectations for different types of Service Dogs. As an example, American Airlines requires Psychiatric Service Dogs to meet the Emotional Support Animal (ESA) requirements instead of the standard Service Dog requirements. Learn More About how Service Animals, Therapy Dogs, and Emotional Support Animals Differ Other types of professional working dogs, like Search and Rescue Dogs and Police K9s, often fly under an airline's established Service Dog policy. However, that's far from universal -- airline working dog policies range from nonexistent to clearly defined with everything in between! All handlers should confirm their airline's Working K9 or Service Dog travel policy several days prior to flying. Airlines accept Service Dogs in Training (SDiTs) at their own discretion. Service Dnimals in Training are not covered by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and therefore have no legal rights to fly under any Service Animal policy. Some airlines provide better SDiT policies than others. Service Dog Definitions and Requirements Vary Widely In addition to tightening the rules for flying