Brace and Mobility Support Dogs are a type of Service Dog trained to provide their disabled handler with assistance moving from place to place. This invaluable service is matched only by these dogs’ ability to also help with other chores and tasks, like opening doors or retrieving dropped items. Due to the unique nature of their work, though, Brace and Mobility Support Dogs have special needs. Read on to learn more!
When it comes to Service Dog tasks, there is a lot of confusion over what constitutes a real, specifically trained task and which are only perceived tasks, fueled by emotion and wishful thinking. From Service Dog handlers to trainers to medical doctors to veterinarians alike, there is historically a lot of confusion surrounding this topic.
At some point, Service Dogs in Training progress to public access training. How do you know, though, if your Service Dog in Training is ready for public access? Fortunately, that question has an easy answer. Learn about the types of behaviors and skills your SDiT needs before starting work in public. Important: Answer questions honestly in order to avoid stress. You gain nothing by beginning public access work with a puppy or dog who isn't ready. Furthermore, you can actually do more harm than good to your dog by starting too soon. Foundation, foundation, foundation. Can your SDiT focus around distractions? Fighting for your Service Dog in Training's attention while working in public is not at all enjoyable. Before beginning public access training, your SDiT should already have some foundation focus work. You should know what kinds of reinforcement work well for your SDiT and be able to manage their attention well. While no SDiT is perfect, in order to begin public access training, your partner should easily redirect attention back to you with a bit of prompting, increased distance from the distraction, and high value treats. Additionally, your Service Dog in Training needs to be more interested in you than what's going on around them. Public access training is not the time to introduce distractions -- that should be done in a controlled environment. Until your partner is able to focus on you, or, at the least, redirect attention back to you reliably on request, then stick with working foundation skills in pet-friendly places. It's ok for your dog to be interested in what's going on around them, but you should be easily able to re-secure their focus. As time goes on, you want your SDiT to be relaxed and focused on you no matter what's going on around you. Does your SDiT have reliable obedience and manners? Your Service Dog in Training needs reliable obedience and basic manners. Public access training involves learning public access skills. While that does include practicing foundational behaviors like sit or stays in new places and with increasing amounts of distraction, your SDiT needs to learn the basics at home or in class before trying them in public. Your time in public is not the time to teach beginner obedience. Furthermore, you shouldn't be working on manners in public. You should reinforce good manners, but if your puppy or dog is struggling with something like jumping or inappropriate sniffing, then work
Assistance Dogs International (ADI) publishes standards for Service Dog training, behavior, ethics, organizations, programs, trainers, handlers, and clients. They also define standards of behavior and training for Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs, and Service Dogs for veterans. Read on to learn more about ADI's Service Dog standards. As of November 2018, 140 programs worldwide held ADI accreditation. Additionally, dozens of unaccredited Service Dog training organizations, programs, and individual trainers claim adherence to Assistance Dog International's standards. Please note that any Service Dog organization claiming adherence to ADI standards without actual ADI accreditation has not been evaluated by Assistance Dogs International for adherence to standards. Per the Assistance Dogs International website, "ADI Standards have become the benchmarks to measure excellence in the Assistance Dog industry. Assistance Dog users trust their lives and safety to their dogs so everything related to the training of both the dogs and people must meet extraordinary criteria." When an organization or trainer says a dog meets "industry standard" expectations, most often, they're referring to the ADI standards. Sometimes, though, they may be referring to the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP). The IAADP also produces regularly utilized standards for Service Dog training and behavior. In a nutshell, the ADI standards outline expectations for a training program that is professional, ethical humane, comprehensive, and reliable. Assistance Dogs International expects programs to select, screen, train, and place dogs suitable for Service Dog work. These dogs should be of sound mind and sound body, with specific, well-trained skills and behaviors. Once trained, the Service Dogs should be carefully matched with their future partner. Both Service Dog and handler should undergo extensive team training prior to solo work. They should receive support from the placement organization throughout the team's working life. ADI Minimum Standards and Ethics All standards cited below come directly from Assistance Dogs International's document "ADI Minimum Standards and Ethics." That document can be referenced on the ADI website. We have changed the order of the sections contained in ADI's document for easier grouping. We've placed ethics and standards for programs, clients, and partners at the top, with standards for each type of Service Dog at the bottom. ADI Ethics For Dogs ADI believes that any dog the member organizations trains to become an Assistance Dog has a right to a quality life. Therefore, the ethical use of an Assistance Dog must incorporate the following criteria: 1. An Assistance Dog must be temperamentally screened for emotional soundness and working ability. 2.
Hearing Dogs alert their hard of hearing or deaf handlers to important sounds in the environment. Commonly trained sounds include approaching cars, fire alarms, sirens, dropped keys, and the handler's name. Read on to learn all about Hearing Dogs, where they come from, what they do, and how they're trained! Bonus: Read our step-by-step training guide at the end of this post to learn how to introduce new sounds to a Hearing Dog in Training. Hearing Dog Basics Hearing Dogs, also known as Hearing Alert Dogs, Hearing Ear Dogs, or Signal Dogs, partner with D/deaf and hard of hearing people of all ages. These specialized Service Dogs undergo countless hours of task training, during which they learn to recognize a variety of sounds and how to notify their handler of the sound. Before being accepted for Hearing Dog training, trainers test the canine candidate for sound temperament, good physical structure, and a keen, curious, social personality. Upon passing their initial temperament and aptitude evaluation, new Hearing Dogs in Training formally begin their Service Dog foundation training. They learn manners, basic and advanced obedience, and public access skills. They work on focusing through distractions and on building impulse control. After these special dogs master the basics, they begin their advanced training. For Hearing Dogs, this consists of "soundwork," or the process of learning sounds and the associated alert behaviors. Some Hearing Dogs work for people with multiple disabilities. These multi-purpose Service Dogs may be cross-trained for other Service Dog jobs and undergo additional task training. Good Hearing Dogs undergo hundreds of hours of specialized training and socialization before ever entering the field. Once teams graduate from training, they continue building their skills and bonding as a pair. Who Trains Hearing Dogs? In the United States, Hearing Dogs can be trained by a professional organization or program, or their future handler can train them. If the handler self-trains their own Service Dog, it's called "owner training." U.S. Federal law protects the public access rights of professionally trained Service Dogs and owner trained Service Dogs the same way -- there are no differences. Both types of Service Dogs enjoy the same level of protection. Several organizations in the United States train and place Hearing Dogs. Each has their own set of requirements and guidelines for receiving a Hearing Dog. These are a few of the most well-known programs: International Hearing Dog, Inc. - They've trained over 1,300 Hearing Dogs and have been in
Every Service Dog team is different, but most teams' daily life includes the same elements. Learn more about the life of a Service Dog now! It's a Service Dog's Life: Work For many Service Dogs, work encompasses a large portion of their day. For others, it's only a small piece.
Almost everyone knows it takes a lot of training to become a Service Dog, but few people know how much training or what kind of training. Service Dog training includes several areas of study and can take lots of time. Continue reading to learn more about the types of training Service Dogs require
A "tether" is a short, 2 to 4 foot long piece of coated cable with a snap on each end. When it comes to training a Service Dog in Training (SDiT), few tools are as helpful as the tether. Read on to find out why tether training works, what it does, and how to do it!