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.
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!
“Oh, how cute, look at that face! Sooo adooorable.” For the disabled who use small service dogs, these endearments are unfortunately not met with the appreciative responses one might expect from a small dog owner. To a Service Dog owner their small and often ‘height-challenged’ wee ones are far from being “just another pretty face.”
Escalators and moving sidewalks are everywhere in today’s convenience driven-world. Today’s Service Dog teams are likely to regularly encounter them, especially teams that travel, work in a large or multi-story office building or those that enjoy frequenting the mall. For humans, getting on an escalator or moving sidewalk is simple: step on. For Service Dogs, though, there are some additional considerations for safety.