Becoming a Service Dog takes a lot of hard work and dedication. With so many things to learn, it can be hard to know what to focus on! Help young Service Dogs in Training succeed by practicing these 3 skills every day. Foundational Obedience Foundation obedience lays the groundwork for future public access, task training, and advanced skills. Most trainers consider sit, down, stand, stay, leash walking, and recalls (come) to be basic obedience, but the definition varies widely. Some people include manners and other skills like targeting, place training, and husbandry. Definition aside, there's no doubt these skills matter. Young Service Dogs in training should practice positions (including sit, down, stand, heel, side, front, etc.), moving with their handler, and building duration on their behaviors every day. Eventually, as their abilities improve, they should work on distractions and adding distance, too. Keep in mind there's no need to practice everything every single day. In the beginning, an SDiT may only be working on one or two things. Practice those one or two things. Add more as the puppy is able to master the material. Impulse Control and Focus Service Dogs working in public deal with uncountable distractions -- motion, people, smells, new objects, other dogs, loud noises, etc. In order to succeed, Service Dogs require bomb-proof temperaments, focus, and impulse control. As such, young Service Dogs in Training should practice these skills every day. Training games like Susan Garrett's It's Yer Choice or Sue Ailsby's Zen offer lots of ways to practice these behaviors in the context of everyday life. Handlers should strive to reinforce handler focus and distraction proofing at every opportunity. Relaxing Lots of Service Dog work involves long periods of waiting, watching, and relaxing, especially while in public. The ability to relax calmly is a learned skill, not an innate characteristic. Young Service Dogs in Training should work on their ability to settle for long periods of time every day. Place training and tether training provide great opportunities for practicing this vital Service Dog skill.
Many people are surprised to learn there are over a dozen different specializations for Service Dogs. There are Diabetic Alert Dogs, Severe Allergy Alert dogs, Visual Assistance Dogs, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, Wheelchair Assistance Dogs, Psychiatric Service Dogs, Brace/Mobility Support Dogs, Medical Alert Dogs, Seizure Assistance Dogs and more. What are all of these types of Service Dogs — and what do they do?
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
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.
We here at Anything Pawsable are delighted to announce that for the 4th year running, we’ll be doing a Howly Jowly gift giveaway. Howly Jowly 2016 is dedicated to all of the hardworking Service Dog teams all over the United States
It can sometimes be difficult to find places to take Service Dogs in Training (SDiT’s). Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of stores and restaurants, in both the United States and Canada, who have confirmed to Anything Pawsable that they indeed welcome SDiT’s.
Guides or resources for people wishing to train their own Service Dog are few and far between, so when we saw one literally titled Training Your Own Service Dog, we snatched it up for review. We did the reading, and now we’ll do the reviewing, so you can know what you’re getting before you get it.