It’s time to look for your next Service Dog. What traits should you look for? What's important? What doesn't matter? There is a sea of misinformation that a Service Dog handler must sort through while picking a Service Dog puppy or candidate. Cut through the chaos and learn what what to look for while selecting a potential partner.
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.
Science proves living with a dog carries many physical and mental benefits. Blood pressure goes down, people deal with less anxiety and generally speaking, just feel better. Dogs offer great emotional support, help us get more activity, and give the best snuggles. Benefits aside, though, simply having a dog who helps you feel better doesn't make a dog a Service Dog. Only trained tasks do that, along with proper behavior, manners, and temperament. Without further ado, here are 5 awesome things dogs do that aren't Service Dog tasks. Provide Emotional Support When it comes to unconditional love, acceptance, and pure joy, not much beats a good dog. Science agrees that dogs provide incredible emotional support and health perks. Be that as it may, though, emotional support, relieving anxiety, or helping with depression are not, in and of themselves, Service Dog tasks. Service Dog laws specifically exclude emotional support resulting from natural behaviors as a task. Service Dog tasks require specific training and cannot be natural behaviors any dog is capable of doing. Help You Get Things Done Lots of people struggle with daily chores and activities, including things like just getting out of bed. Having a dog can provide the boost some people need to get things done. After all, the dog needs to go out, be fed, and get some exercise. Having a dog can be a great help when dealing with some of the more difficult mental illness symptoms. However, helping you get things done is not a Service Dog task, unless the way your dog assists you is the result of specific training that is replicable on cue. Encourage Outings Walking a dog or going outside to play offers a great way to get some exercise and sunlight. For people who struggle with anxiety or who have phobias, getting out and about can be near impossible. Having a dog can make some of those activities easier. However, daily activities all dogs do aren't Service Dog tasks. Require Interaction Many mental illnesses and chronic disorders result in apathy or a desire for less interaction. Living with a dog usually means providing touch and contact, since dogs need that to be healthy, and so do humans! However, simply interacting isn't a Service Dog task, unless it's a replicable behavior that's trained to assist in a concrete way. Snuggle Snuggling is great. Snuggling with a willing canine companion can be quite relaxing and soothing. No matter how much it helps
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
When it comes to Service Dog training, all of the hundreds of available tasks can be boiled down to 7 essential behaviors. One of those behaviors, targeting, is an easy foundation behavior every Service Dog should know. By learning how to teach a Service Dog to target, you'll be able to start task work with a solid base upon which to build.
January 2017 kicks off with the Association of Professional Dog Trainer‘s National Train Your Dog Month. National Train Your Dog Month provides an excellent opportunity to get started on your Service Dog training goals for 2017, so read on to learn more!
It's easy to get overwhelmed at the thought of training a Service Dog. With so many concepts, behaviors, commands, manners, situations and ideals for Service Dogs in Training to master, it can be hard, as a trainer and handler, to even know where to start, let alone to establish which training resources are the most valuable. After polling several successful, well-established Service Dog trainers, we're proud to present this list of the top 10 best Service Dog Training Resources.
“Oh, look, that dog has shoes on!” For many Service and Working Dog handlers, they hear those words at least once an outing. Children in particular are fascinated about dogs in boots, and they’ll often comment for all to hear. There are lots of reasons a Service Dog might wear boots, most of which revolve around the dog’s safety and comfort. Does your Service Dog need boots? Read on to find out!