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.
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.
For many Service Dog teams, formal retrieving is one of the most important tasks. Unfortunately, it's also one of the hardest Service Dog tasks to teach. In the professional dog training world, a formal retrieve consists of picking up or taking, holding and carrying any object pointed out to the dog until he's told to release it to the trainer's hand. While it takes patience, time and a good sense of humor, you, too, can learn to teach your Service Dog to retrieve.