With any relationship, bonding provides the foundation upon which everything else rests. A new Service Dog partnership isn't any different. Proper bonding from the very beginning allows teams to move forward with confidence, both for work and training. Keep reading to learn tips and ideas that facilitate relationship building with your canine partner. Note: These bonding tips do not replace the official bonding protocol(s) provided by your Service Dog's organization or program. Always follow the guidelines and procedures required by the organization placing your Service Dog. These tips are meant to supplement or enhance other bonding protocols. In particular, owner trainers, Service Dog candidate evaluators, and others in similar situations might benefit from the ideas presented. Additionally, established Service Dog teams can utilize the bonding tips to help build or rebuild their team's focus and performance. Bond (noun, verb) - (1) the formation of a close relationship; (2) the attaching of one thing to another; (3) to join one thing securely to another; (4) a strong force of attraction holding one thing to another Common Service Dog Bonding Fear: "What If My New Service Dog Doesn't Like Me?!" New Service Dog handlers often worry about whether or not their new Service Dog likes them. Early interactions between dog and human frequently contribute to this fear since, in the beginning, many Service Dogs focus on their trainer and ignore the new handler. Furthermore, a fledgling Service Dog team's first few weeks together usually involves many mishaps, miscommunications, and misadventures. Tackling this fear requires new Service Dog handlers and organization placement specialists to remember something very simple: the newly graduated Service Dog and brand new handler likely do not know each other yet. For evaluators and owner trainers, the same holds true -- all new candidates and Service Dogs in Training (SDiTs) start as strangers. Bonding Requires Building a Relationship Like any relationship, going from "stranger" to "acquaintance" to "friend" to "partner" involves getting to know each other. In the beginning, new Service Dog teams learn each partner's likes and dislikes. They learn about preferred schedules and how to interact with each other. The human half of the team learns how to communicate with their dog. Likewise, the recently partnered Service Dog masters their new handler's nuances in speech, delivery, and body language. Until the two learn to reliably convey information, cues, needs, and desires, they aren't truly a team. In other words, until the new Service Dog and handler know each other,
As the holidays wrap up, it's a great time to reflect on your 2018 and resolve to do better in 2019. Here are ten simple steps that will help you and your Service Dog become a better team. Happy New Year! 2019 Service Dog Goals: Check Your Gear Is your Service Dog gear clean, serviceable and still relevant to your needs? Now is a great time to sit in a warm house and clean gear, spruce up those leather harnesses with some saddle soap, and make sure that that really nice backpack doesn't chafe your partner's underarms. Check the fit of collars, boots, coats, and other working gear. Make sure ID tags are up to date. Since you're probably working on taxes or your budget for the coming year - now's a good time to consider if you'll need to replace or upgrade any gear in the coming year. 2019 Service Dog Goals: Make a Service Dog Binder This is more important than it sounds. Include things like a current vaccination record, microchip information. AKC, breeder, trainer, or even rescue information could be included also. A list of all of the tasks your dog performs for you, and a list of all of the commands and behaviors that your dog has mastered could be included too. Other ideas include a current series of photos that show your dog both dressed and from the front and side, in case you ever need them. There are lots of ideas, these are just a few. 2019 Service Dog Goals: Do a Service Dog Skills Check It's a good idea to evaluate your partner's skill set multiple times per year, but a large scale audit is good at least once per year. This is a good time to see if you need to focus your training anywhere specific, or to simply update your list of what your dog knows. Getting video is a good idea too. 2019 Service Dog Goals: Update Your Service Dog's Task and Behavior List Now is a good time to update their Task/Behavior list. Cell phones make it so easy to get good quality video these days too. It's a really great way to log that your dog can demonstrate a skill when needed, just mak sure that there is sufficient lighting and the behavior is visible with minimal cues and distractions. Storing these files on a USB Drive or even a SD Card makes life a lot
Federal law stipulates that a Service Animal is "any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability" and that a Service Dog teams are allowed to enter areas where the public is normally allowed to go. However, a Service Dog team's civil rights may be occasionally challenged by well-meaning people trying to keep pets out of the establishment. While stressful, these challenges are typically easy to handle. Sometimes, though, a little more work is required.
We can’t control disasters but we can control how we respond to them. Our animals, pets, working and Service dogs are all part of our families and having a plan will make responding easier and less stressful. Most plans often overlook these important points. Therefore, preparing a disaster kit, having safe place to stay, having insurance all are important parts of ensuring your well-being in times of catastrophes. Make sure your pet, working dog or Service Dog are safe whatever the circumstances are. Create an emergency plan. For more detailed information on how to create a disaster plan, please click here. Infographic courtesy of mikesgearreviews.co
Each Service Dog team is different, but there are some behaviors and skills all Service Dogs need to know. Keep reading to learn more. Service Dog Behaviors: Impulse Control Service Dogs spend a lot of time surrounded by very intriguing situations.
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!
All work and no play makes for no fun! Learn about the types of toys available for your Service Dog to enjoy during their down times. Just like humans, working Service Dogs have a need for relaxation and leisure time. Without time to play, they can experience mood shifts and changes in productivity. Thankfully, there are many different types of toys, games, and educational items your Service Dog can enjoy while off the clock!
Retiring a Service Dog is a hard decision, particularly after years of partnership, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s hard to know when the time is right or how to go about it, but here are some points to consider before taking the leap.
While traveling with a Service Dog in the United States is your privilege, navigating airline policies, international laws, TSA regulations, security checkpoints and other commonly-encountered situations can be anything but smooth sailing. Here are some tips, tricks, guidelines and resources to ensure your trip is as stress-free as possible.