Service dogs are more than just companions. They are specifically trained to accomplish specific tasks, especially if you live with a disability. If you think your dog can be a service dog, it is never too late to start training it.
Note that some dogs may not be great service dogs. Considering their attention span, temperament, and limitations would be best. A professional trainer will let you know if your dog is a good fit.
Here are a few tips to start training your dog.
Start With the Basics
Do not try to teach your dog everything too soon. The foundational skills are easy to master and set the pace for future training.
Service dogs primarily need to learn about socializing with humans and other animals.
They must also learn to be comfortable in different environments. Socialization should start when your dog is three to 20 weeks old. However, older dogs can also be trained. Ensure that the dog is accustomed to different people, environments, and sounds. They should also learn to be alone to prevent separation anxiety.
All your interactions with the puppy must be soft and friendly during training. Avoid aggressiveness and confrontation.
Potty training is essential as well. Your dog should be able to go on command. They should have a safe space to relieve themselves without creating a mess.
Leash training will ensure that your dog understands its limits. It will help it focus on you when necessary and minimize distractions.
The Role of Eye Contact
You must train your dog on eye contact to improve their ability to focus. Their ability to focus on you determines their attentiveness and ability to become good service dogs.
Consider enlisting the help of a friend when trying to determine how easy it is to distract your dog. Test them with treats and reward them if they stay attentive for a long time.
Specialize on Specific Skills
What are the main things you expect from your service dog? Think about them and offer specialized training.
In addition to the basic commands like stay, sit, and go, they should be ready for their specific job.
A psychiatric service dog (PSD) is meant to alert you if they detect any signs of psychiatric distress or panic attack. You can train them by replicating anxiety and panic attacks. They will naturally want to come over and help. Give them treats for an excellent job and modify their actions as necessary.
Hearing service dogs should learn to respond to fire alarms, ringing phones, and doorbells. Let them sit before you and perform specific actions after the sound trigger. Sound clicker training can be beneficial.
If you are training a mobility assistance service dog, you need to focus on command words. Reward them when they help you fetch an item. Start by saying the object’s name and pointing to it. They should learn in a short time.
Sitting Still for Long Hours
A good service dog should be able to sit quietly for a long time. The skill is vital for all service dogs and is the foundation of good service. Start by tether-training your dog. Use a 14-24″ steel cable with a snap on birth ends.
One end will snap to your dog’s collar, and the other can be wrapped around an immovable object. They have enough space to move around, but they cannot get too far away from you. The tether reduces the chances of your dog moving away or getting into an accident. They have no choice but to stay still.
If you need a professional service dog, you can start training yours immediately. It is never too late to start. There are plenty of professional trainers to take you through the training process. They will train your dog to perform a specific skill and handle your disability.
As part of their training, your dog will learn public access skills like settling quietly, house training, and maintaining control under different environments. Find the best trainer for your specific needs.
Last Updated on August 19, 2022 by Shepped Team