Service dogs are incredibly important, but not just anyone can train a service dog. There are specific techniques and requirements needed to train these dogs properly. In this blog post, we will be discussing what it takes to train a service dog and the steps needed to become a professional trainer.
Picking the Right Dog – Not all dogs are cut out to be service dogs. It is crucial to pick the right breed with the correct temperament. Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are the most popular breeds for service dogs because of their friendly nature and willingness to work. It is also important to pick a dog with the right size, as their size will dictate what tasks they can complete.
Teaching Basic Commands – Before a service dog can complete complex tasks, they first need to learn basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “heel.” These commands are essential for a service dog because they need to listen to their handler in any situation. Start teaching the commands in distraction-free environments before slowly increasing distractions to ensure that the dog can follow the commands.
Task Training – Once the dog has mastered basic commands, it’s time to start task training. Task training involves teaching the dog specific actions that their handler will need during their day-to-day life. For example, a service dog for someone with PTSD may be taught to nudge their handler when they notice signs of anxiety or wake them up from nightmares. Task training is specific to the individual’s needs.
Public Access Training – Public Access Training involves teaching the dog how to behave in public places such as stores, restaurants and on public transportation. Service dogs need to remain calm, obedient and not cause a distraction. This step also involves ensuring that the dog is well behaved and socializes with other people and animals.
Training a service dog is not an easy task. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and patience. If you are interested in becoming a service dog trainer, reach out today about our courses. Looking for a Service Dog Trainer? Reach out today! It is an investment in time, but the payoff is life-changing.