Archive for March, 2010

Service Dog Training For Beginners

March 2, 2010

A service dog is trained to help a person with a disability function more fully. Under U.S. law, there is no certification or specific training required in order for a dog to be considered a service dog. The service dog just needs to assist the person in a major way, such as guiding a blind person, alerting a deaf person to a ringing bell, retrieving a dropped object for someone in a wheelchair, or warning someone that she is about to have a seizure.

Not all dogs have the required temperament and willingness to learn in order to be service dogs. Many service dog training organizations use only certain breeds, such as yellow labs or golden retrievers. These organizations often have breeding programs where they select for temperament and trainability. If a dog ends up not being suitable–maybe the dog pays too much attention to nearby birds–he can be adopted out.

When someone wants to train their own service dog or to train a service dog for someone else, they may be starting out with a grown dog or with a puppy. With a grown dog it may be easier to see if it will be able to learn the tasks needed to help the person with a disability. It may take a while to see if a puppy will have what it takes to be a service dog.

Find a dog trainer with experience in training service dogs and get an evaluation. It may be difficult to raise a puppy for a few months then have to re-home it or keep it as a pet. But, since a typical service dog needs a lot of training and will provide service for about eight years, it is good to choose wisely.

All service dogs need to start out their training by being well socialized and learning basic good manners. Teach your dog to sit, stay, down, and come on command. There are many dog training methods that can be used, so that is an individual choice. You could also consult with a professional trainer about what method of training would be best for you and your future service dog.

After the basic training, the service dog is then trained to do the specific tasks that will assist the person with a disability. This may be turning on a light switch or shutting a door. Your can train your service dog to help you perform tasks that will improve the quality of you life. And service dogs are loyal and loving companions, too.

Click here for more information about Service Dog Training.

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