Service Dog – Special Dog Training

Step 1

Begin your service dog’s training when he is very young. Basic commands and familiarization with his surroundings can begin as young as eight weeks, and he will be much more at ease in strange settings with early socialization. Place a collar on your pup as soon as you bring him home, and allow him to get used to wearing it and the lead. His collar will become an important part of his training, since it allows you to easily contain him during training sessions.

Step 2

Start with basic obedience commands. Your puppy will need to quickly respond to requests, such as sit, down and stay in order to be an asset to her handler, and the sooner she gets these basics down the smoother your training will go. Place her collar and lead on her for every training session, and be sure to offer plenty of praise and reward for a properly performed command.

Step 3

Dress your puppy in his service vest and allow him to become acclimated to it. The service vest will be made of a heavy, durable material with pockets or handles depending on the owner’s needs, and will identify the puppy as a service dog. The vest can make some dogs nervous, so put it on him for a few minutes at a time and reward him when he remains calm.

Step 4

Teach your dog more advanced commands, such as “hold it.” Place a small, clean object in front of your dog’s nose, such as a wooden dowel. Give your dog the command to take it, and move the object towards the dog’s mouth. You can put a small bit of cheese or peanut butter on it to entice the dog to open her mouth. Praise her as soon as she takes it, and remove it from her mouth. Continue this process, gradually increasing the durations the dog holds the object until she readily takes it.

Step 5

Add in new commands as your dog masters old ones. “Pick it up” is another useful command for those who are not able to grab things on their own. Place your dowel on a flat surface, such as a table, and give your dog the command to pick it up. She should readily put it in her mouth since she is already familiar with the hold it command. Once she is consistently picking up the dowel, move onto other object, such as pencils, controls and clothing, so that she will pick up any object you request.

Step 6

Take your service dog in training out in public with you. She will be in close contact with a number of people on a daily basis as a service dog, so familiarizing her with various people and situations is important. According to the Americans With Disabilities act, a service dog is permitted everywhere, including airplanes without certification, although the dog does need to be well-behaved and well-trained.

Step 7

Enroll your dog in a service dog training course to help round out your training. Service dog training schools can give you tips and pointers on how to train your dog to fit your needs perfectly, and can help you work through problems in your training. Be patient, praise your dog generously and be consistent and you will have a well-trained service dog in no time.


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