Do you have a keen knowledge of dog behaviors and obedience training? Are you deeply passionate about dogs and the development of their potential for service? Would you like to make a difference in the life of persons with disabilities and help them live a fuller life? If so, you should definitely venture into training service dogs.
Training service dogs is deemed to be a very lucrative and noble job because of its remarkably great impact in the life of the blind, mentally disabled and hearing-impaired persons. Through the years, service dogs proved to be quite instrumental in warding off potential threats to the safety of the disabled, guiding through hazardous situations, assisting with activities that the disabled cannot perform independently, and even seeking help in case of emergencies. With all the benefits that may be derived from training service dogs, it is easy to see why there is a great demand for it in the market.
Contrary to popular view, training service dogs does not necessitate having topnotch professional training or a Cesar Millan canine connection. Great service dog trainers are not born – they are made. Thus, whether you are a novice dog-owner or the “parent” to a brood of energetic, loyal canines, you can still train service dogs like a pro. If you are not quite sure where to start, here are the top three tips in training service dogs.
First off, there are some basic things that you should tick off your list. Make sure that your dog is ideal for service dog training or is at least willing and able to learn. Being a service dog would require a great deal of sharpness, obedience, and agility from your pooch – thus, you should make sure that your dog is up for it. Some of the ideal breeds for service dog training include the golden retriever, German shepherds, boxers, and Labradors, among others. You should also secure the necessary adaptive equipments such as harnesses, collars, or service dog identification tags as may be required by the disabled person.
One of the key elements in training service dogs is adequate socialization. This will help the dog get oriented with other people, dogs, and environmental elements that the dog might encounter later on. While you are instilling in the dog a keen sense of awareness to the environment, there is a concurrent task of training the dog to avoid distractions and focus principally on the person with disabilities. Socialization provides an avenue in training service dogs to be well-behaved and to be less aggressive. In connection to this, some trainers would suggest neutering the service dog to lessen his tendency of going after female dogs and straying away.
When you are training service dogs, employing positive reinforcement will definitely get you a long way. Training can prove to be an arduous, challenging process as you try to inculcate obedience in the service dog. Some of the activities taught in training include getting objects that the disabled cannot get himself, guiding the blind through crowds and places, and getting assistance in case of emergencies, among others. When the dog is able to successfully execute these commands, you should give the dog a reward such as a doggie treat or an approving pat in the head to reinforce the behavior and encourage its repetition.