Training Service Dogs - What To Expect

Posted on: 7 March 2017

One of the greatest blessings a disabled person can receive is a service dog to assist them with their needs. However, service dogs are extremely pricey to adopt because of the extensive training and registration that needs to be met. However, you can turn your own dog into a service dog and then apply for the certification process if you have the time and the patience to do so.

Service Dogs Have Different Talents

One of the benefits of training your own service dog is you can pinpoint your needs and specifically train the dog to handle them. Service dogs have different talents, as some breeds are better at detecting smells and other breeds can hear much better. If you need a service dog to help with anxiety and mood disorders, you will want a dog that is generally calm and patient. The biggest benefit of training the dog yourself is the bond that will grow between you and your pet.

Seek Assistance

Even if you feel like you are an expert at dog training, you will want to seek the assistance of a professional service dog trainer. There are many programs you can enroll your pet in that will use you as the trainer. The service programs are not free, but many will offer scholarship programs if you are financially strapped. When you have a professional help you, you will be teaching the dog vital commands and also learning the full extent that your pet can be beneficial to you.  

Be Patient

Fully training a service dog can take up to two years. You need to make sure the dog is trained to follow commands, and then he or she will need to be able to pick up and respond to your disability cues. Your dog will need to be able to work well in the private of your home, but also out in public where there are many distractions. Some of the tasks include learning hand cues and picking up items without being told, but some are more complicated, like noticing the start of a panic attack and helping you out. The basic obedience skills your dog should know, including stay, wait, sit, come, and leave, are often learned and mastered within six to nine months. You will want to make sure your dog has these skills mastered prior to moving to the next step.

It is important when preparing to train your dog for service that you understand the time that goes into it. You will want to also think about the age of your dog and behavior to make sure they are fully suited for the job. When you know what to expect and are prepared, then the bond that forms between you and your partner will help you battle through any obstacle your disability presents.

Talk to training services in your area for more information