Congratulations!!! You are in right place for Service Dog Training!!! Dogs are perfect for companionship, either as a pet and a faithful friend or a service animal. While, A service animal is an animal that is professionally trained to help humans in performing their daily activities. Such dogs are trained by qualified and expert dog trainer that make the animals learn to perform simple tasks for the impaired humans and help them complete their tasks, when there is no one to help out. Sometimes, people get confused and may not be able to sort out things to have a service dog with them. But no doubt it’s a blessing to be a service dog owner or even more rewarding if you are a service dog trainer.
If you are also looking to become a service dog trainer and need to know what it actually is, here is a comprehensive explanation about the kinds of dogs and the training procedure, that is required to train an assistance dog. Also, we’ll be explaining the whole process, if you want to be a service dog trainer and what steps and knowledge is necessary for you to acquire as a service dog owner or trainer. Let’s start with some of the basic concepts about Service Dog Training (Assistance Dog Training) that will help you understand things even better.
What Is A Service dog / Assistance Dog
A service dog or an assistance dog, as its name indicates; is a healthy grown up dog that has been trained by an expert dog trainer or its owner to perform and assist in various tasks to help the physically impaired people, and live independently.
Though, the term: service or assistance dog cover a broad field, under which there come five main categories
- Guide dogs for blinds
- Signal dogs for deaf people
- Guide dogs for mobility issues
- Medical response or alert dogs
- Emotional support dogs
All these kinds of service dogs are well trained to provide reliable services to their owners, depending upon the kind of service they need. Guide dogs help blind people to walk safely, climb stairs, walk outside and cross the roads safely. While signal dogs help deaf people to get alerts for the important voices, sounds or audio signals. Mobility assistance dogs help people to pull, push or carry certain things or even maintain the body balance when they have got an impaired physical function like impaired walk or motor functions. Medical alert dogs have the ability to help people with severe health issues and help in getting medication or support quickly. In addition to this if a person has an impaired emotional response or weak nerves and reaction, service dogs also have the ability to calm the affected person, provide support through tactile stimulation and keep the owner away from hazardous situations.
The Benefits Of Service Dog
As an owner of a service dog as well as a service dog trainer, there are a lot of benefits that you can enjoy and it will benefit you in multiple ways that you can’t even imagine. Here are both beneficial aspects explained to give you a clearer understanding:
As A Service Dog Owner
No doubt, there are a lot of benefits when you possess a service dog. We can say that a service dog is the one that has been trained to provide helpful and beneficial support to physically and emotionally impaired people, who can’t live a normal life when alone. So here is a brief explanation of certain benefits you can obtain as an owner of a service dog:
In the form of a reliable and consistent Physical support
The first and foremost benefit of having a service dog is that, you will always have a physical support assistant along with you. And in case you have severe physical disabilities like blindness or impaired hearing, it will serve you to perform various tasks like picking up the phone, bringing your accessories within your reach, etc.
Continuous and timely Emotional support
A service dog always has a training to provide emotional support for the owner. It will calm you down, make you alert from emotionally disturbing situations and provide secure support whenever you need.
Mobility support where needed
A service dog will always be there to give you mobility support, if you have got any kind of physical impairment, like injured leg or disabled arm.
You’ll never be alone
All in all, you will have a true friend with you and you will never feel disabled or lonely.
As A Service Dog Trainer
If you are thinking that a service dog is only a dog that you can hire or purchase from a society or organization and only then you can get the core benefits of having a service dog with you, then you are merely looking at one side of this amazing process.
There are more exciting benefits of becoming a service dog trainer as compared to just availing the services. Here is a brief explanation of what you will achieve while training your service dog:
An understanding of dog’s needs
If you have planned to be a trainer, you can surely get a deeper insight into the dog’s physical and psychological needs. This will help you train the dog even better. When you spend more time with the dog you will understand it, well enough.
Complete knowledge of the dog’s abilities and limitations
As a service dog trainer when you train your dog, you will be able to know the abilities as well as the limitations of the dog in a clear way and this will help you devise the best training techniques it needs, to become perfect in learning particular skills.
Learning about various ways to train dogs from different breeds
If you are a professional trainer and works to train service dogs on a regular basis, you will be to learn about different breeds and the best training tactics that can be used to train specific breeds.
Sense of achievement and satisfaction
When you train dogs to help others, you will definitely feel satisfied and happy with a sense of achievement and positive energy, because you are enabling others to lead a better life.
International Standards and Laws For Service Dog
For a service dog to be accepted in public places, air transportation and a continuous presence along the disable person, there are certain laws and rules that have been devised to ensure the safety of the public, the service dog itself as well as the owner.
According to the ADI standards the service dog and the service dog’s trainer should fulfill the following basic guidelines and rules to make sure you would not go against federal laws for the service dogs.
For a service dog, it should fulfill the following standards
- The dog that is adopted as a service dog should have a professional training by a professional trainer and has completed 2 hours of training per day, for 6-12 months at least. (ADI)
- The dog should respond to the commands for about 90 percent of the time, it has been called.
- The dog should be well behaved and remain calm in public and is not protective in its behavior.
- There is a clear indication of the dog via a harness, cape or backpacking equipment and an ID to confirm the dog as a well trained service dog.
- Must have the ability to mitigate at least three of the learned tasks for the disabled person.
Standards For The Service Dog Trainer
To become a service dog trainer you will have to fulfill the minimum ADI standards for service dog trainer and also follow the federal service dog trainer guidelines. Some general rules that you will need to know are discussed below:
- A trainer should have sufficient knowledge about latest learning techniques and equipment that can be helpful in training service dogs.
- You should be able to create and work with effective training environment and develop unique tasks to train the dogs.
- You should know about the basics of learning theory, the insight into the canine behavior and how to take care of them.
- You should be aware of federal and state laws, rules and regulations, for the service dogs and for becoming a service dog trainer.
- Also the best practices to train the canine to behave well and perform tasks in a controlled manner.
- A trainer is required to complete, a full training program that should span around 1-2 years, depending upon the nature of work involved.
Important Things You Should Know About Service Dog Training
To become a service dog trainer a person is required to complete proper training programs. Various training programs have been devised on the basis of the standards, that are carefully structured on the basis of international and federal laws and ADI standards and rules.
here is a brief introduction for a person who wants to become a service dog trainer and also the required training parameters for your dog to become a service dog.
Training To Become A Service Dog Trainer
To work as a professional service dog trainer, you will need to fulfill certain standards and requirements and training procedures.
Though there is no degree level education required in this field, still you will have to make sure that you have completed the minimum required training requirements for any particular training program. The nature and the length of the training programs vary on the basis of its goals and purposes. Here are some basic requirements and training courses offered by internationally recognized service dog training schools.
At first you will be required to learn about the dog’s behavior, learning theories, training skills and develop a calm and patient behavior to deal with the dogs in a better way. In addition to it you will be required to gain a comprehensive insight into the rules, laws and required criteria for becoming a professional trainer and essentials of a service dog to be legally accepted as a service dog.
Though training programs can be accessed locally as well as internationally depending upon your resources, time and training needs. These programs are offered by the expert trainers who have their own apprenticeships and training programs or you can access the international standard training courses as follows:
- The certification and service dog training course by Bergin’s university
- Association of professional service dog trainers
- Certification council of professional dog trainers or CCPDT
- Assistance dogs international organization training program ADI
- National association of obedience dog instructors NAODI
Experience and education requirements
The minimum experience to become an exert service dog trainer is to complete minimum of 2 years of service dog training while working with dogs, actually and working with an apprentice for 3 years or more.
Though you may also find short term course but they are not certifications based programs and will only cover short term theory based courses to provide you a base for the complete training program.
In addition to the regular training and completing about 300 hours as a service dog trainer, you can also obtain an advanced certificate of CPDT-KA which is offered by the Certification council of professional dog trainers on the basis of an exam based on 25 questions given to the trainer.
How To Train Your Dog To Become A Service Dog
There are many ways to access the service dog benefits. You can either get a service dog from a professional trainer or let them train it for you, or you can also train your own dog as your service dog. There is a wide range of practices and steps that you will need to follow, but basically your training scenario will revolve around three basic skills.
- Manners, public as well as within residential area
- Obedience and public proofing
- Task training and skill development
At first you will need to make your dog learn manner. This will include remaining calm, avoid protective behavior, avoid excessive or unnecessary noise or barking and staying calm and within a controlled area without any issues. In addition to this, it will have to learn best eating behavior and toilet manners as well.
Obedience and public proofing involve, training your dog to obey your commands as much as possible and listening to your voice without getting distracted. This is the most difficult part of the training. As you will have to train it to respond to your voice quickly without considering the noises that are around it. Also, behaving calm and quiet in public places without showing any aggressive behavior or reactions.
The third step, will include the training of your dog to help you complete or assist in performing and mitigate at least 3 of the tasks that you are unable to do on your own.
After you have worked well with your dog, you need to know and gain enough knowledge, regarding all the legal requirements that you will need to declare your dog as a well trained service dog which is safe to be carried along you in public places. You will need to ensure that you can take care of its health properly has regular training activities designed for it and has made it to remain safe for people around.
Service Dog Registration | Service Dog Certification
For this you can take some certification and tests to allow you to register your dog as a service dog.
You can consider taking the following steps
ADI or assistance dog international and the International association of assistance dog partners( IAADP) offer Public Access Test or PAT tests for the service dogs and service dog owners to determine if the dog is safe to be carried as a service dog in public places and in the residential area.
Also, you can also take your service dog for CGC or Canine Good Citizen test to ease your way and declare your dog as a well trained service dog.
After completing these procedures or even if you have enrolled your dog for a 120 hour training program, you can apply for the legal registration of your dog as a service dog. You will require to legally register the dog to get all the legal protection offered by ADA (Americans with disabilities act),the FHAA (Fair housing amendments act) and ACAA(Air carrier access act).
Identifying your dog as a service dog by using service dog Vests
Though ADA does not offer any legal certifications or identification procedures for a service dog to be identified for its purpose and it will not be wrong if you don’t have it. But in order to make sure that you have a full coverage and safety for you and your dog to carry it along with you, where ever you go.
Also, having a legitimate identification and certification also ensures, public safety. That is the reason you need to full basic requirements to make sure your dog fulfills all requirements and standards as desired by the ADA and other such organizations. Only in that way your dog will be allowed to be carried along in public vehicles and also via airplanes, where pets are not allowed otherwise.
So, if you have got your dog certified via primary certification programs and have fulfilled basic or minimum requirements, you are able to label your dog as a service dog.
To help you identify your dog in public places and get coverage by FHAA and ACAA, you can put a service dog vest, service dog leash or even an ID card, showing all details about the dog, it training, and purpose or services.
If you are going to arrange a service dog vest for the first time, then you will have to make sure, you are not faking your dog as a service dog and have properly trained it as a service dog. Also, if you have got it trained by an organization or a training school, you can get customized service dog vest from there.
Otherwise, if you need a new one for any reason, and you are not planning to fake the dog, you can avail the vest from a wide range of pet supplies and accessories shops, you can find it through online stores easily or ask for local pet suppliers to get you one.
Where And How To Register A Service Dog
For a service dog that you are going to keep along with you, and is well trained already, you will need to get it registered so that you don’t violate any law in your state. In Canada, UK and USA, there are separate rules and regulations for keeping service dogs and you should have a full and comprehensive grasp over it.
Though there is no hard and fast certification and licensing programs offered, but still most of assistance dog training organizations offer certain tests and certification programs based on their own rules in accordance with federal and state laws.
You can contact them to take the tests and apply for the legal registration process. The most trusted and well known organizations to which you can contact for help are:
- Canadian registry of therapy animal and service animals
- Canadian service dog foundation
- United states dog registry
- National service animal registry, USA
Which Dog Breeds Proved To Be The Best Service Dogs?
If you are in search of finding a perfect service dog or a dog you can train as a service dog, you will be careful in doing so. Because, service dogs as explained earlier are meant to perform various tasks or mitigate the tasks that the owner is not able to do or need help for doing the work. So we can say selecting a perfect dog breed as our perfect service dog will depend upon the nature of tasks we need help in or the nature of the skills you want to incorporate or enhance in the articular dog. All dog breeds are not same and can be suitable for particular tasks.
You should select a dog breed on the basis of following factors
- The nature of skills and task completion ability you need
- The physique or size of the dog, small or medium sized dogs are easy to carry in public transports while huge ones are hard to handle
- Natural capabilities and skills a breed has as some dogs are stronger and can help in heavy duty work while others are not
- The breed restriction in your area. Select a breed that is legally allowed in your area.
Generally, medium sized dogs are preferred by most of the dog owners as they can easily be carried anywhere in public places and public transport. The most common breeds that are used as service dogs are:
Make it sure to select the breed that actually has the potential to perform the required tasks.
So, now you must have got a plenty of knowledge regarding the service dogs and the service dog trainers and the people who need a service dog. This is totally a miraculous process when you start training a dog as a service dog or become a service dog owner or even start your journey as a trainer for a service dog. Because throughout this process your enabling and training a dog that will become a lifelong support for you or someone who needs help. You will be able to explore and learn the animal behavior and make it able to live along human in a safe and calm way and benefit the humanity to live a better life.
If you ever have thought about or need a service dog or want to enjoy this joyous journey with your own dog and enable you, your dog and other persons with certain disabilities, come and join hand to become an expert service dog trainer or find an expert service dog for your assistance needs today!
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