Challenges for service dogs in training

More and more handlers are doing most of the basic training with their service dogs. In-part because the high cost of professional training. Training a service dog is not a simple task and takes hundreds of dedicated hours. If you plan to train a service dog, you should start with the behavior aspects of the training. You can start at home, first working on the basics of any dog training, starting with housebreaking. Then move onto some regular commands and once these commands are fully etched in the dog’s memory, move onto interfacing with new people.

A working service dog should have 100% of his focus on you, his handler and not be distracted by others he meets. Since a "in training" dog does not have rights to public places like restaurants and grocery stores, how do you train him to perform in public places? First, look for businesses that allow dogs such as home improvement stores. Take your dog there on a leash and harness. It is a good idea to have a harness that indicates your dog is in training and not to pet or distract. You still will come in contact with a lot of people who pay no attention to the harness and start to pet your dog, often without even asking. Be polite, but let them know your dog is in training and you don't want him distracted. Also watch out for young children who can run up and want to pet your dog. Explain to them he is in training and cannot be petted.

When you can walk your dog through every isle in the home improvement store with him staying by your side, not pulling on his leash and keeping him focus on you, then he is ready for the next stage of his training. In my case, its Diabetic Alert Training, and even though I trained two different service dogs for own use, I have always had to have help with the medical training. There is a lot of it I do at home, but I still have that professional medical trainer to make sure we are taking all the right steps.Rremember, this specialized training is tax deductible. If possible, attend the training with your dog. My trainer is in a different city, so I have to stay in a hotel, but that is also tax deductible.

Once your dog is responding 100% of the time to the task or tasks he needs to perform for you, only then, can you consider him no longer in training, but a fully trained dog who has all the rights to public access.

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