What’s service dog training?
What kind of tasks can they do, and what is the owner’s involvement in this process?
An animal as a life companion, as a friend, as a presence that does not make us feel alone can be much more for a person with a disability.
It can be his eyes, if he has no vision, but it can also be his hands, or his hearing.
Less well known perhaps than colleagues who support the blind, assistance dogs can actually help people with motor disabilities or deafness, becoming irreplaceable companions capable of restoring autonomy.
Service Dog Training – The Dog for Deaf People
ut how can an animal help the person who cannot hear?
By making their hearing available to them, i.e. by warning their owner when there is an alarm, when the doorbell rings, when the environment warns us in a loud way, therefore inaccessible to the deaf or hard of hearing person.
The dog educated to this type of activity is called a hearing dog.
Check out this post here: Celebrating Diversity: Doggy Dan’s Dog Training Programs Made Accessible for Deaf Dog Owners
Service Dog Training – Dogs for People with Motorial Disabilities
The dog is not only the eyes and ears for those with sensory disabilities, it can in fact help us even when we have problems with our hands or legs
It can open the door, it can bring us objects, turn on the light or help us undress.
Also in this case it can be defined as an assistance dog.
Service Dog Training – How a Dog Becomes a Four-legged assistant?
It’s necessary to prepare the animal and the person who will lead it in this path of learning and reciprocal training.
The process is indeed dual, because it is not only about educating and preparing the dog, but to do so with the active and direct participation of the beneficiary.
The disabled person is required to personally engage in the dog’s education, following the instructions given.
He/she has to understand, also through some meetings in the classroom, his/her four-legged companion, with a consequent strengthening of the bond with the dog who enjoys learning new skills.
Skills Transmitted With Service Dog Training
The dog can learn many different skills, depending on the particular needs expressed by the person, for example:
- open/close doors
- take objects and carry them or put them in a container
- open a hinge
- turn on/off switches
- call for help
- in case of deafness, signal the ringing of a doorbell or an alarm, the crying child, etc..
The service dog training is better with the dog that is already part of the beneficiary’s family.
If the family does not have one, an adoption can help: the instructors can give some indications about it, favouring, if possible, the adoption from the kennel.
The choice to instruct the dog in the family makes the dog training more complex compared to an external training context, where professionals prepare a puppy until it is ready.
Despite its greater complexity, this method is recommended, as it is more respectful of the animal and the people, accompanying their relationship, allowing the dog to grow within a family of which it is an integral part, not a utilitarian tool, but a sentient living being, to be respected in its integrity.
Service Dog Training – Any Kind of Dog Is Suitable
This type of dog training can take place independently of the type of breed and size of the dog.
If necessary, small precautions can be taken to favour the animal: for example, a small dog that is asked to turn on switches positioned at the top can be facilitated from a logistical point of view so that it has the possibility to get there easily.
A dog, on the other hand, will not be considered suitable if, at family level, it is not guaranteed adequate welfare.