Friday, December 26, 2014

What Skills Do You Need to Train your Own Service Dog?

What Skills Do You Need to Train your Own Service Dog?

Dedication and Persistence-Training your own service dogs for public access is an ongoing task. There is a reason why it takes dedicated organizations between 12 mos and 2 years to fully train a service dog and why they are worth between $25,000 and $70,000.  Training occurs every day and you will need to travel away from home to teach your dog to ride different forms of public transit, different places etc. You will need to get out of bed on those days you don't feel well enough to do so to provide your dog with her basic needs as well as do training.

Ability to interact with your dog as an equal partner. There are many things you can do better than your dog and many things your dog can do better than you. Working together, you can do anything!

The ability to reject much of what TV dog trainers tell you. They are reality TV entertainers, not knowledgable trainers or behaviorists. Most have no training in teaching people or dogs. Most train based on out of date information and the way they think dogs and people should interact (which may be quite dysfunctional). Dogs and people are two different species and interact with each other as such. Dogs do not expect us to act like dogs and we do not expect them to behave like humans.

Willingness to learn to read dog body language and interpret it based on the context.

Organizational Skills-to create and follow detailed training plans

Ability to see the big picture of the final desired behaviors you want.

Ability to break these behaviors into their tiniest steps to help your dog succeed in learning them.

Creativity to find different approaches than what others use. Your individual disabilities may be a unique combination that adds challenge to the basic training.

Interest in experimenting with teaching dogs. Every day is a different day. You dog's starting point may vary depending on what happened in the last training session or yesterday.

Ability to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them, to change the training plan as you go.

Patience to answer questions from the public and pro-actively deal with people who interfere with your dog while she is doing her job.

Resourcefulness to find, borrow, make, get donated etc equipment for training. Find other people to help you train. It takes a village to train a solid service dog.

Willingness to approach business owners to ask for written permission to access their business we your dog is still in training. Many states and provinces do not give access to Service Dogs in Training. Only trained service dogs are given access based on the fact that they are considered a medical device for the user.

Research Skills
-to determine the local laws that apply to you. Does your dog need to be certified? Do service dogs in training have the same access rights as trained service dogs?
-to find Facebook and other internet support and training groups to help you.
- to find everything else you will need to help you and your dog succeed

Ability to accept instruction from others while learning how to teach your dog.