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A service dog is trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the person that has a disability including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. The work performed by the service animal must be directly related to that person’s disability.
What kinds of dogs make a good service dog
There are no rules as to the breed of the dog. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Typically Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers. However, other breeds like Standard Poodles, Papillons, Doberman Pinschers, Australian Shepherds, Boxers, Australian Cattle Dogs and Border Collies are gaining in popularity as service dogs. Each breed has its own unique characteristics that make a dog more likely to meet the needs of a handler with a particular disability.
A balanced disposition and temperament is most important. Dogs that are extremely attentive and react to the correct triggers make good service animals.
What kind of training will my service animal receive?
It all depends on the disability. When we train your dog to be a service animal we first need to understand what it is you need your dog to do in addition to the basic service animal skills. Some disabilities are visible (such as a seeing guide dog) and some are invisible (alerting to an impending epileptic seizure or panic attack). In either case we recognize your service dog has a very important task and we make sure they know what it is so that they improve the quality of your life.
Service Dog Training – The Difference Between Work and Tasks
The American with Disabilities Act clearly state:
“Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability…”
Below is an example of the difference between work and tasks. This is a very short list intended to show a quick example of the difference between the two and not meant to be an all inclusive list.
|Behavior that is taught to perform on cue in a manner you can clearly observe. The tasks are discrete and have a start and an end.||Work is something that a dog does that is not necessarily visible and tends to be performed on an ongoing basis.|
Areas of training
There are three basic areas of training for a dog to become a service animal.
2. Obedience wth proofing (aka public access skills)
3. Task training (this typically takes the longest such as the training involved for a seeing eye guide dog)
How long does it take for my dog to become a service animal?
It all depends on the type of work and tasks that your dog requires to perform. Training programs typically range between four to twenty four months. A seeing eye guide dog would be on the longer end of that spectrum.
After we meet with you and your dog, we’ll devise a program tailored to your needs.