Service dogs, hearing dogs and guiding dogs are all but of assistance dogs that are trained to help people with disabilities accomplish their daily tasks. But service dogs have been taught to perform tasks that are more complex than helping people with hearing or sight deficiencies.
These dogs are special dogs trained to do special skills to suit the needs of the person needing the assistance. They can either become seizure response dogs or mobility assistance dogs. But their performance or capabilities depend highly on the training they receive, thus, you cannot expect a dog to perform more than what it is trained to do.
There are two known forms of service dog training, the self-training and the program training.
Self-training is the kind of service training that is conducted by the owners themselves. Training a dog this way is quite harder than utilizing the service of a professional trainer, but it strengthens the bonding between the dog and its owner.
Lots of dogs are capable of doing service works, given proper training. While some dog owners prefer their old dogs to be trained as service dogs, others choose to get service dogs from dog breeders who raise dogs for this purpose.
There are lots of materials and online resources that teach methods for training a dog to become service assistants, but some people who don’t want to experience the hassles of learning and experimenting with the techniques prefer the services of professional organizations who specialize in this type of dog training.
Choosing an organization to do the training makes the dog learn easily because most of these organizations apply effective techniques, however, the training is halted the moment the dogs are sent back to their owners, unless their owners have some knowledge of the service dog training. For dogs that are owner-trained, training is continuous and the dog learns more and more.
Dogs that come from breeders who intend their dogs to become service assistants usually teach basic commands such as sit, come, stay and no, before the dogs are disposed to buyers. It would then be up to the owner to add more skills that he specifically needs the dog to perform, like turning off the lights or opening the door.
Program training is performed on dogs that are especially bred to perform service works. These dogs are usually trained for over a year in order to make them used to special conditions and persons to whom they have been taught to serve.
The administration of program training has many known approaches. The US utilizes prison inmates as one of the trainers for this method of service dog training. This has been proven to have a positive effect both on the dog and the prisoner.
Acquiring a service dog is not at all very easy, as it requires one to undergo a certain application and evaluation process. Once this is accomplished, the applicant will be put on a waiting list while a dog that is suited for his specific service needs is being trained. Some organizations give these dogs away for free while others ask the handler to pay certain fees.
By the time the owner gets the dog, the two will have to work together to adjust to each other, especially with the way the owner issues his orders. This could take weeks, even months to work out. At times, the dog needs to be sent back to its trainers for skills updating.
The service dog training has found its place in the hearts of disabled people; not only do these trained dogs provide invaluable service to those who can’t do specific things on their own, they also help nourish these people emotionally by providing them with genuine friendship, true companionship and devoted service.