Posts Tagged ‘service dog training’

Training Your Service Dog

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

For whatever the reason, we have recently been contacted by three separate parents who wanted to train a dog to do service work for their children.  Two of these were girls under the age of 12 who were deaf.  One was a little boy in a wheelchair.  This in and of itself was not a problem and the discussion ranged from what type of dog to purchase, to when to train, and how much the training would cost.  No problems there! 

What was different about these most recent conversations was that all three of these parents wanted the dogs to be protection trained in the case that someone tried to abduct their children.  On the face of this most parents understand the concern.  For a dog trainer this should be a red flag.  Why?

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First of all a service dog by virtue of it's job should be a very social animal.  After all this dog is going to have to go to all sorts of places with the disabled person and be expected to function as a responsible animal and member of society.  The locations that the dog will be expected to function in are many:  Planes, trains, buses, schools, movie theaters, hotels, shopping centers, and hospitals are among the more common places the dog will have to learn to adapt to.  All of the dogs training is centered around social environments and functioning in the care and attendance of the person in it's charge.

So why can't this same dog be charged with the protection of the disabled person if necessary?  To understand this you need to understand the training of a protection dog.  The most basic training of a protection dog past it's foundational obedience training is learning not to trust strangers. 

This in no way means that the protection dog is going to aggress on all strangers it meets.  It does mean that the dog is always looking for that false move.  The move that appears to be aggressive towards it's protectee.  The problem with this for a service dog should be obvious.