How to Train a Service Dog

By: Contributors

Although service dogs have traditionally been trained to help blind and hearing impaired individuals, today they help emotionally disabled persons as well [source: Dreazen]. Therefore, training service dogs has become a sought after field, helping those who need it the most [source: BLS]. If you want to rescue dogs from the pound and allow them to care for disabled individuals, read the tips listed below and learn about how to train a service dog.

  • DogAcademyTraining There are academies and schools that will teach you how to train service dogs to assist disabled people [source: BLS]. Along with teaching the dogs to obey vocal and hand commands, you will have to teach the dogs to stop at crosswalks and bring medical help, if necessary.
  • Positive Reinforcement Training You teach a service dog to obey your commands the same way you would train a household dog. An excellent way to teach service dogs what you expect of them is to reward them with positive reinforcement. This can be in the form of kind words, affectionate petting and/or their favorite treats [source: Paws of Freedom].
  • Testing Once a dog has completed the training to become a service dog and it responds to at least 90% of the commands made of it, a dog is ready to be assessed. Service dogs must meet the requirements outlined by the ADI Minimum Standards of Assistance Dogs in Public. The test requires that the dog carry out three tasks that would be asked of it by the disabled individual in front of a panel of reviewers [source: ADI].

Training service dogs is both a righteous and lucrative profession. Providing service dogs to those in need of them helps disabled individuals enjoy increased safety in potentially hazardous situations, increased socialization and the freedom to live a fuller life [source: NSD].