MARCH 17, 2023 – If you have a dog, you understand that it is your responsibility to take care of it. You have integrated it into your family, you play, bathe, feed, and walk it, and you make sure that it is healthy at all times.
However, did you know that you can train your dogs and give them responsibility for certain things in your life? These dogs are called service dogs. If, for instance, you have PTSD, cannot hear well, are blind, or have psychological issues, you can train your dog to take care of you.
But how can you do that? Let us have a look at some tips and tricks.
1. Evaluate Your Dog
It will not take you a day or two to successfully train your dog to be a service dog. This is going to cost you a lot of time and resources. You, therefore, need to first evaluate your dog to determine whether it can manage being a service dog or not.
Did you know that service dogs are not supposed to be less than six months old? How old is yours? How attentive is your dog? You need to ensure that your dog can do everything you want it to do without being distracted easily.
You also need to check the temperament of your dog. The best service dogs are not only calm but also collected. Even though it should not ignore other dogs, it should be calm and avoid being aggressive. If your dog passes all these tests, then you can proceed.
2. Start With The Basics
As discussed above, you can train your dog to help you with certain things. This tells you that a service dog can specialize in something. However, there are some basics that every service dog has to go through during training.
For instance, every service dog should find it easy to socialize with other animals as well as humans. Whether on a leash or not, they should behave well. They should also be free and confident, no matter where they are taken.
Some of the basic skills you need to look at include potty training, socialization, and leash training. You should also train it to be obedient. If your dog masters these three skills well, then you can be assured of getting one of the best service dogs from it.
3. Reward Your Dog
Training your dog to be a service dog is not going to be easy. It will take you a lot of time. You will even find yourself repeating the same things every time. Do not give up though, you need to remain focused to get where you want to be.
During training, you will realize that your dog is starting to understand some things fast. To ensure that it does not forget, you can reward it. But what can you use as a reward? There are different things you can use, such as food supplements.
For instance, you can get essential probiotics by Honest Paws and use them as rewards. Apart from making your dog feel appreciated, these food supplements are healthy and can help boost the immune and digestive systems of your dog.
4. Check Your Dog’s Eye Contact
You need to understand that the attentiveness of your dog is very crucial if you want it to be a successful service dog. This is because your dog is supposed to pay attention to you, no matter what is going on where you are.
You, therefore, need to check the eye contact of your dog. This might be a little bit difficult for you, especially if your dog is young. You can enlist the services of a professional. If this is out of your budget, you don’t have to worry.
Get someone to test how attentive your dog is in your presence. If it is attentive, check the amount of time it stays focused on you in the presence of someone else. If you are satisfied, remember to reward it. You never know, you might get your dog earning VIP status, such as Sarge, a 14-year-old army service dog.
5. Specialize on Your Needs
If you manage to do everything discussed above, your dog is on the right path to being a competent service dog. However, you understand your needs, and you need to ensure that your dog knows what you want it to be responsible for.
You can, therefore, start training your dog on handling specific tasks. For instance, if you have a hearing problem, you should train your dog to respond to things such as fire alarms, doorbells, and ringing phones, among others.
Service dogs play an essential role in the lives of their owners. Since getting an already-trained service dog might be expensive, you can follow the tips discussed above to train your own dog to become a service dog.