At Your Service! Teaching Service Dog Behaviors
The road to becoming a service dog is arduous. Training starts at 8 weeks and continues for at least 18 months—even after the dog is matched with a partner. The expectations for a service dog are high; a strong work ethic, reliable and fluent behaviors, exceptional health, and a gentle but persistent personality are required. Dogs in training have at least three homes throughout their career: the puppy raiser, the service dog agency, and, finally, their permanent home with their partner. What's the common thread in all of this? The clicker! Learn what it takes and what it's like to be a service dog raised in a clicker trained environment. This Session shows you how a service dog organization clicker trains everyone (from volunteer dog walkers to puppy raisers to recipients) and every service dog (from wheelchair assistance to diabetic alert to balance assistance). This Session discusses the service dog training process from acquisition of puppies, through their training in the puppy raiser's home, the formal training process (including goals, milestones, etc. for each dog), the matching of dog to client, and the transfer camp where the disabled person learns how to work with his or her canine helper. Examples and video demonstrations are included.