If your dog is untrained or ill-mannered, it does not matter how wonderful you think they are!
I have always loved working with, and training animals. I was raised on a dairy farm. I spent most of my time with animals of one kind or another, including, cows, horses, goats, chickens, cats, and dogs.
I later completed a Veterinary Technician program, with an Associate in Science Degree, and a University Dog Trainer Certification program. Several years ago I had the opportunity to start training service dogs. My first service dog trainee was a chihuahua mix. A little bit of pocket sized shivers, love and kisses, Timmy would do flips to please you. I can't emphasize enough how important effective socialization is. It took a lot of convincing, that the world was not going to eat him. Timmy proved the studies correct on trainability, or the lack thereof. What takes poodles five to ten repetitions to learn, took him fifty. But learn he did. Not only did he provide emotional support, and performs tasks that definitely went against his nature. He would gladly show off his bag of tricks for you. Timmy mentored the other pups and showed them what it takes to earn a cookie or two. Timmy has gone on to work as a seizure alert dog.
My focus is now on assisting people with disabilities. We breed top quality AKC registered Standard Poodles specially bred for service work and an online training program. With our distance learning program we help coach the handler through the process of training their own service dog to assist with their specific needs as well as meet the Federal ADA, and state law.
We chose standard poodles for our breeding program. They have the size and skill to perform most physical tasks, the intelligence to learn quickly, and the temperament to want to. They do not shed, and are one of the least allergenic dogs in the world. Bred for hunting, they are great retrievers. Waiting patiently until they are needed, then moving out with a simple point of the finger. Beautiful to look at, great to snuggle with, and just plain fun.
Training begins the day you pick up your puppy. Positive reinforcement should always be the method used for all forms of dog training.
Potty training of course is one of the first challenges you will face. It is your job to protect your pup from making mistakes in this area. Watching them constantly, giving them ample opportunity to relieve themselves outside, and rewarding their efforts, will pay off quickly.
Socialization is critical whether you intend on using your dog for Service, Therapy, emotional support, or a family pet. Start early! Seven to sixteen weeks of age is the prime time for social disability training.
Disability Training may begin immediately, or be put off until your pup has gone through several months of training. Many medical or psychological alert tasks can be taught before a dog is physically mature enough to perform more physically challenging jobs. When raised with the handler, you can take advantage of instinctive responses to your condition.
The next step is Obedience Training. Even if you plan on training your puppy yourself. I recommend a group class with an experienced trainer as early as possible.
Your pup needs to be comfortable in public, and be able to walk quietly beside you, heel, sit, lay down... Once you have the basics down, you can start Social Service Training.
Now we can get back to Disability Specific Training. Even if you started training for some of these behaviors early, it is time to start putting the pieces together.
Advanced Obedience Training will give you longer arms. Your dog will learn to be more precise in their movements, and to listen at a greater distance from you. It will help build their confidence and yours.
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