There is occasionally some confusion regarding service dogs versus therapy dogs; a service dog is registered under federal law, after demonstrating adherence to standards and being certified. A service dog performs a certain task for a disabled person, such as services to help hearing or visually impaired people successfully function, manipulating objects for people with mobility disorders, or alerting people with diabetes, PTSD or epilepsy to dangerous or debilitating episodes specific to their condition. A therapy dog, on the other hand, provides companionship and helps alleviate symptoms of emotional or psychiatric conditions.
Chihuahuas often fall in the category of therapy dogs but many Chihuahuas are certified service dogs, trained to perform tasks for disabled persons. Any dog can be a service dog regardless of size or breed, they just need the right temperament and ability. Chihuahuas are intelligent, tend to be loyal to one person, and can easily live in small apartments without difficulty, which makes them excellent candidates as service dogs in certain situations.
In order to be certified, a service dog must demonstrate several behaviors in addition to their tasking behavior, that is the task or tasks they perform in order to assist a disabled person. General public access behaviors necessary for service dogs to learn include not being aggressive, relieving themselves on command, not investigating or sniffing, not seeking food or affection, and being calm and not demonstrating excitement or hyper behavior. A dog that is capable of learning these behaviors will need to have a well-socialized personality, be of a calm disposition, and highly trainable. Service dogs that can demonstrate public access behaviors can then learn specific tasks to aid people such as:
There are many services a service dog can render, and although some, such as providing physical support, require a large dog, most can be performed by even a small dog like a Chihuahua, providing the correct training is provided.
Hello I have a 4 year old chihuahua names Aja.How can I get her trained to be one my husband's hearing service dog?She does alert him when someone is at the door now,and,she knows the basic commands already. The problem is that I do not have alot of money,and,trainers are so expensive.
Hello Pam, You can train the dog yourself but it will require a lot of time and commitment from you. I suggest looking for other dog owners online who are training their own service dogs. On Instagram, Facebook, and other social media groups you can find such people and groups for such people. Many of them share what they are doing, offer great support for one another, and it is a great way to connect with those doing it in your area, to meet up to train and practice together. Joining a Canine Good Citizen class is a more affordable way to work on the basic Public manners skills that are needed for a dog to be allowed into public places as a Service Dog also. Once you have mastered the public manners part, then that leaves the task training. Online videos from Service Dog trainers and owners training their own service dogs are a good resource to learn how to teach your dog to alert to specific tasks. https://www.dogsforbetterlives.org/hearing-dogs/ You can subscribe to this video channel for lots of videos about training a hearing dog, including the specific videos series "How we do what we do" which covers things like teaching the dog to alert to specific sounds like timers and fire alarms. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT39ep-hHRg&list=PLRbWQcZdsIgjWD7JTAIUTeOPpkPkFriEQ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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my Dog is 4 years old is it still possible fore him to become a therapy dog fore my autistic daughter
Hello Mya, That will depend on Sonny's temperament and level of socialization more than on his age actually. If he gets along well with other people and dogs and is not aggressive or timid at all then he likely can still learn how to be a Service Dog. Temperament and social skills are often genetic or learned while a dog is still a puppy, so those things cannot be completely changed in an older dog. They can often be improved but not always changed completely. Most obedience training, such as "Sit" and the specialized tasks involved in Therapy or Service Dog work can be taught at any age. A great place to start is a Canine Good Citizen Class. This class will work on the skills that he will need to be out in public and be well behaved. Once he learns those skills then you can teach him any specific skills that you would like for him to learn to help your daughter, such as sitting in her lap when she is anxious, interrupting self-destructive behavior, sitting by her chair in crowded places, greeting other people first, and so forth. You can choose what to teach depending on what your dog needs. You can either teach him those specialized skills on your own, hire a private trainer with experience to help you, or find a class at a local dog club or training facility that teaches those things. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Than you this really Helped
He is really loving and loves other people he does not bark at all and is very tolerant
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How long would it take to train an autism service dog to qualify , what tascs would a Dachshund be Abel to do ,and is it better to train privertly or normally ,many thanks😊
Hello Mya, For basic task training expect it to take between two and six months to train, depending on how quickly your dog learns, how often the training is practiced, and what all tasks he is taught to perform. Board and Train generally takes the least amount of time for most dogs. A Dachshund could be taught to interrupt self-destructive, anxious, or repetitive behaviors by nudging, tugging, barking, getting in front of the person, or climbing into the persons lap whenever he does the behavior. He could also be taught to perform a milder form of pressure therapy, by teaching him to lay on a person's lap, lean against him, touch his or her hand, or stand in front of him for petting. You can also teach him to help with social interactions by going to other people first, staying close to the person with Autism for emotional support, and encouraging the person to interact with others by nudging, tugging, or leading the person over to the other people. By normally I am not sure if you mean through a class, through Board and Train, or on your own at home, but each form of training has it's own advantages. The advantage of Private Training is the individual attention that you receive, the fact that training can be tailor specifically to you, the fact that the training can address other random training random needs also, that members of your family, and specifically the person with autism, can be involved more, the fact that the training takes place at your home or at the specific locations that you will need the dog to go to in the future, and that the price is in between the other options. It is generally cheaper than board and train but more expensive than doing it all on your own or attending a class, making it a good middle ground. The benefits of Board and Train are mainly that it requires less time and work on your part, that it is often accomplished more quickly do to the intensive training situation, and that the environment is more controlled to avoid possible set backs. The drawbacks are that it typically costs more, that it involves you, the person with autism, and other family members less until the end of the training, and that some work will still be needed to ensure that your dog performs his new training with your family at your home as well. I recommend working with a place that has follow up home sessions with you, the person your dog will be helping, and your dog after the boarding part of the training ends, to help the training transfer over successfully. The main benefit of doing it all yourself is the huge cost savings. The drawbacks are the amount of time, effort, and research that is required to do it yourself. For some people this can be fun and is a welcomed challenge with great results, and for others it is hard and stressful to not have help. Whether or not this is for you depends a lot on you and the amount of time and effort you can put into it. For many people it can be done though. The benefit of a class are the lower price compared to Private and Board and Train training, the supervision and instruction from the class instructor even though much of the work will still be done yourself, the public location with distractions for practicing the commands, and the company of other people doing the same thing as yourself. The drawbacks are the time and work still involved in practicing the training yourself during the week, that the training is more general and less tailored to your specific needs unlike private training, and the inconvenience of going to a class every week. Because the training is less tailored to your specific needs I recommend finding a class that lists the specific tasks that you would like to train under their curriculum. If your dog is ready in the areas of general obedience, manners, social skills, and behavior, and only needs the specific task training, then classes can provide what you need and be fun. You can also go through a Canine Good Citizenship class first, to teach manners in public, and then go through a Service Dog task training class afterwards. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Is it possible to train my Teacup Chihuahua as a Service Dog? Not a Therapy dog. I was planning on signing her up for Service Dog Training or however that works when she turns 6 months old and is potty trained. She knows how to give high fives. I have Depression, Anxiety, and Autism. She’s a little hyper though.
Hello Nicole, That depends largely on which specific tasks you need for her to perform in order to help you. A dog does not have to be a certain breed in order to qualify. In order to qualify as a Service Dog, your dog must be able to reliably perform at least one task that directly helps a medically diagnosed condition that you have been diagnosed with by a professional, including certain psychiatric conditions like PTSD. Many PTSD, Autism assistant, or anxiety Service Dogs perform pressure therapy to help with anxiety, interrupt their owner's self-destructive, repetitive, or anxious behaviors, help their owners find exits and quickly leave places during anxiety attacks, or alert their owners to anxiety tasks. There are just a few of the potential actions that a dog can perform to qualify. The action must be something that directly helps. The dog must also be well trained enough in general to not be disruptive, destructive, aggressive, or timid in public. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I just got a new Chihuahua and she very be calm and does very well traveling on train I have ptsd with anxiety and panic attacks how can i start my puppy training to be a service dog And perform pressure therapy? Also where is a legitimate place to get paper work for service dogs?
Hello Karyln, In the United States according to ADA Law a Service Dog must be under the handler's control at all times, non-disruptive, meaning no repeated barking, aggression, rowdiness, and so forth, and must perform at least one specialized task that directly helps the owner's disability. With that said, a Service Dog does not have to be licensed, apart from a typical rabies license, or certified. The dog can be owner trained or trained by a professional trainer. This means that you do not have to have any specific paper work certifying the dog. However, what you will need is paperwork from your doctor stating that you do have a medical psychiatric condition, which PTSD should qualify for, that warrants the use of a Service Dog. Any medical or psychiatric doctor that is treating you for that condition can write you that for you. You are only required to present that to certain airlines and landlords though. Not to most store owners. Here below is the ADA website which will cover your rights and answer a lot of questions. https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html As far as training, work on general manners like a long-down-stay, heel, and other commands that will help your dog be well-behaved in public. It sounds like you are off to a great start already. If you need help with those types of things a good Canine Good Citizen Class will actually cover most of the general training that is needed. For the task training, you can either follow other owner-trainers online, watch trainer videos, or read about the individual tasks that you want to train and teach those commands yourself. Or, google: "Service Dog Training (your city and state)" OR "Service Dog Trainer (Your city and state)" OR "Service Dog Training private owner (your city and state)" When you look at the websites that come up, look for someone who offers private training, opposed to board and train or placing pre-trained dogs with owners. There are trainers that you can hire to come to your home and teach you how to train your dog the specialized tasks, then you can practice that training with your dog between appointments. This is the most cost effective option that involves a trainer typically. You can also Board and Train your dog with a trainer, and have all of the training done for you. Look for a trainer in your city who offers that by googling: "Service Dog Training (your city and state)" OR "Service Dog Training Board and Train (your city and state)" OR Service Dog Training (your state)" Or Service Dog Training Board and Train (your state)" A Board and Train location does not have to be in your city. It simply needs to be within driving distance. If you do owner training and train your dog yourself, social media places like Instagram and Facebook have a surprisingly good Service Dog community to meet and get advice from other owners doing the same thing with their own dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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