A service dog is a dog that is specially trained to assist someone with a disability, by performing a task or tasks for or with them. When we think of a service dog, most of us think of a guide dog, a dog that assists a vision-impaired person to navigate their environment, but service dogs can be utilized to help a host of people with different disabilities by performing specific tasks to assist people with hearing impairment, paralysis, and neurological disorders. Because service dogs must accompany their handlers in public places where dogs are not usually permitted, such as in restaurants, movie theaters, shopping centers, and libraries, service dogs must exhibit a range of behaviors in addition to the task for which they are specifically trained to aide their handler.
My dog gets very distracted easily and I wanted to know if there are anything I can do make him listen more
Hi Olivia, There are definitely a few things that you can do to help him build his focus. First you can encourage him to respond to his name really well. This is quite simple. With him in front of you say his name and give him a treat. Do this for several sessions throughout the week, then after you have done that, when he is slightly distracted randomly say his name throughout the day and whenever he looks at you or comes to you give him a treat. As he improves increase the amount of distractions, slowly working up to very distracting things like new people, dogs, and smells. Second, you can practice teaching him obedience commands regularly for thirty minutes a day or several ten minute sessions whenever you get the time. If he already knows basic obedience then move onto intermediate obedience, or advanced if he is ready. Practicing obedience regularly can build his respect and trust of you, and it also increases his mental skills as he constantly learns new things, practices focusing, and receives rewards to motivate him, including life rewards like doing a sit before he is fed, having to heel in order to more forward on a walk, or doing a down before you pet him. Lastly, this one might be obvious, but be consistent. If you tell him to do something be prepared to make him do it. An example would be, if you call him to come and you know that he has heard and he understands the meaning of the command, but he is choosing to ignore you, go get him! When you go get him, attach a twenty, thirty, or fifty foot leash and then release him again. When he becomes distracted smelling that bush again, repeat telling him to come. If he comes, then make a big deal over it with lots of praise and possibly a treat, and then repeat the exercise four or five more times, until he remembers to come every time and is several times in a row. If he does not come, even with the long leash on, gently but quickly reel him in on the leash, have him sit, and then release him again. Do not scold him while he is in front of you though. Any discipline that happens needs to happen while he is being disobedient, not when he is in front of you obeying, even if you made him obey by reeling him in. After he sits, release him again, and then repeat the process several times, until he has come willingly four or five times in a row. When he comes willingly praise him and reward him. If it was forced by reeling him in, just quietly tell him "Good boy" when he gets there, then have him do a sit ,and a release him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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