If you’ve ever seen someone out and about with a dog at their side when there aren’t normally dogs allowed in the area, there is a good chance that you’re looking at a service dog hard at work! Service dogs act as tools and assistants for disabled people in order for them to function in their day to day lives. Service dogs are delegated to care for many different types of disabilities including things like PTSD, autism, blindness, or other issues which may cause a disabled person to struggle with certain tasks throughout their day. Whether the service dog works in the home or out in public, they are trained to be incredibly well-behaved, alert, and functional.
One of the more popular breeds for service dog work is the Golden Retriever. Known for their popularity in movies like Air Bud and Homeward Bound, these dogs give off a fabulous amount of loyalty, intelligence, and willingness to please. With the ability to work and play until their tails fall off, as well as lay around and cuddle with their loving families, these dogs almost always make great service dog candidates.
While service dogs may seem like their work is second nature, the truth is, a colossal amount of training goes into developing the skills necessary to care for their disabled handlers. These dogs are often hand-picked from puppyhood, temperament tested, and then go through some fairly rigorous obedience training throughout the first year of their lives. Training a service dog takes a large commitment and is not for first-time owners. While some rescue dogs may also be proficient at service work, it may be a bit of a gamble.
To train your Golden Retriever, you’ll need to begin as soon as possible. Beginning with a puppy is ideal, though the right adult candidate can also learn and work just as well. You’ll be dedicating at least six months to a year on service training, so be aware that it is lengthy, but with the right amount of research and determination, training your hard-working pal to be an essential helper will come in time.
The first step to choosing the right service dog is temperament testing. You’ll need to have a candidate that is not fearful, aggressive, or nervous. These dogs must be confident and easy-going. Once you determine whether or not your dog is right for the job, then you’ll want to get the necessary tools together including things like treats or toys for a reward, a leash for outdoor training and exercise, a vest that notes your dog is a service dog in training, and a plan of action for your training. When a plan is established, then you can begin your training.
My puppy was around food aggressive dogs for the first two weeks I had her, she learned that habit now whenever she’s around any other dogs and has become possessive with her food and other dogs bowls. How do I reverse this habit? She is now the only dog in the household but I want to fix that issue for when she’s around other dogs
Hello Alexa, I would start by preventing the resource guarding from becoming an issues around humans too. Work on getting puppy used to touch and handling. Use puppy's daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of puppy's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Work on hand feeding, and also practice feeding him his meals in sections. Feed 1/4 of his meal, practice making him wait before digging in by holding onto the bowl, pulling it back whenever he tries to dive in (without letting go of it first), and calmly saying Wait, then after a few repetitions of this, when he hesitates and doesn't dive in while your hand is still on it, let go of the bowl and say "Okay!" in an excited tone of voice, and let him begin eating as a reward for waiting. As he eats, when he isn't growling, toss treats next to his bowl as you walk past him. Practice this from a few feet away until he begins to look forward to you approaching. As he improves, decrease the distance that you pass from. When he finishes the first serving, toss a treat behind him and pick up the bowl while he is distracted eating the treat. Give the next portion, have him practice waiting again, then do the treat tosses while he east again. Practice this until he has all of his meal kibble portions at that mealtime. Do this at every meal as often as you can. As he becomes relaxed and begins to like you approaching him during meals, get closer and closer, so that you are eventually placing treats into his bowl while he eats. Ease into this so that he stays relaxed during the process. When pup does great with your presence right by the bowl, you can give a gentle pet and feed a treat as you do so. Pet and feed a treat, then give space and go back to tossing the treats to avoid stressing him too much. Expect this progression to take weeks, not hours or days. Do NOT stick your hand in pup's food, take the food away while he is eating, or pet him while he is eating without making the experience fun for him also - via giving better rewards in exchange each time. Messing with a dog while they are eating without the right protocols and rewards to prevent stress around mealtimes, can actually cause food aggression, rather than prevent it. The goal is to build pup's trust with you when it comes to meals - so he doesn't feel the need to guard it, but learns that your approach and taking things like bones, results in something even better happening - like a treat or new bone. Only give treats when pup responds well - not while he is growling. If pup is growling still while you are doing all of this, you are probably being too rough or moving too fast, and there needs to be more space between you and pup while practicing at that point in the training. When pup is doing well with you and anticipates the feeding game being something pleasant with treats, then I would also add in another dog. Have a second person walk another dog past while you do the treat game with pup while eating. Start with a distance pup doesn't mind the other dog being at, and very gradually decrease distance the other dog is walked past pup while eating as pup relaxes and is tolerant. When not practicing this training, if there are any other dogs in the home or when you travel, then feed pup meals in a closed crate to decrease the stress of other dogs being around while pup eats to prevent the resource guarding from returning later too. Check out this free PDF e-book download for other puppy raising tips as well: www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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He is very much still a puppy. He is well potty trained does not cause any issues in following commands at home. He adjusts based on our availability and is ok if we do not take him twice for a long walk. But when he sees people or dogs outside he wants people to pet him and say hello to the dogs. He is not aggressive at all with other dogs but he does want to get attention. So he pulls on the leash and wants to run and jump on them.
Hello Padma, I would see if there is an Intermediate Obedience class or Canine Good Citizen class in your area, which should focus specifically on things like heeling past distractions. You can also recruit friends and family pup will want to say hi to, to practice the Passing Approach method with, and the heeling video and article I have linked below. Passing Approach - your goal isn't for pup to greet the dog in the end though, your goal is to practice the passes over and over again until pup calms down enough through the repetition, for you to be able to reward the focus on you and calmness. As pup improves, you can decrease the distance so that pup can stay calm even at close distances. I would only occasionally allow pup to actually greet them, so pup doesn't have the expectation to always greet someone, and when you do, give pup a command like "Say Hi" so pup learns that unless told Say Hi they should ignore others. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I’m planning to travel with Lucca at the beginning of July, I want to take him with me on the cabin and for that he has to be trained as an emotional support dog. How long does it usually take to train him for this?
Hello, I am not sure of the length of time to train Lucca as an emotional support dog. I would contact an organization that deals with that. I found this site but am not sure if it is what you need: https://esadoctors.com/how-to-train-dog-emotional-support-animal/ and this article is very informative, too. https://www.servicedogcertifications.org/emotional-support-dog-requirements/. Best to contact them. Good luck!
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