Certainly not all the dog owners get a dog for a service purpose, but rather as a mate and friend for a lifetime. But if this idea came to your mind before getting one, it’s your responsibility and for your own benefit to follow the guidelines stated below.
When choosing a dog, it is important to choose a breed that would suit the personal qualities of the handler. If you are a silent and introverting type of personality and have chosen Malinois there could be certain problems. If you are an athlete and have chosen Saintbernard, there will be a problem too. It is important that there is compliance of the chosen dog and the owner’s lifestyle. Though, it is not seldom that once got a dog you want to “transform” it into a service one, then you should bear in mind, that it is wrong to think that only large breeds can be a service dog. However, there are functions that, due to their size or character, not all dogs can perform. So whatever size and skills of your dog are you can always train it to level up.
Dog training is of a great importance: with its help dogs not only achieve the usual obedience, but also shape their personality necessary to become a good a service dog. There are several types of dog’s training based on the objective to achieve. These are:
In addition, many sports can be practiced with an active domestic dog: canicross, agility, frisbee, weight pulling and many others. You might be surprised that an emotional support pet is not on the list. This type of classification stands aside as the requirements to an emotional support pet vary and such animals do not require training, though certainly a thorough check and documents. To find more information on the matter, please, address to www.certifymypet.com.
At the same time, service and sports dogs are constantly in sports mode, like any professional athlete. Carrying out service, constant training and high physical activity affect the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, immune, musculoskeletal system and are stress for the dog’s body. Any animal reacts in a certain way to a state of stress. First, the dog tries to adapt – to develop certain reactions to the changed external conditions. But if this fails, the body becomes depleted.
An important point in the education and training of a pet for the role of a service dog is the moment of feeding. Many owners feed their pet before walking. However, doing this is wrong and even hurts your pet. The dog is a predator. From the point of view of physiology, the predator must first get the load, catch its prey and only then eat it. After eating, the predators rest, and the dog should also rest after walking and feeding. If you feed your dog before a walk, then when it will actively move, play, run, the likelihood of volvulus increases. It’s the point for maximum awareness. In addition, if a walk is combined with an exercise with a dog, then with a satisfied food motivation, the effectiveness of the exercise drops significantly (if the dog shows a desire to do something at all).
Even if your pet is perfectly fit and apt for being a service animal it is worth remembering about the core point in training: communication. Majority of professional dog trainers define two types of service dogs: some work for food, some – for play. Who would know your pet better, than you? Capture the main desire of your dog and follow it once it performed its obedience, reaction or is worth a praise.
The main task of the owner when communicating with the dog is to establish a level of relationship that would ultimately lead to the dog’s desire to contact the owner (the need for communication), as well as the desire to follow the owner’s commands (the need to work). There are two equally wrong extremes in the human attitude towards dogs. On the one hand, the perception of the dog solely as a mechanism for fulfilling the wishes of the owner, and on the other, the complete humanization of the dog. However, a dog is a highly organized animal that lives, although with humans, but according to its own biological laws.
You have just read that your dog must not be treated as a human, still in some points we are much alike. If we don’t practice a certain skill we get blunt and in the course of time may simply lose the grasp. Repetition is what helps maintain our skills and knowledge. The same works with the dog, so grab all your patience and if it doesn’t work on the 10th, it will certainly work out on the 20th time.
Nevertheless, not to forget about critical moments, that may become an obstacle while training. These may be related to violent behavior of a breeder or previous owner, personal sensitivity to a concrete sound or smell, situation or state. Few can be done until you understand what particularly makes your animal frustrated, distracted, or afraid. As soon as you found it out start working step by step by introducing such situations or things into its life so that the animal, with your strong support, will start perceiving it as less stressful and later just normal. It requires time, but it’s rewarding.
Feel that your efforts just go in vain, but you are clear with the idea of your dog becoming a service animal? Then, go for a professional dog instructor.
A good one (obviously you want the best one, no?) will know exactly the approach to your dog and will introduce discipline through love and care. But before getting one, make a research. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations. Look at the results that dogs achieved during the class. Find out how long they spent with this instructor and try to evaluate the results of their work. And if possible, ask the trainer to show his personal dog. Because if he couldn’t train his dog, then naturally, how can he train yours?
Surely, the last but not the least: you will be trained together with the dog. Yes, we need it often more than they do. Training your dog to become a service animal can sometimes be tiring and seem impossible. But the value and preciousness of this way of getting to know your fur friend better, become a close-knit team and rediscover your friendship cannot be overestimated.
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