Service dogs are dogs that are trained to work or perform tasks to help those who have disabilities; such as psychiatric, sensory, physical or other disabilities.
There are several key steps that need to be taken before a dog can become a service dog such as first assessing the age and health of a dog. In most cases, a dog must also be neutered and dogs should at least be six months old or older. The next step is to have your dog’s personality tested. A service dog must be evenly tempered. Characteristics of a good service dog are a calm, cool, alert and responsive temperament. It is also helpful to know your dog’s breed characteristics.
Finding a reputable dog trainer is also important. In-depth training is necessary in order for a dog to become a good service dog. A professional trainer can ensure that your dog will be a reliable service dog. It is important to note; International standards require a dog to undergo at least 120 hours of training. Guidelines for training come in three phases: heeling, proofing and tasking.
Keep in mind; an access test is the next step. Some of the basic expectations for a service dog include: no aggressive behavior, urinating and defecating only on command, an end of sniffing behavior and a lessening of hyperactive movements. All of this takes time and training and make for a good service dog.
Registration and equipping are the next steps. Documenting the training process, undergoing a public access test and registering with a good service is important should you or your dog be in question. Of course, the last step is to find someone in need. Keep in mind; for service dogs who assist those who have a disability, access to buildings are required for service dogs and their companions.
It is important to note; the costs involved in training a service dog depends on the behavior of the dog, any previous training the dog has had and the time a trainer can give to the training process. In most cases, a dog needs one to two years of consistent training to become a service dog. The cost of working with a professional trainer at $150 an hour totals up to over $7,000 a year. However, this is more reasonable than if you were to purchase a fully trainer service dog. When you think of all the actions a service dog can provide such as retrieving mail, dropped keys and other objects if you live alone or struggle when walking, then the costs of this kind of training are well worth it.
Some of the benefits of having a service dog are having a 24 hour companion, being more self-sufficient, enjoying lower caregiver costs and giving you more personal security.
To conclude, service dogs are dogs that are trained to work or perform tasks to help those who have disabilities; such as psychiatric, sensory, physical or other mental disabilities. Talk with a professional dog trainer soon and find out more!
Here is a great example – trained service dogs for vets with PTSD.
I should also mention the other costs as well. Remember to include things like dog food, trips to the veterinarian, toys for their downtime, etc.