In the previous article, I showed you step by step how to choose a proper candidate for your therapy dog training course. In this article, I will instruct you how to properly train them.
Step 1: Remove the sex organ of the candidate
I know this action is cruel despite the fact that all of service dog must be neutered. The reasons are quite simple; they will get distracted by many factors such as a pack of male dogs or the territorial concerns. Neutering also reduce the aggressiveness of the candidate.
Best time to neuter a puppy is when it’s in the range between four and six-month old in order to preclude them from coming into heat and attracting the male dogs. However, if you can guarantee to keep the puppy away from the unneutered dogs during their first year, it will be better if the candidate is neutered when its growth plates are fully replaced by bones. Simply put, you will need to wait until the dog grows up at its full size before neutering it. The time will vary from one to two years depending on the breed.
The cost for this surgery is about $250.
Step 2: Learn the click training skill
The foundation of this technic is the application of click-clack sound for indicating the good behavior moments to the assistance dog with the reward delivery right after that moment. The click training method helps the dog mark the sounds as a sign of success and it will try its best to conquer these rewards.
Step 3: Train the dogs the fundamental command skills
A normal service dog should be able to perform the basic command skills such as sitting, staying, lying and coming at the exact moment. The minion must have the ability to accompany the handicap all the time. Simply put, you can control the service dog incessantly.
Firstly, you can choose verbal or non-verbal cues to give them commands. For example, in order to train the service dog sitting skill, you will have to use a treat and place it in front of the dog nose, then, move the treat backwards over its head. The candidate will follow the treat and naturally, its bottom will bend down. That’s the moment when you click and say “Sit down” or just simply “Sit” and then, give the little dog the treat that it wants.
Secondly, it’s not easy to train the dog to follow the recall command if it is distracted. Therefore, make sure to commence the training in an enclosed area to help the assistant focus. When the dog approaches you, click and then say the word “Come” out loud and reward it immediately. In case the therapy dog doesn’t come or delay, do not punish or rebuke it. Otherwise, it will be hesitant next time.
The principle of the therapy dog training process is similar to training the normal dogs discipline and good behaviors plus the responsibility of keeping its owner safe. If possible, conduct a professional trainer to ensure that the candidate doesn’t learn anything bad.