The difference between a service dog and a companion dog is primarily training. A companion dog can potentially have only a basic training background. He or she will have a natural ability to be a companion, friend, and help with small daily tasks.
A service dog will have specialized training for the job he or she is assigned. The variety of service dog training options has become as varied as people who need them.
Service Dog Checklist
When you need a service dog the important things to remember are:
- Select a dog with a natural ability to learn the skills he will need to perform the job.
For many service dog jobs golden retrievers are used because they have a natural desire to please their family and they are capable of learning tasks and communication to fit the job description. Their personality makes them a lot of program’s first choice unless a smaller breed would fit the job description best.
- Find the right training program for the job he will learn
Finding the right training means to explore the training program options and find one with experience in the field you need your dog to learn about. The specialty dog training avenues are growing, and becoming cooperative, so whatever you need you are likely to find a group who has been learning the most they can learn to give your dog the best training available.
- Follow up with the trainer to learn how to maintain the skills
The next area of training is for the handler and the owner. It is important to learn what a service dog has learned. Learn the tasks, how to communicate them, how to praise for them, and how to communicate play time versus work time. In some intensive situations when a service dog is providing an alert service (alerting owner about a health issue for example) a service dog may be ‘on duty’ 24/7.
In this case it would be helpful to provide a respite caretaker for the dog’s owner and a play time companion for the dog on a routine basis. Perhaps a dog walker who takes the service dog to the park a few times a week while the dog owner is supervised by another service provider, a friend, or family member.
As you interact with a service dog it is important to learn the communication skills he understands, and how to assist him in maintaining his skills. Generally speaking he will need to know when he is working and when he is free to play. When he is working he will need to practice the skills he has learned on a regular basis.
Service Dog Cooperative Organizations
Organizations like “Paws with a Cause” work with potential service dog owners to identify their needs, select the right dog breed for the job, find the right customized training program, and assistance after your dog is living in your home. They will continue to provide support when your dog retires by helping you find a successor dog.
Service Dog Stories
The joy of having an assistant to help you pick things up when you drop them or to open a door for you. The joy of the independence a small yet precious service assistant dog can provide. These are a few of the stories.
Service Dog Purpose
A service dog has a specific job and specific training. What kind of service dog jobs are there? A service dog might assist with a person’s job or with daily living skills. She might help a librarian when children come to read, bring a smile to people in a hospital or assisted living, or bring cheer to any environment where people are in need of healing.
A service dog improves the quality of life for people with limitations. When challenges such as mobility, sensory, mental health, physical health limitations, and project task assistance are problematic, a service dog can help.
Service Dogs Related Links
Some of the service dog jobs we have explored previously include: