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Service dog training

Service Dog Training

Service dogs play a very important role in human society.

These dogs provide an essential service to their owners and become an integral part of their lives and the communities to which they belong. Therefore service dogs are also rewarded with the praise and respect that they rightly deserve. For example, in some places killing a police dog constitutes as serious an offence as the murder of a police officer.

This is indicative of the status that these service dogs enjoy.

Service dog training is more intensive and rigorous that other training. Several man hours go into the training of just one animal in the case of police dogs. Trainers first spend a great deal of time in researching and locating suitable dog breeds that can serve as effective service dogs.

The dogs must also be within the correct age range as they cannot be too young or too old. Most selected dogs fall within the range of ten months to two and a half years. The dogs then undergo thorough physical examinations, including x-rays and blood tests. This is done to ensure that they will be able to tolerate the stresses of the job. Pre-tests are also conducted wherein the eligibility and aptitude of the dogs for the program is examined. Dogs are tested on aspects such as how approachable to strangers the dog is, does the dog display an extreme behavior shifts when he is approached, retrieval behavior and acceptance of foreign objects. This kind of testing helps to match the dogs to specific areas of expertise such as cadaver, narcotics, explosive or patrol training. As such there is quite a bit of intensive testing even before the actual training of service dogs begins.

Once training begins, the lessons are customized according to the age and capabilities of the dog. The dog is taught the various types of tracking methods, gun conditioning, environmental dangers and how to protect his handler. The dog must learn all the procedures before he can move on to the next level. Specialized lessons are also conducted such as avoidance of obstacles, item retrieval, explosive location and how to behave in combative situations. Service dogs must also be able to deal with crowds, distractions, different environments and unusual objects. Service dogs are usually medium to large in size and often quite independent. As a result such dogs are generally unsuitable as family pets. However, service dogs are also intelligent and quick to learn.

  Submitted on June 1, 2010