Intro to Training Your Service Dog

You and your K-9 speak very different languages. Here are some tips to bridge this gap!

I solemnly swear I am a positive dog!

Here are tips for training your dog.

Pack Leader

The single utmost item of importance is asserting your dominance. You are the pack leader. It is not a give and take relationship, and your word is law. You are a leader! But what makes a good leader, and do you have what it takes to make a good PACK LEADER?

Can you describe yourself using these adjectives: unwavering, assertive, protective, safe, confident, authoritative, educated, aware, clear, interesting, enthusiastic, fun, calm, patient, and forgiving?

By using these descriptors and embracing them, your dog will always be on their toes, keeping them from mischief! 

Simple Rules — Super Space

Status is something animals use to keep hierarchy amongst the pack. Since you are now the pack leader, you have to dominate your space by setting boundaries. Human-only spaces are just for you and your two-legged friends. Places like tables, counter tops, and beds should only be for humans. Another common suggestion is to feed your dog with your hand in their bowl. This should be done under the advisement of a trainer or vet. Instead, scoop the food with your hand as the smell will linger on your skin and your dog will understand you are a food-producing magical two-legged superhero!

But Kaitlyn, I love when my dog cuddles me to sleep! Then only allow them up on the bed when you invite them! The same goes with furniture!

Has your dog been potty-trained? If you have answered no, until your dog is potty trained, keep them out of the bathroom. They know that is where you go, and they will want to go when you do! 

Create Commands

Start with safety and find what your dog loves. If it is a treat or a favorite toy, use that as the reward for your commands. Some commands that are important for your dog to know are:

"Place" or "Go to bed!" "Kennel!" or "Crate!"

"Sit."

"Stay."

"Drop it."

"Quiet."

And crate manners!

Crate manners as a command? Your dog is in your house, not theirs. However, their house is inside of yours and it's their crate. So, make good things come from the crate! Walk by and magically place a bone or treat in there, and when your dog goes by they will be surprised and happy to be in the crate at the beginning! A good relationship between a dog and their crate reduces anxiety, possessive behavior, and their feelings of responsibility and protecting you and yours.

When it comes to commands stick to the motto, "Nothing in life is free!" Your dog looking at you and being adorable does not equal a treat. Your dog sitting when you ask or at a designated time, like before meals, does deserve a treat. Label what you like and reward that behavior. Do you like when they lay on their back? Label and reward by saying, "Good Belly!" and give a treat or belly rub. Do you like when they go to their bed to nap all by themselves? "Good crate!" and reward! You can make anything a command, and by continuing this pattern you are setting your dog up for a successful career. Up their vocab, and up your adventure! You need to allow for them to always be paying attention, as assumptions set you up to fail. The average dog has a vocabulary (solid vocabulary) of eight to ten words. By upping your vocab and following this method, you open the doors to 50+ words that they'll know. 

Diet Dilemma

Raw? Cooked? CrockPot? Kibble? Puree? A mix? Today, it's hard to make the right choice on what to feed your dog. One suggestion to keep up with the other rules is to rotate your food slowly. Start with one bag and as it runs out, buy another bag and slowly switch into the new food by mixing them together until you have only new bag food in their bowl. Repeat, repeat, repeat. This can be done with any diet.

With these basics, your relationship with your lovely pup will be sure to grow!

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Intro to Training Your Service Dog