The time it takes to train a service dog is a process that can’t be rushed. It’s slightly different and a bit more complex than training your pup to do standard dog commands. Training a service dog properly and with patience will ensure they’re up to the necessary tasks and qualified to perform them.
How Long Does it Take to Train a Service Dog?
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How Long Does Service Dog Training Take?
The duration of service dog training typically varies based on factors like breed, temperament, and desired tasks. On average, it can take anywhere from six months to two years. The training process involves obedience, socialization, task-specific commands, and public access skills. Remember, each dog is unique, and the training timeline may vary.
Service Dog Training Requirements
Service dogs are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as being “ individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” This means that they’re training is tailored to and directly supports their handler in all kinds of tasks.
Service dogs must not only receive individual training, but they also have to have public access manners. This means they need to be well-behaved in public and not be under the control of their handler at all times. They have to be leashed or harnessed unless their handler’s disability prevents them from doing so, in which case they must be able to follow voice commands or other signals to maintain their status.
How Long Does it Take to Train a Service Dog?
How long it takes to train a service dog depends on a few factors. Typically, training a psychiatric service dog to perform specific, disability-related tasks takes about four to eight months with in-person lessons. Online service dog training allows you to work with your dog at a pace that works for you.
The exact length of time it takes to reach fully-trained status can vary depending on the dog’s age, whether they’ve had any previous training and the method you choose to use to train them. Any dog can become a service dog if they meet the training and behavior requirements.
Types of Service Dogs
When it comes to assistance animals, there are two main types of service dogs: psychiatric service dogs and dogs for physical disabilities. Both types of service dogs are trained to perform certain tasks that support their handler’s individual needs.
Psychiatric service dogs (PSDs) are a type of service pet specifically trained to assist individuals with mental disabilities or mental health conditions. PSDs might support people with depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. They can also assist people who experience post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, or those who are working to recover from drug or alcohol abuse.
Service dogs for physical disabilities are trained to perform tasks that assist their handlers directly. This can include helping their handler perform tasks on their own, such as mobility tasks like pulling a wheelchair or guiding the blind, or by performing tasks for them like retrieving items.
Best Service Dog Breeds
Different breeds of dogs have different personalities and temperaments. Some of the best service dog breeds include German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers, all known for their strength and sturdiness as well as their loyal, loving attitudes. Their intelligence also makes them easy to train, and their eagerness to please means they’ll work extra hard for you.
Other breeds that make great service dogs include Poodles, Pugs, and Cocker Spaniels. These dogs tend to also be very intelligent as well as playful and friendly, making them well-behaved service animals in public places.
How to Train a Service Dog
Training a service dog begins with the basics you’d train any dog, and typically that means obedience. You’ll likely start by working on commands like “sit,” “stay,” “lie down,” and “watch me.” From there you’ll be able to build on what your dog already knows to help them learn disability-specific tasks which are required for them to be considered a service dog.
There are usually two options for service dog training programs, either online service dog training or in-person service dog training.
Online Service Dog Training
Online service dog training is a great option for those who want to train their service animal at home. It’s typically much more affordable than in-person service dog training. Choosing this option lets you pick exactly which type of training you need and move through the lessons as you (and your dog) see fit. Training at home means you and your dog are free from distractions and can be totally focused on the work of training.
In-person training may be a better option for dogs that need to work with a trainer face-to-face. It allows for hands-on instruction and gives the trainer the opportunity to demonstrate directly for you and your dog. Choosing this option is usually more expensive than online service dog training, but gives you and your dog access to the trainer and the option for one-on-one time.
Online Psychiatric Service Dog Training with Pettable
Ready to get started training your psychiatric service dog? Get access to Pettable’s expertly-designed online service dog training lessons to start today. We work with certified, professional dog trainers to create effective training strategies that you and your service dog can master from the comfort of your own home. Our self-paced lessons are perfect for online learners, and allow you to access the materials as needed, on your own terms.