There are currently more than 500,000 service dogs in the United States alone, and that number is only continuing to grow. Service dogs, of course, are very helpful to those who need them. If you are thinking about training a service dog on your own, you might be wondering what kind of responsibilities are involved.
The first thing you should know is that training a service dog is quite different from training a regular dog. You won’t be training the dog how to do simple tricks but rather how to train the dog to react to specific and potentially serious situations. But how long will it take to train a service dog?
Keep reading and learn more about your options below.
What Is Involved When Training a Service Dog?
The first thing you should know about training a service dog is that it is not a task for those who aren’t up for a challenge. As mentioned before, training a service dog does not involve training the dog to do tricks but rather training the dog for important situations. After all, every service dog has a purpose, and that purpose is to protect, comfort, and care for the person it is assigned to.
If you do not train the dog in a specific way, the dog will not be prepared to step up for this kind of responsibility, and it will not be able to be an effective service dog. For that reason, you will need to have plenty of patience and discipline when it comes to training a service dog. Usually, people have others train their service dogs for them.
However, if you want to become a service dog trainer, then you will have to take on the majority of the responsibility yourself. There are many things you need to consider when you first train a service dog. Of course, a young, new dog will be a blank canvas for your training.
Training a good service dog can also be quite difficult, depending on what you’re training the dog for. Some dogs can do amazing things, such as detect changes in a person’s blood sugar or bring objects to a person in need. Training a dog to do these tasks will take a lot of time, often dozens upon dozens of hours if not hundreds.
Besides being able to perform certain tasks, a service dog also needs to be calm in the majority of situations. Untrained dogs may get excited and jumpy when their owner comes home, when they see another dog, or when they see a person they don’t know. This is not acceptable behaviour for a service dog.
Instead, a service dog should remain calm at all times but also comforting and friendly towards the person it is assigned to care for. This will ensure that the service dog is ready to spring into action if an urgent situation happens to occur. If you manage to train a service dog correctly, it should be incredibly efficient at its job, and it should have no trouble caring for and monitoring its owner.
But how long does it take to train a service dog so that it is ready to work?
How Long Does It Take to Train a Service Dog Exactly?
There is actually no exact time necessary to train a service dog. This is because every dog is different. Some dogs may take a bit longer to train than others.
On the other hand, some dogs may take on the duty of being service dogs more naturally, and as a result, they may not need as much time training. But whatever the case, it will take a large number of hours to completely train a service dog. In general, the dog will need to go through at least 120 hours of training.
This training will involve a variety of factors, such as learning how to stay calm even in stimulating situations. It will also involve teaching the dog how to bring certain objects to a person or how to detect changes in a person’s body or behaviour. For example, if a person tends to experience repetitive behaviours due to a mental condition, the dog should be trained to interrupt those behaviours.
What You Need to Know
Besides 120 hours of training, the dog will then need to go through an additional 30 hours of training. However, these additional hours are different from the previous training because it involves taking the dog into public settings. Putting the dog into a public setting will test the dog’s ability to behave and stay calm and focused when on the job.
This is because public settings are full of distractions. There may be other dogs present, and there may be large groups of people that may be very distracting to the dog. However, these 30 hours of public training are designed to hone the dog’s skills and ensure that the dog can remain focused no matter the location.
The additional 30 hours of training are arguably some of the most important parts of training the dog since it is far more challenging for the dog. However, after a total of 150 hours of training, the dog should be an excellent service dog.
All About Training Service Dogs
Training a service dog takes a lot of responsibility and time. If you are up to the challenge, then you will need to dedicate many hours of your life to training a dog so that it will be ready to react to certain situations and help a person in need.
To learn more, don’t hesitate to check out the other blogs on our website.
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