The training of dogs who are to become a companion dog, a therapy dog or a service dog is done with love, knowledge and a lot of patience under the watchful eyes of the Master Trainer. We only use positive reinforcement. We especially never hit our animals. Although the handlers are beaten at least twice a day/or sent to bed without dinner.
The program is broken down into weekly training blocks. In order for a dog/handler team to progress they must meet the initiative for that week. If they don’t the handler doesn’t get any more treats and the dog receives remedial training. The dogs will be trained with praise as their reward. Treats or a toy are nice but the handler may run into a situation where he doesn’t have a treat or the toy.
WEEK ONE: Building Raport
Two inherent training initiatives must take place in this block of training. First and most important dog and handler must establish a bond. This is accomplished by the team spending an average of six hours a day together.
Second light obedience training will also be started. The dog’s attitude in acceptance of the training will be closely monitored for evaluation. The dogs willingness to meet the handlers command is the objective, not the dog actually obeying the command.
WEEK TWO: Response
In this stage of training we are not worried with precise, text book responses to obedience training. Instead we are looking for a willingness from the dog to respond to the given command. In some cases the dog will be placed in the appropriate position, this is to increase the dog’s response to the handler. Any force no matter how slight should be guarded. The dog sensitivity must be foremost in the handlers mind. In some cases the least bit of harsh physical training can cause the dog to go into total shut down of response. The most important factor during this phase is giving the dog praise and a break after short periods of training.
WEEK THREE: Variance in training atmospheres.
Handlers and companion dogs both become inherently tired and listless if the training atmospheres are not changed. Not only does this perk the teams interest, it gives them an additional challenge in which to work in. Our intent is to keep the dog increasingly interested in the situation the handler is in and then the dog will adjust their attitude to meet the environment.
WEEK FOUR: A Team is Born
By this time dog and handler should start to mesh as a team. This is important and this mesh should be evident to all observers. This is where the dog not only responds to the handler the dog relates to the handlers mood. For instance when the dog experiences the handler being somewhat evasive about how he reacts to the dogs response to a stimulus, the dog will resolve to apposition of support. This means the dog is sensing the handlers emotional state. The dog will assume a position of support for the handler. For example if the handler was to collapse to the ground in most cases the dog will physically check out the person by going around and sniffing and rubbing the person to try and change the person’s point of concentration. The dog may even take on a protective stance based on the handlers mood.
WEEK FIVE: No Interruptions in Relations Between Dog and Handler
Once the team reaches this point outside disturbances in the relationship between dog and handler should be avoided.
Though people involved in the situation think that they can provide better comfort to the handler than the dog can, they are not always going to e present when an emotional occurrence happens., The dog and handler are a team who after bonding are always present in each others lives. As a service dog the animal is admitted in every circumstance the handler is in. this is law as listed in the Persons with Disabilities Act.
WEEK SIX: Certification
In order to certify the dog and handler as a team the Master Trainer must evaluate the team under numerous situations to assure that the team is proficient in most any circumstance.
The Team must
- Demonstrate proficiency in basic commands. Sit, Down, Stay, etc
- Dog and Handler must show an intense respect for each other
- Corporal punishment must never be used
- The Handler must be able to describe the teams reaction to emotional distress.
WEEK SEVEN-EIGHT: Remedial Training
If needed the team will do remedial training.