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Old 03-10-2012, 03:37 PM
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Fran101 Fran101 is offline
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Default Fran's Service dog thread (curriculum/puppy selection info stuff)

I got a message asking me where some of this stuff was and it was all kind of scattered and everywhere so I figured I would make a thread about it.

Both are pretty helpful in just any kind of puppy raising/training/choosing.

Here is the very basic curriculum.

Step 1: Puppy basics. (Learning the clicker.. focus, their names, touch, sit, basic come, down, going to their crate, stay and the beginnings of polite leash manners) We will also be addressing things like leash biting, nipping, and other common puppy problems as well as the *no lookie,no cookie* game, where puppies will learn that eye contact and focusing on YOU (and not the treats or anything else) is the way to earn their rewards

We will also be working on handling. Your puppy will be getting used to all kinds of handling (paws, tail, petting, rolling over)

At this stage, it is of course also your job to be a devoted puppy parent and bond and love your puppy! Training should be fun and something they want to do

+ Socialization (Puppy will go to AT LEAST two social workshops that I plan. These workshops are a safe environment which will include meeting all kinds of people (kids, old people, different races, loud people, scared people, jumpy people.. all armed with plenty of treats and praise)
These workshops also include play with different floor surfaces, strange objects, and handler/puppy bonding exercises

- Homework: You will be required to practice, do you own work with socialization and of course you will also be working on potty training

Step 1.5 : Your training! You (as your dogs handler/owner) are a big part of this! You will be learning HOW to train, interact, teach and bond with your

Step 2: Adolescent puppy basic: (Down stays, sit stays, take it, leave it, on/off, fetch, more focus work)

+ Socialization: You will again attend at least two socialization workshops, same as before except animals involved. We will have friendly calm dogs, other puppies, friendly cats and ferrets for your dog to have positive interactions with and get used to. We will also have shiny floors, automatic doors, crowds and unstable floors to begin positive association.

- Homework: Trust and practice. Take your puppy out a bit more (homedepot, neiman marcus, the park, the airport, the mall..where ever dogs are allowed. Don't push them though. Make sure your dog is still on track and happy about new experiences. plenty of treats and praise)
KEEP WORKING ON YOUR BASICS! Practice all the time, at random times, in different places. and remember to keep training positive and fun!

Step 3: Pre-Teen basics. (Review. Your puppy will now be going through a stage where he/she will probably b a little nutty. this is normal. but keep building up rewards and keep practicing) We will use this time to work on MANNERS as well as their basics

First we work on some manners. You already should have been doing the work on not giving attention for jumping/barking and other rude behaviors you learned in puppy class, but now we fine tune that.

They learn when it is OK to say hello ("make a friend" is usually the command used) and if you choose to allow your dog to greet people at the door at home, we will teach how to politely allow them to do this.

We will focus more work on their "ignore" and focus. Regardless of size, they are still very much babies and its hard for them to not say hello to every dog/person/mailbox when walking.. so we will work on building that up for them.

at this point your puppy earns his/her first vest. Simply a blue vest. Not yet a "service dog in training" but its enough to let people around you know to leave you be if you are working on focus work or distractions.
As you know, this vest does NOT give you or your puppy public access! It is simply a tool to let others around you know to leave you be

+ Socialization: work with focus WITH distractions. Attend two workshops. These workshops will basically be reviews. They will meet lots of animals, lots of people, floor surfaces . We will also have our first field trip to the airport ( a great place to start because there is plenty of noise, strange floors, other people etc..)
Homework: keep up with socialization. Take your puppy to fun places and keep up with building your bond.

Step 4: Teen advanced (Heel, relaxed loose lead walking, leave it, drop it, take it, stay with distractions)
Your dog will learn their basic casual loose lead walking, as well as their more formal heel for when they are working. (Some people may wish to use a term other than "heel" if you are also doing competitive obedience)
Stays will also be practiced, but with more distractions and in real life situations.

+ Socialization: This workshop will involve you walking in a heel while keeping your dog focused on you. We will start with minimal distractions and than add on as you get better. Heel is one of the most important commands your dog will learn. It will be used EVERYDAY and needs to be perfect. Remember, practice practice practice! Ignoring dogs on your regular walk route might not mean ignoring dogs at the park or pet store, practice in all kinds of places and set your dog up for success! If they do something wrong, go back a step, with somewhere with less distractions, and try again. Always end on a happy note.

Homework: Work on your heel/loose leash walking in various environments. and learning to WAIT to be told, before going up to greet/sniff/play or investigate.

Step 5: Adult. (USUALLY 1- 1 1/2 YEAR OLDS)
Congrats, your dog has made it where many have failed. Finally a well trained and socialized adult with all his basic commands (sit, down, stay, come, heel, leave it, drop it, take it, fetch and focus) Take a moment to look how far your squishy little leash biter has become!

*drumroll please* His/her very first REAL VEST! Your dog is officially a “Service dog in Training”

We will begin working on more field trips including: the airport, outdoor flea markets, shopping malls, bus stations, Pet stores, parks. Your dog should be able to walk with you without fear and we will continue to work on focus and command reliability.
We will also begin working on being around/ignoring other not so well behaved dogs and crazy kinds of people and objects/noises.
Your dog will have to learn to ignore/deal with other dogs barking, jumping, whining behavior around them without becoming involved or distracted. As well as deal with loud strange noises, odd people and unruly children.

Step 6 Adult basic: (rock solid recall, stay with distractions, walk with distractions, stay close, take it, heel, picking up dropped items, recognizing/retrieving basic items)

+socialization: Even more work on ignoring other dogs/distractions (like other people calling them, dogs barking) Remember, we ALWAYS REVIEW THE BASICS! Practice all kinds of commands, not just the new ones. Keep things positive by working on things your dog already knows and rewarding them!

LEARNING PATIENCE. this is a huge part of your training process. we will be teaching them "settle" very important when you need your dog to just relax while you are in class or at work.

Step 7 ADULT ADVANCED: this is it. The final.

your dog will learn the things specifically tailored to YOU. Now that you have the foundations of a well trained, ready to learn, socialized, well adjusted dog.. We will begin work on their service dog specific skills.

(*please note, that this step is here for seizure response. for many other kinds of service animals, service specific training starts earlier*)

Your dog has learned the most important thing.. how to work with you, how to learn, how to trust and how to listen and understand.
Don't be fooled by this being a tiny section.. this is a HUGE PART of your dogs education. But curriculum is too specific to be tailored into an outline

and finally...

*GRADUATION* Your dog will receive his/her official vest as well as an ID card.

STEP 8,9, and 10! FOREVER

TRAINING IS FOREVER, NOT JUST DURING THE PROGRAM. It’s a process and your dog is always learning! It is your job to practice and keep up good habits, not reward bad ones, and keep their work fun!
Dogs aren’t robots, and sometimes, they might make mistakes. Remember what you learned and go back a step, set the dog up for success and re-evaluate if your dog really knows what you are asking of him.

Average program length is 3 years.

Disclaimer: I work for Trupanion and love it/our policy! But I do not speak for the company or as the company.
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:39 PM
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Fran101 Fran101 is offline
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Both my trainer and info I found on the internet (A lot of the wording and specifics came from Dana's Blog: had a hand in creating this test

The Prey Drive Tests

Tests for prey drive will tell you how much working potential your dog exhibits. Remember, when choosing a service dog candidate, you want to select the dog that falls in the middle of the drive spectrum.

The Retrieve Test:

The retrieve test is simple. Throw a ball or rolled up piece of paper. Make sure the dog sees you throw it, and then observe the dog’s reaction. If he eagerly trots out to the ball and picks it up, then turns and heads back to you, that’s a perfect reaction (and therefore merits a score of 4). However, most dogs, even eager retrievers, don’t do quite that well. If the dog trots out to it and picks it up, but doesn’t return to you, that’s still a perfectly acceptable reaction (and give him a 3). Even if the dog trots out to it but doesn’t pick it up (earning a 2), he’s still a candidate, but you might have to work a bit harder to build a good retrieve with him. However, a dog that repeatedly ignores the thrown item should receive a 0, and you should probably eliminate this dog as a candidate).

The Toy/Tug Test:

Get out a toy and attempt to get the puppy to play with you. Start an exciting game of tug and then simply drop the toy. Does the puppy run away with the toy and promptly ignore you? Score 0-1. Does the puppy lose interest in the game and walk away from you? Score 2. Does the puppy run away with the toy but then return to you to re-engage play? Score 3. Does the puppy offer you the toy and play bow/attempt to get you to restart the game? Score 4. Score a 4.5 for a puppy that offers a previously rewarded behavior in attempt to restart the game (such as sit or lie down)!

Also subtract points from the overly driven dog that might be too difficult to work with. Does the puppy, when the game appears over, bite/growl/jump all over you/become anxious or over-excited and unable to “Switch off” after the game? This animal might be too high drive for service dog work.

The Food Drive test:

Testing a dog’s food drive is probably the easiest of the exercises. When performing this test, make sure the dog hasn’t just eaten. He shouldn’t be hungry, but he shouldn’t be full, either. Simply get a few pieces of kibble (tiny kibble) or a soft treat and toss it on the ground. How enthusiastically does the dog go for the food? Does he pounce on it and snatch it up, or does he take his time getting to it, sniff it a bit, lick at it and, perhaps, walk away? If the dog ignores the food, you might want to consider passing him by for a dog with stronger food drive. Therefore, give any dog that completely ignores such treats a 0 for this test. On the other hand, If the dog shows some interest in the food and licks it, that earns a score of 1, but if he actually takes it in his mouth and swallows, though not quite eagerly, give him a score of 2 on this test.If he eagerly takes the food and looks to you for more, give him a 4!
The second part of this test involves holding a treat in your hand and placing it in front of the dog’s nose. When he sees it and sniffs it, move it away from him. See if you can get him to follow your hand a few feet. If so, give him the treat and mark him down as 3 or 4 on this exercise (depending on how eagerly he follows you)

The Confidence Tests:

It’s important to select a confident dog as your service dog. Your canine companion will be at your side through many chaotic and potentially frightening events, such as parades and fireworks displays. A dog that is fearful or timid will experience far too much anxiety over the course of its life as a service dog. Hence, it would be cruel to the dog to select one that doesn’t have the right amount of confidence to excel in public work.

The Exploring Test:

Take the dog or puppy to a room or area he has never been before or rarely seen (make sure it’s a secure room that doesn’t pose any dangers for the dog). Take the dog off leash and allow him to explore. If the dog eagerly moves away from you and explores the room, but periodically comes back (checking in with you), give him a 4. After he’s explored for a few minutes, call him to you, if he comes, keep his score at 4. If he looks at you but doesn’t come (or comes part way), drop his score to 3. If he completely ignores you, give him a 2. If he huddles close to your legs (or cowers beneath something), wines, trembles, and his tail is tucked, give him a 0. Score all reactions in between those extremes, accordingly. Finally, if the dog bolts away from you, eagerly exploring, never looks back at you and, when you try to call him, completely ignores you, you should consider giving him a 1 because, although this dog is confident, he may be too independent to make a good service dog. A dog that completely ignores you may also have a hearing impairment, so you may wish to have the dog evaluated by a veterinarian.

The Umbrella Test:

Take your umbrella and, while the dog is close to you and paying attention, open it suddenly, place it on the floor, and take three steps back. If the dog eagerly goes up to the umbrella and sniffs or plays with it, give him a 4. If he startles momentarily but still eagerly approaches it and sniffs or plays with it, his score should still be 4. If he runs away and refuses to approach it, his tail tucked, give him a 0. If he walks around it, looking like he wants to investigate but doesn’t quite get up the courage, give him a 2. If he first goes up to you, looking a little unsure, but then approaches the umbrella and sniffs or plays with it, give him a 3.

The Shake Can Test:

Take your noise-making can and shake it gently near the dog, then place it on the ground and step away. Use the same scoring method as you did for the umbrella test. Ideally, he should respond the same way he did to the umbrella, either eager to explore it or backing away. Score his reaction using the same criteria as outlined in the Umbrella Test.

Puppy/handler relationship tests

How closely the puppy bonds with it’s primary handler is essential to service dog work. We joke and call these dogs “furry sidekicks” and like robin, they are always eager to tag along and be a part of what we are doing. As usual the middle ground is essential. Puppies too dependent on handlers have trouble problem solving and working independently (very important in your case) and dogs too independent usually make bad service dog candidates simply because they don’t enjoy the work or bond closely enough to see the small signs or signals needed to work.

Handling test

Sit down that the puppies level and stroke the puppy affectionately from head to tail. If the puppy cuddles up to the handler, tries to lick face and get in lap? 4. Did the puppy roll over, or go away? 0-2. Does the puppy nip or jump at hands? 2-3.

The Follow Me test

Have the handler offer the puppy a toy, then get up and walk away. Make sure the puppy sees the handler walk away. Does the puppy readily and confidently follow the handler and forget the toy the minute the handler seems to be leaving? 4. Looks at the handler and follows once the handler takes a few steps? 3. Didn’t follow at all? 0. Followed hesitantly or needed encouragement (tail down, nervous, unwilling)? 1-2.

Attentiveness test

Have the handler do something ‘boring’. A good example is sitting on the floor reading a book. If the puppy engages for a second, and once they discover there is no food/toy reward runs off to find a toy or chew, this puppy scores a 0-1. If the puppy looks at the handler, attempts to engage the handler, touches the handler, sticks his/her nose in the book or tries to get into the handlers lap and once ignored over a time simply lay down next to or in the handler lap calmly.. this puppy scores a 4. If the puppy continues to try to engage, play, touch, poke, this puppy earns a 3-4 (it’s not rudeness, this puppy hasn’t learned basic manners yet, so any attentiveness or attempt to interact is always always positive). Any puppy who ignores, runs away, or reacts with too much gusto without stop (excessive biting, growling, nipping, scratching), scores a 0-2.

Closeness test

How eager is the puppy to have physical contact with the handler. This test is very important for you. A puppy that enjoys physical contact and that close connection is ideal for medical alert and seizure response. Simply observe how the dog bonds. Shy puppies who fear away from handling or puppies who nip, bite or have no interest in physical closeness score a 0-1. The ideal (4) is found in puppies that enjoy to play and interact, but also enjoy plenty of physical contact (in ways of petting as well as nudging, licking and cuddling)

Making a Decision

Once the litter is tested and handler has scored all candidates, a decision must be made. Ideally, you should test each dog at least twice, on separate days (and at different times of the day). However, real life situations often make multiple testing impractical. A single test is usually sufficient if the results are clear. When deciding on a candidate, any dog that scores mostly 3***8242;s or 4***8242;s on the above tests is a good candidate. Dogs that score with mostly 2***8242;s and 3***8242;s are still acceptable candidates, but obviously, the higher the “average,” the better the candidate. Dogs that score several 0***8242;s and 1***8242;s should be rejected as service dog candidates. Dogs that consistently score high should be easier to train for assistance works. It’s very rare to find a dog that scores all 4***8242;s in every exercise. They are puppies, still growing and learning, so it’s important to use judgement when looking at scores.

Disclaimer: I work for Trupanion and love it/our policy! But I do not speak for the company or as the company.
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:45 PM
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Fran101 Fran101 is offline
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Default Links/Books

LINKS: (A wealth of information. forum. laws.) Just a great trainier. Free video list really goes in a great order

Blog on raising service dog puppies

Great basic task training list
another one

Teamwork books (service dog training manual)

Disclaimer: I work for Trupanion and love it/our policy! But I do not speak for the company or as the company.
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:45 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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The info's very interesting, but... I hope you checked with the program for permission to post their curriculum. That curriculum took a lot of thought, experience, and expertise to plan out, and it is part of what you're paying them for. It's possible they might not like all of it to be out on a public forum like this.

But good luck! It's definately a big committment and a lot of work!
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:57 PM
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Fran101 Fran101 is offline
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Originally Posted by lizzybeth727 View Post
The info's very interesting, but... I hope you checked with the program for permission to post their curriculum. That curriculum took a lot of thought, experience, and expertise to plan out, and it is part of what you're paying them for. It's possible they might not like all of it to be out on a public forum like this.

But good luck! It's definately a big committment and a lot of work!
Oh yea I got permission to post the curriculum and puppy test and thanks!

They said it was OK to post since they frequently give out this info in their basic information packets anyway (and since the puppy test itself is kind of a mish mash of other tests and the curriculum is very basic) and that is was fine as long as I don't talk about my specific program/name the program itself

They have basically given me creative/bloggity liberties as long as I don't make a profit off of it and don't release the name of the program
which I think is understandable.. I don't want to be a representative of the whole program or mis-quote something and have them get hell for it.

Disclaimer: I work for Trupanion and love it/our policy! But I do not speak for the company or as the company.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:50 AM
SizzleDog SizzleDog is offline
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I'm so excited for you Fran!

Morado Dobermans... and Talla the Mexidog too! (group photo pending)

Last edited by eddieq; 03-11-2012 at 05:12 PM. Reason: Removed trace of spammer that was quoted
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