Service Dog Trainer Skills – Learning to Teach from a Wheelchair
For a new service dog trainer or dog trainer student, training dogs to sit, down, stay, come, place, and fetch can be challenging at times, even while standing up and walking around normally. But for some service dogs, learning to understand commands and take direction from someone in a wheelchair is critical to their success. Learning to train dogs from a wheelchair can be a challenge, but is relatively simple once you have practiced and developed a technique.
In order to learn to train a dog from a wheelchair, you have to first learn to become comfortable in the wheelchair and learn to maneuver it with ease. Next, you will need to make sure that the dog is comfortable with the movement of the wheelchair itself and then with someone sitting in it. If you are working with a dog or puppy that is not completely comfortable with the wheelchair, we will often feed them in and around the device until they develop a strong, positive association with it. Then, you will need to determine which approach you will take in training the mobility service dog.
There are two primary ways of training dogs to work with wheelchairs. One method is to train the dog to perform all of it’s required commands as you normally would and then begin to reinforce these commands form the wheelchair. This method can sometimes achieve faster results initially, but require more work in the latter stages of training.
Another method of training the mobility dog is to conduct all of its’ training from a wheelchair. With this method, you will conduct every aspect of training, from the teaching phase through the proofing phase, while seated, from the wheelchair. This method of training will require more skill and patience in the initial stages of training and will require the service dog trainer to often modify their technique to teach certain skills. Teaching the heel and fetch from this position can require a great deal more work but the end result will be more effective.
A service dog trainer is required to train dogs around all sorts of equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, and canes. Learning to work with these devices and to teach dogs to accept them is a vital skill for any service dog trainer. We offer a progressive Service Dog Trainer Course through our School for Dog Trainers that will teach you all aspects of training and working with a variety of service dogs. If you have questions about our programs or are interested in learning to train service dogs as a career, feel free to contact us at 866.200.2207 or email us at email@example.com