A service dog is a dog that is trained to perform a specific task (or tasks) to mitigate some aspect of the handler’s disability. Tasks are defined as a behavior that has been individually trained to aide the handler in some way (i.e. licking the face is comforting but not a task, while licking the face as an alert to low blood sugar is considered a task). Service dogs are protected under the ADA for public access and may be taken to non-pet-friendly places, provided they have undergone public access training, are well behaved in a public setting, and are at least in training for a task(s). Service dogs can be used for anything from seizure alerts and diabetes alerts to psychiatric conditions, such as PTSD and panic disorders. Service dogs must go through rigorous public access and task training that emotional support animals do not require. They must learn to ignore dropped food in restaurants, they must also not be distracted by other people or animals while on duty—distracting a service dog could cause catastrophic health prob-lems if the dog were to miss the signs of an impending seizure, for example.
Maximum K9 can assist you in training your service dog by instilling basic obedience, public access training, and teaching the dog various tasks that will help with the han-dler’s disability. Training your own service dog is definitely possible if the dog has the proper temperament, and we would be happy to evaluate or find the dog if you have a disability and a service dog can help. Maximum K9 can also help you find a puppy to train as a service dog.
Our programs for service dog training vary depending on what tasks you need the dog to perform, how much of an obedience background the dog has, and the dog’s age. The average service dog started as a puppy takes approximately 2 years to fully train. Of course, any dog will require maintenance training to keep its skills sharp as it con-tinues through its life.