Emotional support animals not necessarily need to be as trained as service animals. However, there are a few things to consider before going ahead to train your canine to be a support dog. An emotional support Animal is one that has been recommended to a person by a trained therapist. one needs to be sure that they qualify for a Support dog before they get into the training. If the therapist qualifies you for a support dog then this article is the guide to follow.
Qualities of an Emotional Support Dog
It is paramount to learn the personality of your dog or pet before moving on to training it. The choice of the qualities depends on the recommendation by your therapist. You will choose the animal that fits your requirements.
1. People Oriented- a dog that likes people
2. Friendly_ a dog that likes being with the owner always, common with dogs that have been kept as pets
3. Socialized- a dog that has already learned to live with people and won’t misbehave even when with new people.
Basic Dog Training
There are basic skills that your puppy needs to learn before you feed it with the specific skills for therapy. The time the animal takes to bond with you is crucial. Some dogs may be wild or simply too timid to learn and help. Basic training will help you when devising the training techniques because they may require quite a longer time than you expect.
Here you need to look for the breed that is sociable and friendly to people. Your therapist may propose a few breeds to you but you can also do some research.
Once you have the right breed then you can start with the very basic things such as sit, come, stop etc. The younger the puppy when you start the training the better. A young puppy will grow with the commands and thus incredible obedience.
Train the dog against unrequited habits such as barking, begging for food and lunging especially when in public settings.
Specific Support Dog Training Steps
Support Dogs are useful in treating autism, anxiety among other self-harming behaviors through Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT). DPT involves applying pressure on the chest or the entire body. The Dog needs to be trained on how to apply pressure on your body. The following are the steps to teach your canine.
1. Paws Up Command
It involves luring your dog with gifts and calling it to the sofa and telling it “paws up”
Depending on the size of your dog, you will determine whether to train your dog to fully come up the sofa or use the forelegs only. Continue practicing the paws up command by luring the dog until it is used. You can as well continue practicing without the treats.
3. Paws Off Command
Here you train your dog to be called off from the sofa. It is the same way you will call him off you during the real therapy sessions.
4. Laying on Sofa
Your therapy requires that the dog applies some pressure on you. You will require him to lie on you or your laps. Train him by laying on the sofa. Don’t forget to combine with the Paws up and off commands. For the case of a large dog, teach him to lie on the laps or to “paws on” with only the forelegs to be able to control the pressure.
5. Anxiety Signs Training
In this stage you make your dog learn specific sounds that will tell him that you need its help. By rewarding the dog, He will obviously master these sounds and can always come to your rescue whenever you call.
Support dogs are really a source of therapy and relief. Provided you have your dog properly trained, you will always have the relief you need at home. Try it. It works!!