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Rules Differ for Service Animals Vs. Emotional Support Animals – Here’s How

Many people feel overwhelmed and confused about the rules governing service dogs and Emotional Support Animals.

This is worrying because it means people who are already living with disabilities sometimes are not taking advantage of all the privileges they are entitled to and that will make their lives easier.

Even worse, it also means that people get put off registering their pets in the first place and struggle on without their support needlessly.

If you find the rules confusing, know you are not alone. Read on for an outline of the law, and if you need any further help, advice, or support – contact us.

We’ve been helping people with service animals and Emotional Support Animals for over 25 years. It’s our job to keep up with changes in the law and find solutions to help our clients. We’d love to help you too!

What’s the Difference Between a Service Animal and an Emotional Support Animal?

Service Animals

A service animal is usually a dog (or sometimes a miniature horse) who is trained to carry out specific tasks for someone who is physically or psychiatrically impaired. Service animals are also known as assistance animals, assist animals, support animals, or helper animals depending on the tasks the animal is trained to carry out and the country.

In order to qualify for a service dog, you must have difficulty performing at least one major life activity without assistance. Although you don’t need a letter from a doctor to qualify for a service animal, if you are legally challenged you will have to provide documentation that provides proof of your disability.

For more information about who qualifies for a service dog and how to register, visit our Service Dog Registration Page here.

Emotional Support Animals

In contrast, an Emotional Support Animal doesn’t carry out specific tasks for their human companion, but they help people with emotional or mental health conditions stay calm in a situation that might otherwise be triggering for them.

In order to qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, they must have been prescribed by a licensed therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist, which means they become part of your treatment plan. Although it’s not a legal requirement to register your Emotional Support Animal, doing so legitimizes your animal and means you have less trouble and less explaining to do when you need to take them into places where they are not usually allowed.

For more information about qualifying for and how to register an Emotional Support Animal visit our registration page here.

Housing Rights for People With Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

According to The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, landlords and property managers are required to allow a service animal or Emotional Support Animal to live with their owner even in properties where pets are otherwise not allowed and they cannot charge you an additional fee.

This means if they have a “cats only” policy, and your service animal or Emotional Support Animal is a dog, they must allow them to live with you. They are also not allowed to discriminate about animals of a certain size or breed.

Click through for detailed information about the rules governing housing and service dogs or Emotional Support Animals.

Flying with Your Service Animal and Emotional Support Animal

According to the Air Carrier Access Act, airlines must allow you to fly with your service animal or Emotional Support Animal in the cabin with you and they may not charge you an extra fee.

If you have a service animal, you do not legally need to provide documentation, although you do need to be able to explain to airline staff which tasks your service dog assists you with. Although you’re not legally obliged to, airlines ask that your service animal wears identifying patches or a vest, a service leash, and an ID card from a creditable agency like the National Service Animal Registry.

For more information about flying with your service dog, read our guide.

The rules are slightly different for an Emotional Support Animal.

Although airlines must allow you to fly with your service animal in the cabin and must not charge you an extra fee, you do need to provide documentation. You must have a letter from a licensed therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist and some airlines will also require your therapist, or physician to fill in a form. We can help you get all the documentation you need, click here for more information.

Like with service dogs, owners of Emotional Support Animals are advised to get service patches, a vest, a service leash, and an ID card for their animal before they fly. Although you are not obliged to do this legally, it is a requirement for most airlines and will mean you encounter fewer problems when traveling with your Emotional Support Animal.

For detailed information about flying with your Emotional Support Animal, read our guide.

Taking Your Service Animal Or Emotional Support Animals Into Public Places

According to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) people with service dogs must be allowed into places of public accommodation, which is pretty much any business open to the public except private clubs and places of worship.

This means you can take your service dog along to restaurants and bars, movie theaters and libraries, shops, schools, gyms and hospitals.

For more details about public places where you can legally take your service dog, please read our guide.

The rules are different for people with Emotional Support Animals. There is currently no legal requirement for places of public accommodation to allow you to bring along your ESA.

You may find, however, that having a fully registered ESA with an ID card and identifying patches, vest, and service leash means staff in public places are more likely to let your ESA accompany you.

Click here for more detailed information about your legal rights for your Emotional Support Animal.

Different Rules For Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals

The rules do vary slightly between service animals and ESAs, but remember, we’re always here to offer you help, support, and advice. If you need any further information about these or any other issues about service and Emotional Support Animals, please contact us.

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How to Properly Train Your Service Dog

A service dog can be a major asset to your life if you suffer from a disability. This could be anxiety, physical ailment, or emotional disability. While some people reach out to an organization to provide the animal, others would prefer to use their own dog. Many feel the process will be easier with their own dog as they already feel comfortable with them. For many people, hiring a professional to train your dog with you is the best way of making them a support animal. Others would rather attempt the training on their own. Here are some tips for properly training your dog to be a support animal.

Find Your Dog

If you don’t already have the dog you want to make your support animal, you will have to find one. It’s widely believed that the breed of the dog is an important factor. It’s actually the temperament that is most important rather than the breed. When choosing a dog to be trained as a support animal, you want one that is intelligent and trainable. For this reason, it’s best to choose a dog between six months and a year in age. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a dog that will approach you without hesitation and doesn’t show aggression, such as growling. A dog that desires contact with you is also good as this shows it’s more docile.

Basic Training

The first part of training a service dog is making sure that they understand basic commands and obedience. These basic commands, such as “sit” and “down,” are useful for any dog but are more important for service dogs. An important aspect of a service dog that separates them from others is their obedience. A service animal must have excellent obedience skills in order to help you. An important aspect of training is to ensure that they don’t get distracted by sniffing other animals or people. This training is often done by having someone walk up to you while the dog is looking at you. If the dog looks at the other person, they should look right back to you. This is because they need to know to pay attention to you and not become distracted. During these early stages of training, the dog is often rewarded with treats.

Special Skills

When training your dog to be a service animal, you’ll teach them specific skills. These skills will depend on your disability because those with different disabilities will need their service dog to perform different tasks. While dogs are smart and can learn many skills, they can only take in so much information in a short period of time. To avoid overwhelming your dog, the skills should be taught slowly, step by step. For example, if you’re teaching your dog to retrieve keys, you first need them to respond to the word “keys.” Then you need to teach them to pick the keys up and bring them to you. It’s best to teach these skills in five to ten minute intervals.

Living with a disability can be made easier with the assistance of a support dog. Properly training the dog is essential to ensuring that they are qualified to help you when needed.

Contact the National Service Animal Registry for more information on registering your dog as a support animal or receiving a service dog certification online.

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How Service Dogs Help People with PTSD

According to the American Disabilities Act, or ADA, service animals are those that have been trained to perform certain tasks for a disabled person. These tasks may include physical activity or emotional support. Service dogs are commonly used to help those that are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD. These service dogs have been specifically trained to assist someone that has experienced some form of significant trauma. Here are some of the ways that an ESA dog registration can help someone suffering from PTSD.

Provide Security

There are a variety of incidents that could cause someone to suffer from PTSD. If a patient has been a victim of an assault, this could cause them to fear leaving their home. A service dog can serve as both a companion and as security for that person. The existence of a dog may make them feel protected, should they fear that someone might enter their home or approach them. As a victim of assault, they may also fear leaving their home by themselves. A service dog can serve as a companion so that they will never be alone, potentially causing them less stress or fear that something might happen.

Self-Sufficiency

Those suffering from PTSD may find it more difficult to live independently and completing certain tasks, such as taking medication or sleeping through the night. Those that use a service dog tend to take their medication more regularly. Additionally, they sleep better through the night with the assistance of a companion so they function better the next day. The assistance of a service animal with these daily tasks will allow those suffering from PTSD to function better independently.

Greater Coping Skills

The assistance of a service dog can help someone suffering from PTSD cope better with their situation and receive help from others. Dogs that have been trained to help with PTSD have certain behavioral traits that will be observed by the person. The presence of the dog will also force the person suffering from the condition to focus on the animal, as they will be playful and loving. This focus on something other than what has caused their condition will help them become less anxious and more self-sufficient.

Modulate Stress Level and Tone of Voice

PTSD can cause increased stress levels and a change in the tone of voice, potentially making communicating with others a difficult process. When working with a service dog in the comfort of their own home, they will need to reduce stress and use a certain tone of voice in order for the dog to react to their commands. This will allow them to practice adjusting these attributes so that they will know how to control them when associating with other people.

A Loving Companion

A major impact of PTSD is that the person suffering from the condition may be unhappy due to the feeling of isolation, stress, and uneasiness around others. In addition to providing a feeling of security and confidence, a service dog is a loving companion. This will allow the person suffering from PTSD to feel less isolated and happier in their daily life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can be caused by a variety of factors and be very difficult to overcome. The assistance of a service animal with psychiatric service dog registration will allow that person to be more independent and happier in their daily life. Contact the National Service Animal Registry if you’re looking for a service animal to help with PTSD.

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Train an Emotional Support Dog to Calm Anxiety

Emotional support animals (ESAs)  are known as dependable companions for individuals with emotional or mental disorders. In contrast to service dogs, emotional support dogs don’t need special training and provide physical assistance to disabled people. However, it doesn’t mean that emotional support dogs will be untrained or behave badly. There is no federal law that requires an emotional support dog to receive specific training before registration, a well-behaved and well-trained Emotional Support dog is simply recognized by others, particularly when you travel with it in an aircraft cabin or are looking for new accommodation. If you’re planning to adopt or purchase a dog for emotional support, or if you intend to train your pet dog, you will follow the guidelines below before you start the training.

What Is an Emotional Support dog?

Emotional support dogs are quite different from service dogs when the thing comes to purpose. Instead of helping in physical activities, Emotional Support Animals dogs provide emotional support to their owners. A dog does not have to undergo any special training just to become an Emotional Support dog. However, the dog should be well-behaved and respond better to his handler. With this, it is essential to consider the traits of dogs to ensure that he can perform the job well. Generally, you will need a dog with a laid-back and mellow nature.

Some of your perfect choices include:

  • Border Collie
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Poodle
  • Bulldog
  • Bullmastiff

Now, this does not mean that you cannot get breeds that are not as subdued. You can get a high-spirited dog or one that is full of energy if you need it. There will not be any issue with that as long as you are willing to spend time and effort in training them to behave. Speaking of training, here is what you want to know.

Qualities of Emotional Support Dogs

The features of a puppy depend almost completely on its parents and breed. Few dogs were born aggressive, over-excited or timid, but it doesn’t mean that these imperfect personalities can never become an emotional support dog if they received the training to do so. An about 1-year-old with a calm and responsible personality can start training. It’s also perfect to look for breeds that are more human orientated and eager to learn like Poodles and Golden Retrievers.

Basic Obedience Training

After selecting a dog, you will start the course with obedience training, involving Heel, Sit, Stop, Down, and Come, etc. The sooner you start with these lessons, the easy it will be to train your emotional support dog. Apart from obedience training, going outside to socialize will also be trained to prevent anti-social behavior like begging, barking, lunging or jumping for food.

Emotional Support Dog Training

Various of the people who need an emotional support dog frequently suffer from autism, anxiety, and are susceptible to self-harming behavior for many reasons. Several studies suggest that the presence of a dog aids to calm these patients and reduce the possibility of recurring stressful attacks. In these cases, properly trained, emotional support dogs apply suitable pressure on the body of owners, chest or other body parts depending on the size of the dog. For instance, a little Papillion will lie directly on the chest of owners, but a tall Alaskan Malamute has to place its feet or head across the lap or legs of owners. This method is particularly appropriate for people who suffer from airsickness. Here’s how to teach your dog this skill.

Step 1: Paws Up Command (On The Sofa)

If your dog has to get used to sitting on the sofa, you can need to tempt it with a few tasty treats. The first step is to show your dog the treats, whilst at the same time slow-moving to the sofa and giving the Paws up command. Give it the treat when you’re near the sofa.

Step 2: Repeat The Exercise

The result of the exercise depends on whether your dog is willing to join you on the sofa, so you can need to practice it patiently, particularly with an adult dog. If you’re a little dog, the main goal is to have all 4 paws on the sofa. Whilst it’s like a big breed to place only the front paws or head on the sofa. Repeat this exercise with treats unless it comprehends what this command generally means.

Step 3: Paws Off Command

The next step is to train emotional support dog to take paws away in the paws off command. This procedure wants to reverse the paws up exercise and wants to take your dog off the sofa with the paws off command.

Step 4: Keep Emotional Support Dog On the Sofa

To calm your anxiety, your dog will apply physical pressure to you. In the case of a little dog, it’s perfect to call it to hug you while it’s lying vertically beside your body, with its paws on your shoulder and its head near yours. While a big dog will put its paws on your legs or lap and keep its head down when you’re in a sitting position. After you will say paws up, followed by the command as soon as it sits next to you. Provide the dog a treat after finishing this task and order it to place its paws down. After some time, try to command your emotional support dog without offering it treats to understand that this is a task instead of a reward game.

Conclusion

Having a dog around can relieve your stress. However, if you’re dealing with significant emotional or psychological impairments, an emotional support dog can be an amazing therapeutic treatment. Click here to find out more about qualifying.

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Training Your Service Dog for Anxiety: Steps to Follow

Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. Millions of people suffer from severe anxiety every year. Thankfully, we’ve recently discovered that trained service dogs can provide a lot of comfort and relief for those who experience regular anxiety or panic attacks. If you believe that you can benefit from having an emotional support dog to help ease your anxiety, you’ve come to the right place! Below is a brief step-by-step guide to help you choose and train your emotional support dog and receive a registered emotional support dog letter.

#1 Choosing the Right Dog for You

You may be a lover of all dog breeds, but there are particular breeds out there that are better fit for comfort and support. It’ll all come down to a dog’s temperament, which is basically a combination of his personality, instinctual behavior, and natural ability to follow instructions. This means that you may want to avoid breeds that are more aggressive or hyper. Experts recommend looking for dogs that are social, alert, focused, and don’t become easily startled. When you meet a new puppy, you’ll most likely know right away if it’s the right service dog for you!

#2 Begin the Bonding Process

It’s important for you and your dog to get to know each other while he’s still a youthful pup! He needs to understand your behavior and personality just as much as you need to understand his. When you start to bond, you can begin to lay the groundwork for his job, which is to detect your rising anxiety levels. The more time you spend together, the more he’ll start to understand this and be able to detect the difference between your relaxed state and your anxious state.

#3 Begin Basic Training

Remember that your service dog will be able to accompany you in public places, so it’s incredibly important for him to be properly trained. He should be able to follow basic commands such as sit, stay, lay down, heel, and come. It’s common for this to be a bit difficult for dog owners, especially if they’ve never trained a dog before. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional dog trainer to help guide you through the basic training process.

#4 Begin Anxiety Response Training

Once you and your dog have had time to bond and perfect basic commands, you can start to target his response to your anxiety. You can do this in a number of different ways, such as cuddling him when anxiety hits or giving him a treat when you feel anxious. He’ll naturally start to pick up on the change in your energy and begin to understand that he should remain close when you’re experiencing anxiety.

#5 Register Your Service Dog

Once you feel your dog is prepared to be an official emotional support dog or service dog, then it’s time to get him registered! Our website has all the information you need to properly register your dog and receive your emotional support dog letter. We also provide therapist referrals, information on housing rights, and even emotional support products for your pup!

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Service Dog Training: Everything You Need to Know

For those who benefit from physical, emotional, or medical assistance throughout daily life, a properly trained service dog can be an incredible asset. Not every animal is qualified to become a service dog, as service dogs must offer a combination of the proper temperament to serve, the acute skills to perform tasks for their owners, and the ability to complete the rigors of service dog training. Service dog training is intense, but it’s critical for dogs to confidently perform the desired tasks and aid their owners with potentially life-saving skills.

But what is involved in the proper training of a service dog? Service dog registration doesn’t necessarily qualify a dog to perform the role of a service animal, as both dog and owner must be confident in the animal’s ability to perform. There are many questions that the average person may have regarding service animal training, such as how much it costs and what role the owner must play in the training regimen. Keep reading to learn more about the training of service dogs.

How Long Does It Take?

While the average dog obedience class may be completed in a matter of weeks, service dog training requires a greater depth of knowledge and a far more rigorous training schedule. After all, for many who depend on service animals, a dog’s ability to consistently perform can mean the difference between life and death. While there’s no set time for service dog training, the training window can typically last between one and two years, depending on the aptitude of the animal and the types of tasks it’s being trained to perform.

What’s Involved in Service Dog Training?

There are two primary components within the service dog training regimen. Those two components are public access behaviors and work and tasks. Public access behaviors are important because they allow your dog to be steady and perform its designated tasks, no matter the situation or environment. For example, your dog must be able to perform in a quiet library or a noisy crowd with equal aplomb. Also, your dog must be able to behave itself well in public to avoid being removed from venues. The second half of the training equation is work and tasks. Those terms refer to the specific tasks your service dog will be trained to perform on your behalf. In other words, work and tasks are the disability-mitigating functions that the dog performs for you. Work and tasks also are important because they distinguish service dogs from emotional support animals and non-service animals. That is the component that qualifies a service dog owner for protections against discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

How Much Does Service Dog Training Cost?

Because of the depth of training that a service dog must undergo, the costs of acquiring a service dog can be quite high, whether you purchase an appropriate dog, and have it trained or buy a pre-trained dog from a service dog program. When comparing the two options, it’s important to note the cost of preliminary veterinary care, the cost of the dog, and the cost to feed and outfit your animal. However, the training costs themselves can range from $1000 to $2000 depending on the length of training and the range of tasks the dog is being trained to perform.

What Is the Owner’s Role in Training?

While a service dog is usually trained by a professional or service dog program, there is a role that must be played by the service dog owner. For many tasks, it’s important that the service dog is in tune with your medical and mental state, which means it must spend time with you to learn your baseline emotional or physiological state. During training, your dog will be attentive and more likely to absorb those cues, which is why it’s important that the owner is accessible to the dog during the training process.

Whether you plan to train or buy a service dog, it’s important that you understand the role played by the owner in training, the associated costs, the length of training, and what is involved with the program. To learn more about service dog training, contact the National Service Animal Registry at (866) 737-3930.

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How a Service Dog Should Behave in Public Situations

Service dogs serve a variety of purposes for individuals with disabilities. If you or your loved one has a disability, contact the best service dog registry to see how a service dog can help. A picture of Sully, President George H.W. Bush’s service dog, sitting beside the former president’s casket in the U.S. Capitol, illustrates the loyalty and obedience of these special dogs. If you have a service dog, you need to know how your dog should behave in public places.

Discipline

A service dog is allowed to go to places where dogs aren’t normally allowed. The dog must be disciplined at all times. Being certified as a service dog requires that a dog be partnered with someone with a disability and be trained to perform specific tasks. The dog must ignore distractions, whether it’s other dogs, people, sounds, or smells.

The dog should not sniff other people, animals, or objects unless it’s part of his or her duties-for example, when the dog is trained to detect allergens. The dog should never sniff just to explore the territory. An object or food on the ground shouldn’t even pique the dog’s interest. The dog should display an even temperament and never appear anxious or aggressive.

Focus

A service dog is trained to perform a task that will benefit an individual with a specific disability, such as muscular dystrophy, paraplegia, or diabetes. The service dog must remain focused on his or her trainer and the trainer’s needs.

Obedience

The service dog must be obedient. The dog should respond to the commands and cues of the handler quickly and appropriately. The dog must be alert for any emergency. In a restaurant or other public place, the dog will sit under a table or by the trainer’s side. The dog may change positions but otherwise is still.

Noise

The service dog should not make any noise. The dog should not bark, growl, or whine unless it’s necessary to get the attention of the trainer or perform a task for the trainer.

Leash

The service dog must walk well on a leash. The dog doesn’t pull or circle the handler unless it’s necessary to perform a task or is a form of communication with the handler. If the handler is performing a task, the dog will sit or lie still until the handler is ready to move.

Appearance

The service dog should be clean and well-groomed. You want the dog to make a good impression on others. Business owners must allow you and your dog to enter their businesses. Your dog’s appearance will go a long way in getting warmer welcomes from business owners.

Manners

The dog must be housebroken. The dog should not urinate or defecate in undesignated areas. The dog should never display aggressive tendencies. A business owner can exclude a service dog in 2 circumstances-if the dog is out of control and the handler isn’t able to correct the dog’s conduct, or if the dog isn’t housebroken and urinates or defecates in an inappropriate manner. Only the service dog can be excluded. The trainer can’t be forced to leave and must be allowed to make a purchase or obtain a service.

Contact the National Service Animal Registry at (866) 737-3930 about making your pet a service dog to assist you with a disability. We’ll explain how service dog registration works. Learn how a service dog can help you perform tasks to make your life easier.

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Train a Hearing Alert Dog

Training your own Alert Service Dog might seem like a difficult task at first, but this article will show you that it is easier than you think.

Dogs love spending time with their people and enjoy learning new things. Once you begin an intelligent and planned training program and are armed with a few tricks to help, you’ll discover training your Service Dog is not only easier than you originally thought, it’s a great way for the two of you to bond have fun!

One key task for all hearing alert service dogs is to bark at specific events, like when someone knocks on the front door. Believe it or not, not all dogs are inclined to bark when you knock on the door. As such, some dogs may need to be taught, if they are going to be an effective alert mechanism for you.

Why do you need to train your Service Dog to bark?

Part of the job of a Hearing Alert Service Dog is to alert you to the presence of strangers. Most, but not all dogs will bark if a stranger comes to their home. It is often an innate, protective instinct.

In addition, training your Service Dog to bark on command is one way to teach him to think critically and communicate effectively. This can enhance his/her quality of life, as well as making yours safer and better.

Teaching a dog to “speak” is straightforward. It will give you confidence and experience to embark on additional training paths with your Hearing Alert Service Dog; a benefit to you both.

Make your Service Dog feel at home

Before you begin the training, think about what you want your service dog to do.

If your dog doesn’t instinctively bark when someone comes to the door, ask yourself why? Maybe your dog is naturally a mellow and quiet animal. That’s ok; it isn’t a problem. With encouragement and training you’ll be able to teach him to bark when you need him to.

Sometimes, though dogs don’t bark instinctively because they aren’t confident enough yet in their home to feel the need to protect it and/or they may have a level of anxiety.

If your dog is new to you, training him as a hearing alert service dog is a great way to start bonding with him or her. Just remember to be patient while he settles into his new home and gets to know you.

If he suffers from anxiety, make sure he has the opportunity to socialize with other dogs and people outside the home. Socialization is the key to lessening anxiety and will make him feel protective both of you and your home. And once he feels protective, he is more likely to bark in the presence of strangers.

How to train your Hearing Alert Service Dog to bark

Step 1: Decide on your reward system

If you’ve already trained your dog for some behaviors, you may already have a reward system in place. If so, use this reward system when teaching your Service Dog to bark and they will no doubt respond to “speak” training very quickly.

If you haven’t yet established a reward system, read on to find out about using a clicker, treats, and other positive reinforcement to make training easier.

Use a clicker. Using a clicker to train your Service Dog is an effective method to teach the dog to identify what it is you want him to do. Every time he demonstrates good behavior CLICK – REWARD – PRAISE. He will learn to love hearing the sound of the click as he will associate it with a treat and your praise, and will be quick to do what you want him to.

Choose great treats. Dogs (and humans!) respond best to rewards they like, so make sure you use tasty rewards when training your Service Dog. Tiny pieces of cheese, bits of sausage or broken up dog treats are great rewards. You can also find a great variety of training treats in your local pet store. It’s good to vary the treats to keep your dog interested. The key is to make sure the treat is something your Service Dog really enjoys. Start your training session with a taste of the treat to get him excited!

Positive affirmation. Rewarding good behavior works with dogs, just like it does with children and adults! When your Service Dog does what you want it to during training, reward it with a click, treat, and praise. Making a fuss for learned good behaviors will show the dog that this is what you want him to do and enable him to associate the behavior with a positive outcome. This will make learning quicker, more effective, and fun for both of you.

Step 2: Reward your Service Dog when they bark naturally

In order to teach your Service Dog to bark on command, start out by waiting for him to bark and rewarding the bark with a treat.

First, give him a tiny taste of the treat (or a sniff of the toy) to get him excited. Then hold the treat in your hand and move it around playfully to encourage his interest. When he makes even the tiniest of sounds, reward him with a click, treat, and praise.

You might have to wait a while at first until he makes the first bark and it might be such a small sound you miss it. Keeping your closed hand (containing the treat) near his mouth, to help you feel his breath when he makes the tiniest of barks. Be playful to keep him interested. Reward these early sounds and they will get more distinct as he gets more confident.

If you’ve already trained your Service Dog to do other things (sit, down etc) he might start working his way through his repertoire to see exactly what it is you want him to do. This is good because he shows he is thinking critically. Ignore all the other behaviors until he makes a sound. See him have an “Aha!” moment when you reward him and he realizes what it is you want him to do!

Once he has made a sound and been rewarded a few times, keep the momentum going but only reward the barks as they sound more distinct. The first time he makes a proper bark give him a few pieces of the treat in quick succession (or a big old tug of war on the toy if that is his reward of choice) to show you are really pleased with his behavior.

Remember to make a fuss of your dog when he does well and to be playful during training. This is a sure-fire way to make sure he loves your training sessions and will respond well to what you are trying to teach him.

Step 3: Teach him a command

Once your Service Dog has started to associate barking with a click and treat, choose a command to associate with the behavior such as “speak” or “talk”.

Now, every time he barks, say the command at the same time immediately followed by click – reward – praise.

It doesn’t matter which command you choose, if you are consistent. Your Service Dog doesn’t know what the words “speak” or “talk” mean. Whichever command you choose will mean “bark” to him.

Step 4: Teach him a hand signal

Once he has responded to the command a few times by barking, add a hand signal (should as a pointed finger) to the command.

Now every time he barks on command combined with the hand signal, click – reward – praise. At first, even a small sound should be rewarded but as he gets more confident only reward the distinct barks as before.

If you do this consistently, he will soon learn that the command and hand signal are associated with barking and that he will be rewarded. Eventually, you may choose to drop the command and have him respond only to the hand signal.

Step 5: Teach him to bark when you want him to

Once you have him barking on command you can train him to bark in certain situations, such as when someone comes to the door or the phone rings.

Rather than training him only when someone really comes to the door or calls you, ask a neighbor or friend to help you practice.

Ask someone to knock on the door, give your Service Dog the command. If he barks, reward him.

Your Service dog will be more interested if you show interest, so make sure to make a bit of a fuss when checking out who it is at the door.

Similarly, ask someone to phone you. Give your Service Dog the command, and reward him if he barks.

Step 6: Teach your Hearing Alert Service Dog to be quiet

Just as soon as you’ve taught your Service Dog to bark, you’ll probably need to teach him to be quiet as you want him to alert you, but not become a nuisance for your or your neighbors.

Now he knows what the command means, only reward barking when you give the command. You don’t want him to think barking will always get a reward.

The best way to train your Service Dog to be quiet is to catch the point where he stops barking, use a command (for example, “ssh” or “quiet”), and reward him. If you do this consistently, he will learn to associate the command with quiet and do it on command.

Practice “speak” and “quiet” together to reinforce the training.

Top tips for training your Service Dog

Little and often is the best way to train a Service Dog. So, practice every day for short bursts. That way your dog will enjoy your attention and learn without getting bored. If your Service Dog loses interest, stop the training for a while and pick it up later. Let him see you put the treats away. When they come out again, he might be more enthusiastic!

Motivation is key. It’s hard to train a dog to “speak” unless he wants to, so motivation is the key to success. Make sure you are playful and enthusiastic during training sessions, use rewards consistently and praise him when he does what you want him to do. This is the way to ensure he loves learning new things, which will make him easier and quicker to train.

Keep treats on hand. Positive reinforcement (rewarding the behavior you want him to demonstrate) is the best way to train a dog. Make sure you always have treats on hand, in your pocket or in strategic places around the house, so you can reward good behavior immediately.

Training isn’t limited to training sessions. Consistency is key when training a Service Dog so don’t limit it to training sessions. When he demonstrates good behavior in real life, take the opportunity to reward him.

All dogs are different. Some dogs are easier to train than others depending on their breed, age, and background. With regard to certain behaviors, such as barking, some dogs and breeds are naturals, whereas others are not so much. Be patient and consistent and your Service Dog will get there in the end.

How to Train Your Hearing Alert Service Dog to Bark

Training your Service Dog doesn’t have to be difficult. Once you get started you’ll realize how well dogs respond to learning new things and how much they enjoy it.

Teaching your Service Dog to bark not only enables him to perform an essential job for you, it also gives him the opportunity to please you and get rewarded, exercise his brain and to bond with you.

As well as helping him to become an effective watchdog you’re also making him happy. Now, there’s something to bark about!