Thursday, January 1, 2009

2A Designing a Plan for Assistance Dog Training for out of area trainers

Goal Setting

As we are often asked to help people who are out of our geographical area (but are limited by volunteer time as to how many people we can help), we thought we would provide an example of a fictional Training Plan so you can create your own.

The simple plan below is for a young dog with little basic obedience behaviors. Adapt it to your own dog and situation as needed. You can add in as much detail as you want. You can incoude other tasks and paperwork needed to be done for formal certification as well (
see blog post on Certification).

We recommend that you review this plan each month and record where you are at, and adjust the plan to reflect this.

Each month, assess areas of weakness (in dog, human and team) and add it to training plan. This might include specific fears, reactivity, over-excitability or over-interest you need to work on.

My Long Term Assistance Dog Training Plan
Date:Oct 16, 2009

1. Set up journal for recording training data Oct 2009.

2. Set Preliminary Goal:
Sue Ailsby’s Training Levels to Level 3 by the end of Jan 2010 including 19 behaviors listed below (chosen for their potential in teaching foundation behaviors for the Assistance Tasks identified in step 9)
Behaviors are taught in: family room, bedroom, garage, back yard, front yard, local park.

Down stay
Go mat
Loose leash walking
Sit stay
Stand stay
Trick (train assistance tasks)
On the Road (pass previous level in strange location)

3. Level 4 complete March 2010 (use service tasks that fit into the training plan under tricks)

4. Canine Good Neighbor Training Preparation May 2010

5. Level 5 complete June 2010

6. Canine Good Neighbor test June 2010

7. Get written prescription from Doctor July 2010

8. Practice on specific behaviors to Level 7 as needed for your specific assistance tasks Aug 2010

9. Begin Formal work on training and consolidating Assistance Tasks Aug 2010

Out of Home Assistance Tasks:
A. Retrieve objects when in chair
B . Use target stick to retrieve an indicated item off low shelves in stores
C. Open and close doors while in chair
D. Put forepaws in lap of wheelchair user, hold that upright position so wheelchair user can access medication or cell phone or other items in the backpack
E . Bring Emergency phone during crisis
F. Go get a family member/neighbor/workmate on command in a crisis.
G. Nudge handler during freezing behavior to rouse handler from a disassociation state or fear paralysis.

10. Take all of the behaviors and tasks "On the Road" to generalize them to many different locations and environments.

11. Begin training for Public Access Test Nov 2010

12. If formal certification is desired (if you live in the U.S., it is optional) search out organizations that will test and certify you and your dog as a service dog. In BC, certification is required to give you rights to use your dog as a service/assistance animal.

13. Take Public Access test Jan 2011

14. Work with Organization that will certify you (if desired or needed).

*This plan is for example purposes only. You and your dog will progress more quickly or more slowly than what the plan indicates.