Service Dog Training–get your dog!

Sometimes (not always), Lennie puts his toys away! Other times, I tell him to put them away and he does.
Lennie absolutely loves his toys, and he does pick up his toys sometimes without being asked. Other times I just tell him and he does it. This behavior is really just the same as getting my phone or retrieving anything else for me, but is sure is cute! Have you heard that certain dogs make better service dogs than other dogs? Maybe you have heard the one about teaching old dogs new tricks. I would caution anyone about these and other false claims. I have personally trained old dogs, young dogs, small and large dogs, and Lennie Dawg himself would be deemed “un-trainable” by many standards (he is a little hyper and considered to be too small for a service dog!). Of course, I turned that incredible energy he has into a real asset, and do not attempt to teach him to do things that he is too small to do (he cannot reach light switches). What does Hollywood do when a dog is needed for a movie? Someone goes to the dog pounds in the area looking for a certain ‘look’ for a dog, and then get the dog who most closely looks the role. The dog is then trained by a professional for that movie. Dogs can be trained at any age, and breeds have very little to do with it. About intelligence, it took me several tries to just teach Lennie to shake hands. Now, he learns new things in one day or so. When dogs start learning, the act of learning increases their intelligence as it does in humans. There is definitely learning effects. Many people say Lennie is very intelligent, but that is only so because he is well-trained. He is just a dog, but a trained one. When deciding on what dog to train, you may want to consider the dog’s size. Very small dogs just do not have the ability to retrieve certain things for their handlers. Small dogs, such as the Maltese-poodle we have (Bella) have the energy and want to be service dogs, but she is too small to do much but she does pick up her toys, too. Conversely, large dogs are difficult to travel with on an airplane. Lennie sits in front of me, in the bulkhead seat on airplanes. He fits nicely there without taking any other passenger’s room, and he has traveled over 25,000 miles like that. The airline people love him! However, the size of the dog is a personal choice for you, and maybe you currently have a dog that you will train. Your dog will respond to you when you follow my tips on this site. You should also check other sites for dog training, given that I will not think of everything. However, know also that when dogs are treated with respect, they respect you. Never abuse your dog, and when your dog does not seem to ‘get it,’ just stop for that day and try to find ways to simplify. Remember–their only mission in life is to please humans and they will interpret things around them with their doggie brains. I’ll also give you advice in other places on this site. Stay tuned! Dr. Marcie

© 2018 Dr. Marcie Zinn, Chicago Illinois. All rights reserved.