What Are the Dogs Learning: Socialization and Exposure
When training the service dogs it's imperative that the dogs learn to socialize with other dogs. It's equally important that the dogs be exposed to not only other dogs, but a variety of handlers. In this video you will see our puppy raisers teaching the dogs to be calm, relaxed, and focused on their handler in the presence of other dogs. Take note that the handler has a calm, assertive energy when handling the dogs. Their arm and hand is relaxed and the dog walks in a heal position on the left hand side. The dog must stay focused even with the distraction of other dogs and people in close proximity. This means being able to read their handler's body language and respond to their voice commands. In one part of the video, you will see a handler make a tight left turn with the service dog, and the dog falters just a little because they are still learning how to read the handler's body language. The dogs are all trained with Gentle Leaders which is a leash system where a nylon band rests gently on the bridge of the dog's nose. As the handler turns their hand from left to right, they are telling the service dog which direction to go. To stop, the handler simply bends their hand toward their wrist and then releases, telling the dog what they want them to stop. All of the dogs are trained with positive reinforcement. At the end of the video you see a puppy raiser giving the service dog a treat when they catch the dog being calm, relaxed, and focused.