Every dog has been bred for a specific purpose whether that is for herding, working, fighting, companionship or other reasons. The dog’s incredible learning ability has made it possible for us to use certain breeds in different types of specialized dog training.
Training your dog to excel at any of the following skills takes a lot of commitment and time but it will be much more rewarding in the end. Some breeds are more suitable to perform different tasks but educating your dog in any way is advisable as basic obedience training is a must
1. Service Training
There are 8 different types of service dogs that all went through specialized training to be able to work with disabled people. You can learn more about the different types in my service dog article but the most common are hearing and guide dogs just to name a few.
To get a service dog, you will need to get a written document from your psychiatrist or doctor where your mental or physical condition is clearly stated. The service dog has to be trained tailored to your specific condition.
The training will depend on the type of service dog that is required. Service dogs can be trained privately but not everyone has the ability and knowledge for such a long and dedicated training. There are many agencies out there that are training the dogs for years before handing them out.
Common dog breeds for service training are Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, and the American Staffordshire Terrier. The dog should be strong and big enough to, for example, comfortably pull a wheelchair.
2. Obedience Training
Obedience training is something that every dog will receive in his life. Basic obedience training usually starts 8 weeks old and includes commands like sit or stay. The goal here is to make the dog obedient to its owner by performing simple tasks on command.
Puppy obedience training should have socialization as the main focus. During this period, your puppy will positively experience as many situations as possible to boost his confidence and prepare him for the environment, including other dogs, people, places, and sounds.
But behavior training doesn’t stop at a young age. The learned commands should be reinforced regularly and new tricks should be taught. Your dog will require daily mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Obedience training is a great way to tire out your dog mentally while bonding with you at the same time.
You can also enroll your dog in a training class if you would like to have some guidance during the process. I would highly recommend you to visit puppy play classes for socialization purposes. Canine interaction is mandatory for your dog’s satisfaction and social behavior.
3. Agility Training
Dog agility sport has been around for 40 years but was only established for entertainment. Today, agility training is all about mastering the obstacles and winning the competitions. But it’s also a fun way to stimulate and tire out your dog as a hobby.
The basic agility obstacles include seesaw, tunnel, hurdle, and weave poles. The handler must lead the dog through the obstacles by only using voice and body language. It is not allowed to touch the dog nor luring it with treats.
Agility training should be started once your dog is one year old to not overstrain the developing joints. The training will vary on the temperament and size of the dog. A timid dog will require more work to not fear certain obstacles like the tunnel. The obstacles must be adjusted to the dog’s size as small breeds can get easily stuck or fall off.
You might want to join an agility class for beginners to try it out yourself and see if your dog is suited for this kind of exercise. You will also have access to all the equipment needed and other more experienced handlers.
4. Behavioral Training
Behavioral training is a bit like obedience training but it mostly focuses on the basic dog behaviors and how to solve undesired ones. It may include housebreaking, digging, barking, chewing, biting, leash manners, coming when called and so on.
To see how well behaved your dog is, the American Kennel Club has developed a Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC) that will determine your dog’s behavior. Click on the link here if you would like to learn more about what the test involves and how you can take it.
If you are really struggling with behavioral problems you can read the resources on this blog or consult a professional behaviorist. There is nothing that can’t be solved with dedicated training and understanding.
5. Therapy Training
A therapy dog is trained to provide comfort and affection towards people in schools, hospitals, hospices, or other facilities. The classification of the therapy dog is not protected by law and they don’t have special access to places like a service dog has.
Your dog will need to pass the AKC therapy dog test to receive the certification. Training classes will follow the certification and will prepare your dog for therapy visits. The following traits are desired in a therapy dog:
- well socialized
- calm and gentle
- friendly towards strangers
- well behaved
- high irritant threshold
- leash trained
Practically any dog could be a therapy dog but the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever are the most common breeds. They are able to help patients stay physically active and build their social and communication skills. Dogs can put a smile on anyone’s face that’s why we love and appre
6. Protection Training
Protection training is a kind of dedicated obedience training. Not every dog is suited to protect and guard as certain traits should be used as basics. Learn about the best guard dogs and what should be expected from them.
A protection dog should be fearless, confident, controlled and naturally suspicious of strangers. Breeds like the German Shepherd and the Rottweiler are best suited for this job. You can take different protection training classes that most likely have some requirements like basic obedience commands such as sit-stay and heel.
What You Should Remember
Every specialized dog training should always come with a great understanding of your own dog. He should be able to explore his abilities at his own pace to avoid fear or boredom. Every training session should end with a reward for the dog so he will look forward to the next session.
Not every dog is suited for the same task. Even dog’s within the same breed can be so different. Do not get frustrated if your dog cannot meet your expectations, he is not doing that to make you mad.
Prioritize your dog’s well being over the training like waiting for your dog to be at least one year old before going into agility. Let me know your experiences with specialized dog training in the comments down below.