- File Size: 773 KB
- Print Length: 143 pages
- Publication Date: September 24, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B015SJ32AM
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,031 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Training Your Own Service Dog: Step by Step Instructions with 30 Day Intensive Training Program to Get You Started Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Author: Lelah Sullivan, AKA Shana Cohen
Year Published: 2015
Available: On Amazon, as an eBook
Approximate Time to Read: About an Hour
Training Your Own Service Dog: Step By Step Instructions With 30 Day Intensive Training Program To Get You Started is, per the author, a crash course in the foundation behaviors necessary to begin public access work and task training with your Service Dog candidate. The book recommends clicker training and provides reasonably detailed guides on training some key obedience behaviors, public access skills, and a couple of common tasks. It also provides some educational material on "Some Things to Know," which includes things like:
What is a Service Dog?
What does a Service Dog do?
The difference between work and tasks
ID and certifications
Basic overview of Service Dog laws and access rights
Possible tasks and/or work for various disabilities
Choosing a suitable candidate
Do's and Don'ts of Public Access
Basic training terminology
The author, who self-identifies as "Lelah Sullivan, AKA Shana Cohen," dedicates the book and the training program within to her Uncle Joseph, whom she credits with introducing her to dog training decades ago. Some of her family members raised and trained dogs for the circus. Eventually, her Uncle Joseph began breeding dogs with the intent of producing more dogs like "Pup," who was a very special, highly interactive, stable dog with incredible working ability. Even though the author cites herself as having been exposed to a Service Dog as a child, she notes she didn't really have any reason to think about them until she herself acquired a disability. She put her lifetime of dog training experience to work owner-training her own Service Dog, and decided to share her way of doing things with the owner-trainer world.
In a nutshell, Training Your Own Service Dog: Step By Step Instructions offers a very basic introduction to dog training and to teaching some basic behaviors like offering eye contact, nose targeting, place training, sit, down, and under. It recommends "Leashing," or tethering the dog to you so the dog is never more than a few feet away at any given point in time during the initial training and bonding process, and the book advocates utilizing many super short sessions per day over one long one. Later on in the 30 Day Intensive Training process, foundational retrieve behaviors are covered, along with basic heeling exercises and some public access skills.
I liked the systematic and step by step way Training Your Own Service Dog: Step By Step Instructions With 30 Day Intensive Training Program To Get You Started covered important skills and behaviors. The book offers lots of details that are easy for people with little to no training background to overlook, and it repeats things frequently in a way that makes them easily stick. The author also offers a free coaching session with the purchase of the book so she can answer any training question that might come up that the book didn't answer. That was quite generous of her! We didn't take advantage of her offer, so we can't tell you anything about responsiveness or quality of the support.
I did not like how basic the book was, even though it was stated in the beginning that the book was geared towards absolute beginners or those inexperienced with dog training. There's this theme of "Just do this, and everything will proceed as planned, yay!" that gets a bit off-putting after a bit. It's great to be upbeat, but it's unrealistic to expect everything to be perfect. It's very difficult to teach the breadth and depth of skills she suggests teaching in only 30 days, although, to be fair, the book does offer a great foundation from which to move forward. Just don't expect to have a functional formal retrieve from the 5 days of training suggested!
There's also a suggestion that training time should be spent on grooming behaviors so that the Service Dog in Training can be fully shaved down before beginning work in public. I found this a bit odd, truth be told, although the steps provided for desensitizing a dog to grooming are excellently laid out.
For the absolute beginner, this book offers a solid place from which to begin. However, its price of $9.99 is quite steep for a book that can be read and digested in less than an hour. If you think you'll be referring back to it often, it's a valuable add to your training library, and you can purchase it here. For a trainer or handler with even a little bit of experience working with Service Dogs or in training, this is probably one to pass by, especially for such a steep price.
I also loved the way the author kept focusing on the two being a team that cannot be parted, I hadn't fully realized somehow that the service dog and the handler are truly two parts of a whole. My head had wrapped around it, but they way it was explained gently and repeatedly really drove home the logistics to actually make it happen.
Another point I thought was exceedingly helpful from an integrity standpoint was that in any phase of training they don't go to public places without a "SERVICE DOG IN TRAINING" vest and not be tempted to claim it is an actual service dog until the dog is 100% trained and exceptionally reliable. It may not seem like a big deal when one is almost finished, but if that line is crossed IN MY OPINION, we are no better than the people who buy false licenses and vests to parade (or carry) their pet dogs around as service dogs. I once saw a particularly badly behaved, non-neutered, but immaculately groomed dog wearing a 'Service Dog' vest marking every single planter in a large mall with a woman shrieking at it and jerking the 6' lead trying to get him to walk somewhere in proximity of herself and failing miserably. When approached by a mall employee she shrieked at him also about her "rights." Cringing, I was counting the witnesses of this on both floors as we were on the first, but the noise had gathered quite a crowd at the railing of the second floor and guessed at our unusually active political population on the percentage that would contact their politicians Monday morning. The danger with this is giving the impression to the public and most especially business owners that less than exquisitely trained & behaved dogs are a substantial percentage and they no longer will support service dog policies. Also, that incident will be remembered and story retold much longer than five persons with real service dogs that simply did their jobs as their handlers went about their business. It would irrevocably ruin someone with a disability to become a prisoner in their own homes again if we lose the right to use service dogs to mitigate the hazards and severe inconveniences that many disabled persons, including our war veterans, face when leaving home. These last few sentences are my own, not the author's stated opinions. Her's simply was not to blur the line between a very advanced dog in training and a fully trained service dog. My thoughts took it the next steps forward. After reading her book and polite reactions to the public accosting her dog when working, I cannot imagine her saying anything so baldly in its' implications. She seems too polite to do so.
This book taught me more that is directly applicable to my situation than the last 5 dog training books I've read. It is highly recommended. My husband has also promised to read it so there will be no miscommunications-he likes to sneak treats from his plate (& some explanation to the method of my madness) when we proceed on this journey. I'm very excited to begin reading the other books she has published as she has promised many more!