Task training for pet dogs

Have you heard this saying before? – “All dogs are therapy dogs. The majority of them are just freelancing.” 

Dog lovers know in our hearts the deep benefits we receive from our relationship with the dogs in our lives. But, what if your dog was capable of providing more specific support when you’re home together? Whether you have a disability or there are areas of your home life in which you experience mental, physical, or behavioral challenges, you may be able to teach your dog some helpful tasks. 

Who can do this? 

This training program is built for folks whose pet dogs show potential to provide assistance with daily physical tasks, psychiatric/emotional support, or behavioral support but who do not require public access in the same way a service dog would. Your dog may not be perfectly suited to work for you in public, but they may provide plenty of benefits at home or in places where pet dogs are allowed to visit (friend’s houses, outdoor patios, parks, parties, etc.) 

Tasks your dog can learn 

Many pet dogs can learn the same kinds of assistive tasks that service dogs can learn, and many people benefit from tasks their pet dogs can perform to help them, such as: 

  • Retrieving items 
  • Providing deep pressure input / therapy
  • Interrupting or redirecting human behaviors
  • Medication reminders or other kinds of alerts 

Ways your dog can assist

If your dog loves to help and wants to work, we can help you give them a job that assists you in various ways. Here are some examples of how dogs can help people in their homes.

  • Helping a person with ADHD or other attention challenges stay focused on a task or project 
  • Reminding and motivating a person to take their medication, take daily walks, or participate in self-care routines based on their human’s own behavioral goals
  • Providing grounding for an anxious individual or providing support during situations such as working on a difficult task, making a challenging phone call (where my millennials at?), or even just decompressing at the end of a day. Dogs can position themselves in ways that put pressure on a person or make themselves available for petting on cue.
  • Retrieving and delivering or placing items throughout the home for people with pain or difficulty with mobility 
  • Recognizing a specific movement that a person does when anxious or dysregulated (such as bouncing a leg, picking at skin, etc.) and nudging or resting a head on the person to draw their attention to this behavior and help build awareness when working toward a human behavior change. 
  • Motivating a child to participate in care tasks or daily routines by modeling behaviors such as cleaning up their toys, brushing their teeth, putting away clothes, getting dressed, etc. 

Note: Pet dogs with tasks are not service dogs

If you do not have a disability that requires a task trained service dog to mitigate specific symptoms, it is not legal or ethical to take your pet dog into public places where dogs are not typically allowed. Likewise, if you have a disability but your dog is not trained to behave appropriately as a working dog in public settings where only service dogs are allowed, asking them to work in public may be overwhelming to the dog or harmful to the public and to other people with disabilities who are using task trained service dogs. In addition to working with you at home, if your dog is comfortable, there are many places in San Diego that are dog friendly where your dog could provide support. We do not, however, support individuals who participate in unethically claiming their pet dog is a service dog simply to gain access to take them more places as that is harmful to the service dog using community which we serve. 

Email us to discuss!