© Tammie Rogers 2020

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Service Dog Handler Requirements Not everyone can own a dog and provide the life it needs and deserves to be happy and healthy. Far fewer people have the wherewithal to handle a Service Dog. A Service Dog Handler / Owner should Maintain the dog’s health by providing appropriate and timely o nutrition o exercise o grooming o down-time / secure relaxation o secure management from environmental hazards o veterinary care (worming, parasite intervention, vaccinations etc…) Be capable of maintaining focus and attention on the dog, especially when in public places. o Consider the skills necessary to be singularly responsible for a three year old child. o Realize that keeping tabs on the dog’s behavior is more important than eating a meal at a restaurant or watching a television show at home. Be able to instantly evaluate that intervention is necessary o to keep the dog safe o to stop the dog from triggering on a distraction o to prevent a stranger from interfering with your dog o to deliver a necessary command or correction Be able to immediately execute the actions necessary for the above mentioned interventions Have the capacity to impose her will upon the dog o to offer benevolent leadership o to control the dog if it misbehaves o to establish predictability, trust and respect Recognize and own the responsibility for the dog’s behavior always in all ways Willingly and promptly seek assistance when necessary to maintain the dogs best condition, psychologically and physically Feel confident expressing the following ideas o To resolve unacceptable behavior, a correction method should be used. o To encourage a dog to present new /challenging behaviors, a positive reinforcement method should be used. o A balanced approach to training makes sense to me. o its my job to be able to evaluate and execute the appropriate methods in a calm, relaxed and confident manner A student who is learning to become a Service Dog handler is likely to present the following conditions, during class and at home o Performance anxiety o Stress o concern, worry o frustration o anger o self-doubt o irritability must be able to move through those challenges o without taking out the frustration, anger or stress on the dog o and quit working with the dog when he experiences heightened emotional conditions must refrain from any form of physical abuse to the dog must be courteous to others in the class and at home when working with his dog must not permit her dog to interfere with other students or dogs in the classroom or in public should recognize and respect that the instructors have good intentions and are coaching rather than judging should recognize that family members most probably have good intentions and are coaching rather than judging A disabled individual who is not able to handle his own dog, can still benefit from a Service Dog. However, a competent dog handler must be responsible for the dog’s behavior. A parent may handle the service dog for her disabled child, as long as she can maintain the standards defined above for the dog’s care and behavior.