Tattle is a Mobility Dog that we trained for a veteran with MS and PTSD.
Here you can see her working on her “take it” and “hold” commands.
A formal retrieve is a more complicated behavior than it may appear on the surface, and is actually a chain of several behaviors. First, the dog has to be able to identify the right item to retrieve. Secondly, they must go to it directly, and pick it up without dropping it. They cannot chew or play with it, as this could damage the item. They must bring it directly to their handler, and depending on that person’s individual disability, the dog may have to place the item in their hand or lap. The dog must also be able to release the item willingly.
Here you can watch Tattle while she was in the training phase of this behavior chain. The command “take it” is for her to grab a given item, and “hold” means to gently bite down without chewing the item. If you watch closely, you can see that her confidence is better on softer items like the pouch, and that she isn’t as comfortable grabbing the cane. The cloth wrapped around the cane is to help her out. She can start by biting the softer part, and we can gradually fade it out.
Notice also that Tattle’s confidence grows throughout the session. This is a typical session for this type of skill, and is only 5 minutes long. You can see how much progress we made in that time, and she will do better and better every time she works on it. These skills can take a long time to teach, which is why service dog wait lists are so very long. These skills also require maintenance, which is why owner support and follow up is so critical.
Service Dog Training with Kentucky Dog Training LLC
Due to the time commitment required, we take a limited number of service dog clients at a time. We specialize in public access training and proofing of obedience behaviors, but we do offer certain types of task training. There are some types of task work that we are unable to offer at this time, but we may be able to refer you to a colleague. Please reach out to us if you have any questions about service dog training.