Service dogs are more than just highly trained companions; they are the unwavering support that individuals with disabilities rely on. However, these remarkable animals, like all dogs, can experience discomfort in certain situations. As responsible handlers, it's essential to listen to your service dog and understand their cues. In this article, we'll guide you through recognizing signs of discomfort in your service dog and how to respond appropriately, ensuring a positive experience for both you and your furry companion. Plus, we'll emphasize the significance of adhering to Service Dog Standards, ensuring the best care for your service dog. Listening to Your Dog: How to Tell If Your Service Dog Is Uncomfortable Dogs communicate primarily through body language, and keen observation can provide insights into their emotional state. Here are some signs that your service dog might be uncomfortable: 1. Freezing or Stiffening: If your service dog suddenly becomes still or stiff, it could indicate that they are unsure or uncomfortable with their current surroundings. 2. Avoidance Behavior: If your dog is avoiding eye contact, turning away, or trying to move away from a person or situation, it might be a sign of discomfort. 3. Excessive Panting or Drooling: These physical cues can indicate stress or anxiety in your service dog. 4. Whining, Growling, or Barking: Vocalizations can be a clear sign of your dog's unease. Whining, growling, or barking might be their way of expressing discomfort. 5. Licking Lips or Yawning: Dogs use these calming signals to communicate their stress or unease. Responding Appropriately: What Should You Do? 1. Observe and Assess: Pay attention to your service dog's body language and the context of the situation. Determine what might be causing their discomfort. 2. Remove Them from the Situation: If possible, remove your service dog from the situation causing their discomfort. Create a safe space where they can relax. 3. Offer Positive Reinforcement: Encourage your dog with soothing words, treats, or gentle petting when they exhibit calm behavior in challenging situations. 4. Respect Their Comfort Zone: Just like people, dogs have preferences and limits. Respect their boundaries and avoid pushing them into situations that cause them stress. 5. Training and Exposure: Gradual exposure to different environments and situations can help desensitize your service dog. Make sure this exposure is positive and at their own pace. Upholding Service Dog Standards: Building a Strong Partnership Service dogs are more than pets; they're dedicated working partners. Adhering to Service Dog Standards is key to our partnership's success. These
Dog Trainers have a tough job. Not only do they train animals — but they also have what is often a far more difficult task: training humans. And with Service Dogs, a trainer's job is even harder. Service Dog Standards helps trainers make sure that their clients understand not only their rights, but their responsibilities as well. How Service Dog Standards Works for Trainers If you're a trainer and you currently train Service Dogs or would like to begin, create an account on Service Dog Standards. Then, set up your free business or organization page. It's so robust, you can even use it in place of a website — no hosting fees or other costs of any kind. If you have a domain name, you can even forward it directly to your SDS profile page. From there, it's easy to invite clients to join. Example of a Service Dog Trainer profile page on Service Dog Standards Service Dog Standards features: · Free for trainers and handlers forever · Public profile page for service dog handlers with a secure resume · Business listings for dog trainers and breeders · Robust tools to manage service dog puppy candidates, graduates, washouts and more · Manage multiple service animals and their status · Secure training and ownership history · Clear explanation of expectations for service dog trainers and handlers · Service Dog Standards Public Access Test · Service Dog Standards Training and Behavior Standards · Template and guidance for getting a physician letter · Information to help the public better understand the complexities of Service Dogs In addition to these features, Service Dog Standards has a supportive online community of nearly 20,000 service animal trainers, handlers and their families, friends and fans. Check out their website at www.servicedogstandards.org. Based on over a decade of input from experienced service dog trainers and handlers, Service Dog Standards clearly lays out what is expected in terms of training, public behavior and more. Service Dog Standards aims to encourage adherence to the ADA and increase public trust through technology and education.