Starting to train an assistance dog
In early training each of our dogs will work with one of our Trainers. Each dog has their own individual character, so by getting to know them well our trainers bring out the best in each of our dogs.
During early training they work with each of their dogs to:
- Develop obedience – ensure the dog is responding to commands accurately and consistently
- Train them to work confidently with the various requirements that their new owner will have such as walking next to a wheelchair
- Teach them to work confidently in a range of environments in which their owner might live, work and visit
- Teach them the task work they will carry out for his new owner e.g. retrieving dropped items.
- Start to tailor training to their potential owner.
Dogs for Good works to Assistance Dogs International (ADI) standards. In early training each of our dogs is assessed at key points to ensure he’s progressing to meet these standards.
Usually at around 16 weeks after entering early training, our dogs move onto their Instructor for advanced training.
You can support our work by buying a dog in training jacket for one of our trainees.
Creating successful partnerships
The matching process is a crucial part of making sure the partnership between a dog and person is a success. This takes place around 12 weeks into early training. Find out how we carefully match our dogs with their new owners.
Caring for our dogs in training
Our Kennels & Welfare Team look after our dogs when they aren’t working with their Trainers.
The team ensure that our dogs are fed, watered and regularly toileted throughout the day. They are also health checked each week and groomed a minimum of 3 times a week.
They also provide a variety of enrichment activities for our dogs to keep them mentally stimulated, happy and relaxed, which our dogs love. Activities include:
- Free running on their own or with other dogs in our large field with play equipment
- Toy time with other dogs and toys
- 1-2-1 sessions using tellington touch
- Chew time – nylobones and kongs
- Nina Ottosson wooden puzzles
- Sound via the radio and the clix cd
- Scent via aromatherapy – lavender and patchouli and eucalyptus
The dogs receive a pre-training vet check when they arrive in for training, another check 2 weeks before the training course with their new owner, and again during the training course. This gives the owner a positive experience of a vet, and a chance to talk about any concerns they may have.