Service Training At Open Range Pups
3 Core Training Objectives
As Open Range continually strives to develop the best Service Dog Program we have identified areas in the training industry that we believe we can set the bar higher. These are Open Range's Service Dog Training Core Objectives:
- 1Train Amazing Dogs
- 2Provide Service To Anyone In Need
- 3Help Service Dog Owners Become Better Handlers
- 4Open Range Service Dog Training Minimums and Standards Acknowledgment
Train Amazing Dogs
It's difficult to measure what it means to train the best dogs so let us give you, as a customer, some goals and outlines to expect as you continue your search for the perfect Service Dog.
Anyone in need of a Service Dog has different needs and different personality traits. A service dog should match many of your desired traits and qualities. When training a service dog Open Range follows certain training protocols because each service dog should have and maintain a specific minimum set of personality and working traits. However, just as every person is different, every dog is different. Open Range starts creating personality profiles of its puppies as early as 4 weeks old. This helps us suit the customer with a dog they fill comfortable with, that will also match their needs.
Here are some examples:
Your lifestyle should match the dog.
Name a quality that you or someone in your household has and you will be able to find a dog to suit. You can do this with the assistance of a trainer or do it yourself with the right training and information.
At Open Range we train our dogs to be working dogs and home service/assistance dogs. What's the difference?
Working Dogs: most strict training facilities, especially those who exclusively work with the most severe service conditions or needs, only train working dogs. A working dog is a dog who is working 24/7 and we expect their behavior to remain constant and reliable at all times. The main difference here is that they are not given or expected to display many natural "doggy" characteristics; they don't have much play time, they are on stringent schedules, and they are expected to act with perfect proper behavior at all times. Many "working" dogs do not, or cannot, enter service until 18-24 months of age due to maturity.
When is it important to have a "working" only dog? Here are just a few scenarios and conditions where we look for and nurture a dog who will always be working: homes that have children with autism assistance needs (dependent upon the severity of situational behaviors in the home), facilitated guide dogs, hearing ear dogs, alzheimer assistance dogs and most often mobility assistance dogs.
Home Service Dogs: where Open Range tries to fill a gap in the industry is in providing intermittent service "working" dogs. These dogs are expected to "work" at all times in public and obey or provide "offered" services while at home without correction or persistence. The main difference here is that some people want their dog to have "doggy" traits and personality characteristics that fit who they are. For instance: you want a dog to play fetch, tug-of-war, be willing to "play" with you, at home you may want your dog to be able to be free or "off-work", you may want your dog to have more energy than most "working" dogs so they can go on hikes, or other behaviors that add value and happiness to your life and home.
Different dogs have different natural and inherited personality characteristics but every puppy is different no matter what breed you choose. For instance, in the right care, golden retrievers are calm, obedient, and intelligent. If you take on a golden retriever by yourself however, you may find that puppies from genetic lines not bred for quality will be hyper, persist with chewing problems, or exhibit many other unwanted behavioral traits. In the right arms these behaviors can be "shaped" out, but you need to understand how to accomplish each task and improve the behavior over time. At the same time you may find a mutt at the local shelter who doesn't express any un-wanted behaviors, is eager to please, and can learn obedience tasks quickly.
All working dogs MUST perform tasks in public without exerting regressive or aggressive behaviors. Any type of dog put in service MUST be able to work publicly, on command, with trained "offered" services, or other specified trained qualities. It is not appropriate for service dogs to approach others without command, to be easily distracted, or wander. Open Range will not (and neither should any other reputable training facility) allow these types of behaviors in Service Dogs. Desiring these qualities is counter-intuitive to the training of a dog for service.
Provide Service To Anyone In Need
It is unfortunate, but also a simple fact of life, that non-profits will cater to those with the greatest needs and often with minimal or non-existent financial resources. Waiting lists at most non-profits will range from 2-5 years. Most times facilities will require an average of 30% of costs be covered by the new parent ($17,000 should be expected).
So who does the Service Dog industry cater to? People with little income but still enough to cover $17,000, people with severe physical, emotional, or physiological needs, and those willing to wait many years.
Industry Service Dog trainers (especially good trainers) require high hourly training rates. Just FYI, open group training platforms are NOT a recommended training platform for service oriented dogs. Many home training videos that specialize in different service dog models cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to purchase or participate in.
How does Open Range provide service in an industry that is un-regulated, have varing levels of quality, is filled with strong opionions that have nothing to do with the happiness or value to the custome, and an industry where costs range from free to $60,000+ for service?
- 1Open Range offers services in 3 phases. Phase 1 includes the standards of Canine Good Citizen, which is a fairly strict standard for obedience tasks and behaviors. Phase 2 includes the Public Access Test. In this phase Open Range does over 20 hours of public access work in addition advanced obedience requirements and standards. Phase 3 includes training specific for your needs, we call these training modules. In phase training you can pay for training that you can afford and/or desire. Open Range can teach you how to become a trainer and handler so you can finish Phases that you can't afford outright.
- 2Open Range provides quality of training guarantees. These guarantees can be expected from most non-profits but the more you work with local or distant for-profit training centers the greater variables you will have in cost, training, and quality of finished service dog.
- 3Open Range has developed our Puppy Portal for 2018. This takes our service 1 step further by providing you with "proof" of your pups progress. How do we do this? We provide you weekly improvement report cards through the Puppy Portal, weekly training videos, live streamed training sessions, daily activity display shows when your pup starts working everyday and who they are working with, we provide you weekly pictures, veterinary docs and updates, and you can even chat with the staff working on your Service Dog.
- 4Open Range provides genetically proven dogs that come with a 4 year health guarantee. Open Range will also be working with approved pups directly from clients in the near future. We don't believe there is any one breed that works for everyone. Most training companies have a preference and many will live and dye on the idea that their breed is the "best". The "best" dog with Open Range is a dog that fits your needs, meets basic standards for behavior and train-ability, and most importantly provides you the performance and affection that you need.
- 5The ADA has very minimal requirements for you to qualify for a service dog and it can basically be summed up by stating that you must have a "need". Where you in a car wreck and need help picking up keys when you drop them, opening doors, or a dog who performs well in public that won't mis-behave? You have a need. Have you experienced a traumatic event, live a stressful life and have high anxiety? You have a need that a service dog can perform specific tasks for. There is a plethora of medical diagnosis both physiological and physical where a service dog can perform a task that fulfills a need. The ADA doesn't test dogs or their human counterparts as we're sure there would be many lawsuits for discrimination if they did. This; however, leads to the un-regulated and sometimes un-predictable services provided in the Service Dog industry. These industry variables have led to the strict standards of reputable non-profit Service Dog providers. The consequence is that it also leads many in need without quality standards or even availability of service because of the financial and time constraints that plague the industry. Open Range strives to offer everyone in "need" a fair; quality service, that meets many financial situations.
- 6For 2018 Open Range is starting our Online Pup Academy. This service costs only $15-$25 per month and will eventually provide all the necessary training modules for any individual to: Learn how to choose the right dog, learn how to "shape" behavior, learn how to "shape" tasks, learn how to "shape" complex tasks or behaviors, and learn how to prepare their pup for public access service. Open Range's desire is to provide individuals of all financial capabilities the opportunity to take a pound pup from zero to hero on a budget.
Help Service Dog Owners Become Handlers
Open Range Pups has a desire to help those in need. Clients interested in taking on the responsibility of owning a Service Dog should very seriously consider the maintenance and time required to keep a Service Dog. Even a fully trained service dog will loose its training in time if the owners are not committed to maintaining the standard of training with daily and weekly task or behavior re-enforcing activities.
In our efforts to help those in need Open Range does have a standard for clients we are willing to work with. Those standards are variable and constantly evolving but here are just a few of our rules (if you are teaching your own dog we think you should self-adhere to some of these rules):
- 1A Service Dog is NOT a play toy and we will NOT train a puppy to act like a puppy!
- 2A Service Dog should meet minimum obedience quality standards like those set forth by the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test.
- 3A Service Dog MUST be trained to perform to Public Access Standards. These standards look at behavior characteristics in public places and proper etiquette when interacting with others (family or strangers).
- 4A Handler/Owner MUST be willing to participate in 15-30 min per day of behavior and task re-enforcement training. *Some training can be reduced as the dog matures with age.
- 5A Handler/Owner should be willing to put substantial time resources into learning how to "handle", "shape", or "train" puppy and adult dog behaviors.
- 6If a puppy enters a family environment the handler/owner should be diligent in choosing a puppy or dog that will work with all the personalities and complexities of a multi-member home environment.
- 7If a puppy enters a family environment each member of the family should understand the commitment and agree to the commitment involved in placing a Service Dog in the home environment. Each member of the house should spend some time training and learning to "handle" the dog for the benefit of the family member in "need" of service.
Open Range Service Dog Training Minimums And Standards Acknowledgment
Poor family environments, one aggressive individual, lack of training commitment, or lapse in training commitment can set a great dog back many months in their service training. A service dog should be expected to meet minimum requirements and be treated with respect deserving of their role in the house.
Owners who want a puppy who has basic obedience, can do simple daily tasks, or express certain behavior characteristics BUT they still want the puppy to be a puppy these individuals are probably NOT good candidates for the Open Range Service Dog Program. Open Range does offer obedience only training through our Open Range Pup Academy.
The Open Range Minimum Standard for Service Dog Training is that the dog MUST be trained to Public Access Standards and we allow for certain behavior characteristics to be allowed in everyday home life that meet the needs of the handler and their family. BUT, it must be understand that a Service Dog performs services for those in need and MUST have standards to maintain the quality of performance for the individual in need.
The ultimate purpose of a Service Dog is to some how impact the quality and happiness of your everyday life. To maintain the quality of the Service Dog so they perform their duty there must be standards and we ask that you respect the Open Range Standards and you should expect that Open Range respects your needs and desires for your Service Dog.
*You will be required to sign this statement of acceptance in our Service Dog Training Contract.