At Your Service! Teaching Service Dog Behaviors

The road to becoming a service dog is arduous. Training starts at 8 weeks and continues for at least 18 months—even after the dog is matched with a partner. The expectations for a service dog are high; a strong work ethic, reliable and fluent behaviors, exceptional health, and a gentle but persistent personality are required. Dogs in training have at least three homes throughout their career: the puppy raiser, the service dog agency, and, finally, their permanent home with their partner. What's the common thread in all of this? The clicker! Learn what it takes and what it's like to be a service dog raised in a clicker trained environment. This Session shows you how a service dog organization clicker trains everyone (from volunteer dog walkers to puppy raisers to recipients) and every service dog (from wheelchair assistance to diabetic alert to balance assistance). This Session discusses the service dog training process from acquisition of puppies, through their training in the puppy raiser's home, the formal training process (including goals, milestones, etc. for each dog), the matching of dog to client, and the transfer camp where the disabled person learns how to work with his or her canine helper. Examples and video demonstrations are included.

Laurie Luck

Laurie Luck has been involved in the dog world for more than 20 years. Her formal education includes a M.A. in psychology, but she credits dogs for teaching her the most important concepts of behavior and training.

An entrepreneur (Smart Dog University) and social media enthusiast, Laurie delights in sharing her knowledge and experience with dog owners across the country. She is committed to helping improve the lives of dogs through education of the humans at the end of the leash. Laurie's YouTube channel offers free dog-training videos, and her blog details training experiences and ideas that every dog owner will find helpful.

A member of the ClickerExpo faculty, Laurie is also a faculty member of Karen Pryor Academy. She teaches the Dog Trainer Professional program at various locations in the United States. Laurie has spoken at regional and national conferences about both dog behavior and social media.

Laurie has been a volunteer puppy-raiser for a service-dog organization since 2001. She has had a hand in raising and training more than 16 service dogs, and enjoys being involved in the education of dogs that go on to do so much good for their human partners. Laurie and her Labrador retriever, Tango, are a certified R.E.A.D. therapy-dog team and enjoy working in the classroom with elementary school students to improve the students’ reading skills.