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Service dog training

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#1 Olivia


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Posted 18 February 2006 - 12:16 PM

I have a friend with Parkinson's disease who is working on training his border collie to give him a helping hand when needed. So far she can pick up pretty much anything he drops, find and fetch his cane and is working on brining his walker (it's on wheels). He now wants to teach her to close doors. Any advice on teaching this behavior? I suggested that he teach her to "touch" and then have her "touch" the door over and over til it closes then mark the closing with a word. Sound feasible?

Also, has anyone seen any books on training such service dogs? They have found multiple websites but no good books.


#2 urge to herd

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Posted 18 February 2006 - 01:02 PM

Try getting her to from 'touch' to 'push.' I taught Sam and Shonie how to push doors closed, and I may teach them to pull drawers, etc open.

I initially used a soccer ball for 'push' but that probably won't work for your friend. Try having her 'push' something fairly heavy over, so that she gets the idea of needing to use a little force for this cue.

There's a clicker training email list for people who are training their own service dogs, I think it's something like click-assist@yahoo.com. You could probably find it if you search.

Ruth n the BC3

#3 Miztiki


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Posted 18 February 2006 - 01:04 PM

I have two books (Teamwork I and Teamwork II) that are part of a Service Dog program that I'd be willing to part with.

Similar to "touch", hold a treat up and against the door so that the dog has to stand against the door with front paws on it. Once the dog does that well, open the door little by little (so that it doesn't freak her out when it closes) until it's open all the way.

Get one of those lever handles, tie a rope to it, and then she can open the doors too.

#4 Kat's Dogs

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Posted 18 February 2006 - 04:03 PM

I taught Peanut (my shih tzu) to close doors.

She already knew "paws up" (put your paws on whatever I am pointing too) so I made her do "paws up" "close" (the command for the door). After a few tries she knew to keep walking towards the door until it made a noise (it closing). Later I faded out the "paws up".

oh, and with the lever handles, we found out (by accident) that dogs can easily open them without a rope. We were keeping a stray dog on the back porch (screened in) until we could find her owners. One night we left the door unlocked and a few hours later she opened it and came inside! Pretty smart those Border Collies!

Good luck to your friend - and the dog!

Kat & the dogs:
Peanut EAC, EJC, S-NCC, JHB, CGC (13 years, Shih Tzu)
NATCH, Vers-NATCH Dazzle GM, AAD, AR, S-EAC, O-EJC, S-ECC, S-TN-E, S-WV-E, S-TG-E, HP-E, TNE-400, RV-N, GV-N, CL3-R, CL3-S, CL3-H, JHB, CGC (9 years, Border Collie)
Kova RS-N, JS-O, GS-N, SJ, SS, NAC, NJC, NCC, WV-N (2 years, Golden Retriever)

#5 Olivia


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Posted 18 February 2006 - 04:36 PM

Thanks guys,

He has taught her to pull open doors using a rope tied to the handles. She is getting it. She is his special girl and they are just getting closer and closer through all this training. His illness has gotten worse pretty quickly and she is going a long way toward keeping him functional around the house. He is working toward getting her certified so she can accompany him out and about.


#6 Catu


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Posted 18 February 2006 - 06:09 PM

I would recomend the book of Karen Pryor about clicker training (I don't remember the english name right now) With this bassement you can teach an infinite gamma of things to a dog. I think that is better than learn how to do this or that trick, because once the owners learn "how to teach" they could keep and keep teaching things at the same rate the sickness gets worst and they need more elaborated helps.

#7 Zoe


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Posted 19 February 2006 - 12:33 AM

I agree with Catu that the clicker is a great tool if your friend is able to use it. I taught Dylan to close the door ( with his nose ) by shaping it. He knew touch and push already but he wouldn't push the door closed even though he would push other doors open !!! I really don't think he could see the point of it ! He also opens doors - we have ropes tied to the handles of those that he is allowed/asked to open. I didn't need to use a clicker for that though !

#8 ErinKate


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Posted 19 February 2006 - 01:32 AM

I wouldn't recommend teaching the dog to close the door with the paw. I tried to teach mine that, and he was scratching the heck out of my doors! lol Couldn't blame him. I strongly suggest like the others said, using the push method.

#9 2 collies

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 04:50 AM

how old is the dog as my 2 can open and close doors they learnt just by watchin us do it all the time then one day they did it themselves.try making him stand up on his hind legs with his paws up on the door.

#10 MaggieDog


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Posted 19 February 2006 - 02:10 PM

The clicker SD list is OC-Assist-Dogs at yahoo - they are GREAT. Miztiki's suggestions of the teamwork books are good - very good for people w/ disabilities that are training their own dogs since they break down tasks pretty well.

The How of Bow Wow video and the rest in the series are also awesome.
Ziva: 4 yo Corgi mix, agility dog!
Kestrel: 2 yo Cattle Dog (mix?), schutzhund and agility dog in training
Aerten: Malinois puppy, schutzhund dog in training

Maggie Mae, always in our hearts <3

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