Deep pressure therapy is a beneficial task for dogs that provide services to humans who have disabilities.This therapy provides comfort and support to individuals with various disabilities. To train a service dog it requires a methodical approach and devotion.
Since the process can be very complex it mandates a lot of patience and consistency. Service dogs are used for many other reasons such as they are used for some investigations or in the army and so on. Each service dog has been trained accordingly for various fields. This also means that a service dog who serves for investigation can’t be used in therapies or vice versa as they are not trained for that particular field.
In this article, we will summarise step-by-step guidelines to help you train your service dog in deep-pressure therapy, helping them to provide the essential calming and therapeutic touch to their handlers.
Understanding of Deep Pressure Therapy:
Deep Pressure Therapy involves the application of firm and gentle pressure by a service dog to specific areas of their handler’s body. It promotes relaxation, alleviates anxiety, and provides a sense of security. Before beginning the training, it is important to understand the advantages and appropriate techniques associated with Deep-Pressure Therapy.
Seeking professional guidance:
To guarantee the best training results, it is highly suggested to take advice, and suggestions, and consult a professional dog trainer or a service dog organisation that is certified in training service dogs. They have the capabilities, qualities, expertise and experience to guide you through your training process. They also inform you about certain specific challenges and provide advice that meets your service dog’s individual needs.
Selection of the right kind of dog:
It is very important to select the right dog for Deep Pressure Therapy. You need to look for a dog who is capable of providing calm and gentle treatment, as well as an establishment for physical contact.
Furthermore, considering their size and physical capabilities is necessary. Make sure they can comfortably apply pressure to specific areas of the handler’s body.
Basic Obedience Training:
This helps you build a strong foundation with your service dog. Train your dog and teach them basic commands like sit, down, come, and stay, by using positive reinforcement techniques like treats and praise, these commands are the basic foundation for more advanced Deep Pressure Therapy.
Introducing Pressure Cues to your service dog:
Slowly introduce pressure cues to your service dog that indicates when to apply Deep Pressure Therapy. Commence by gently applying light pressure to specific areas of your dog’s body such as the shoulder or back, and reward them for remaining calm and relaxed.
This helps them associate the pressure with positive reinforcement and prepares them for actual deep-pressure therapy tasks.
Shaping the behaviour:
Utilising positive reinforcement techniques to shape the desired behaviour of your service dog. Begin with rewarding the dog for responding appropriately to the pressure cues, and slowly increase the duration and intensity of the pressure.
Strengthen calm and gentle behaviour while discouraging any excessive movement or distraction.
Generalising the behaviour:
Practise deep-pressure therapy tasks in different environments. Gradually increase distractions and include different body positions. This helps your service dog to perform deep-pressure therapy reliably in any situation, ensuring their skills are transmissible.
Training for Public Access:
Your service dog must act properly and feel at ease in public. Train your service dog to carry out deep-pressure therapy duties while exhibiting appropriate behaviour, concentration, and restraint. Practising in different environments in public and exposing your service dog to numerous distractions gradually, and continually rewarding the right behaviour.
Higher education and proofreading:
Work on improving your service dogs’ skills and evaluate their training in different circumstances after they have learned their basics. Expose your service dog to new locations, distractions and situations that are more complex over time. Through this procedure, they become more capable of reliably administering deep-pressure therapy under any conditions.
Training a service dog in deep-pressure therapy requires patience, consistency, and a structured approach. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article and seeking professional guidance, you can help your service dog provide the necessary comfort and support to individuals with disabilities.
Remember to always prioritize the well-being and welfare of your service dog throughout the training process, and celebrate their progress and achievements along the way. A very important note to remember is, training a service dog requires time and dedication.
Improvement may vary depending on the individual dog’s abilities and temperament. To get a successful result regular practice sessions, consistency and positive reinforcement are very important.