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Reasons Your Working Dog Needs a Maintenance Class

Man with treat to his service dog
No dog is born with all of the skills that working or service dogs require. The talents shown by these animals are the result of hours of training for both the canine and the handler. Occasionally, these talented pets become unable to manage their work as well as they once did and require a maintenance course.

Here are six examples of when this course is beneficial.

1. When You Need to Refresh Their Memory

Everyone needs a refresher course eventually, and that includes working dogs. Not all of the skills the dogs learned are used every day. Animals and humans also sometimes develop bad habits. Even the occasional lack of correction for misbehavior could make the dog believe that it is not always necessary to follow each command.

A dog with a lot of responsibilities may even forget some of the commands or talents they once mastered. A maintenance class helps to return them to their previous skill level. 

2. After a Change in Their Responsibilities

New work duties may require additional obedience or skills training, or you may need your dog to focus on commands that were not as vital in the past. A maintenance class eliminates any weakness in the obedience level of the pet or its understanding of what the handler is requesting. The refresher course enables the pet to learn new responsibilities easier. 

3. When the Dog Gets a New Handler 

Dogs that have worked with only one handler since their initial training may not adapt well to new leadership. A maintenance course with the new handler can help the canine half of the team to realize that this is the person in control. By working together in class, the pair develops better communication skills and a stronger relationship. 

The handler may also benefit from taking the time to adapt their own training methods to the commands and direction originally given to the dog. Not all courses are the same, and syncing the skills they have with what is familiar to the dog improves communication as well. 

4. When You Need a Refresher 

People also forget their training or become lax on their follow-through with their demands. Dogs require their human coworkers to give them consistent direction and to maintain their role as the leader. People who reduce their expectations of the dog outside of the work environment may confuse the animal and struggle to gain their attention at work. 

5. When the Dog Returns to Work 

An illness or injury may put the dog out of service long enough for them to forget some of their training. Once the animal is healed and ready to begin work, they may need a refresher course in the basic commands. The boredom felt by the pet during their recovery could even make them excitable and easily distracted. 

A group maintenance class enables the handler to have distractions around the pet but in a more manageable situation than what is experienced on the work site. The instructor is available to provide reminders to the owner to help them guide the dog more effectively as the pet's old skills return. 

6. When It’s a Requirement for Certification

Certification for certain types of service dogs require continued education and training throughout the animal's career. Even a capable and obedient dog must continue training in order to keep the credentials that allow them to perform their work.  

At Elite Dogs Training and Boarding we offer a range of training environments for all stages of pet obedience and skill building. Contact us today to discuss your situation and find the most effective class.