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  • Ahlaysia Benders

Being Successful At Task Work

Updated: Mar 2

Motivation, Intelligent disobedience, and Socialization are the key to reliable tasking.

Service dog waiting for its task work

Defining Task Work

Task work is a dog's trained behavior to help its disabled handler. However, while most dogs can learn a task, not all dogs can actively perform task work. This is because task work has to be done purposefully and reliably without constant reward. This is why the requirements for a successful service dog are so strict. Let's look at what skills a dog should have to successfully perform task work.

Intelligent Disobedience

  • Intelligent disobedience occurs when a service dog intentionally defies the instructions of its handler in an effort to keep them safe

  • Intelligent disobedience allows for the service dog to make choices that keep the handler safe and out of harm's way when their disability impairs them from being able to make an informed decision for themselves

  • For a service dog to perform intelligent disobedience, it must be able to think critically through commands.

Natural Motivation / Work Drive

  • A motivated service dog will enjoy working, without the need for constant praise or reward

  • An unmotivated dog is almost guaranteed to wash out early due to inaccurate tasking, or behavioral issues

Properly Socialized
  • A well-socialized dog will not be reactive to their surroundings

  • Reactivity does not only mean aggressive or fearful towards certain environments. A reactive dog can also be overly excited and happy when around.

  • A well-socialized service prospect will be neutral in social situations and distraction-proof. Their attention should be on their handler while working so they can reliably perform task work.

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