Here is an example of a fictional Training Plan so you can create your own.
Create it however you feel comfortable whether it's in a spiral notebook, on an excel spreadsheet or on your phone! AirTable or Evernote are great programs for this!
The simple plan below is for a young dog with little basic obedience behaviors. Adapt it to your own dog and situation as needed. You can add in as much detail as you want. You can include other tasks and paperwork needed to be done for formal certification as well (see blog post on Certification).
We recommend that you review this plan each month and record where you are at, and adjust the plan to reflect this.
Each month, assess areas of weakness (in dog, human and team) and add it to your training plan. This might include specific fears, reactivity, over-excitability or over-interest you need to work on. Your plan will change and evolve as you work through it.
1. Set up a journal for recording training data Oct 2009. Use video to record key sessions for self-evaluation as well as documentation.
Identify tasks dog will do for the handler.
2. Set Preliminary Goal:
Complete Foundation Skills Class Level 1, 2 and 3 by the end of Feb 2010
Behaviors are taught in: family room, bedroom, garage, backyard, front yard, local park.
Leave it (Zen)
Working at a Distance
Go around objects
Paws on Target
Back end Pivot
Take and Tug
Potty on cue
Beginning of loose leash walking
On the Road (pass previous level in strange location)
3. Loose Leash Walking Level 1 & 2 and Settle/Relax Level 1 online Classes complete April 2010
4. APDT C.L.A.S.S. Bachelor Evaluation training (generalize behaviours)
(doorway, leave it, greet a stranger, recall from 10 feet, wait for food bowl, stay, settle, give and take)
Canine Good Citizen (US) or Canine Good Neighbor (Canada) Training Preparation June 2010
(doorways, separation from handler, ignoring crowds, greeting stranger, ignoring other dogs, recall, loose leash walking, stay, sit, down)
Begin training for in-home service tasks.
6. C.L.A.S.S. Bachelor level test or Canine Good Neighbor test Aug 2010
7. Get written prescription for service dog from Doctor or Nurse Practitioner (or other health care provider as appropriate)
8. Practice general behaviors in different retail locations for Sept 2010
(wait in car, pass other dog, wait at the door, come and leash up, sit down, stand,handling, loose leash, stay)
CKC Urban Dog training
10. CLASS PhD testing or Urban Dog testing Jan. 2011
11. Begin formal work on training and consolidating Assistance Tasks Jan. 2011
Online task training classes available.
Out of Home Assistance Tasks:
A. Retrieve objects when in chair
B . Use target stick to retrieve an indicated item off low shelves in stores
C. Open and close doors while in chair
D. Put forepaws in lap of wheelchair user, hold that upright position so wheelchair user can access medication or cell phone or other items in the backpack
E . Bring Emergency phone during crisis
F. Go get a family member/neighbor/workmate on command in a crisis.
G. Nudge handler during freezing behavior to rouse handler from a disassociation state or fear paralysis.
12. Take all of the behaviors and tasks "On the Road" to generalize them to many different locations and environments.
Identify at least 10 different public places near home to train that are accessible to my dog.
13. Begin training for Public Access Test Dec 2010
14. If formal certification is desired (if you live in the U.S., it is optional) search out organizations that will test and certify you and your dog as a service dog. In BC, Alberta and Nova Scotia, certification is recommended to use your dog as a service/assistance animal. May 2011
15. Do a Practice Access test with an independent person. Video it so you can watch back.
Get dog spayed or neutered if required by your state or province prior to certification. Get a letter or fill out a form from vet certifying dog has been spayed or neutered. June, 2011
16. Practice Tasks in Public, Fine tune any holes (distractions, minor fears etc)
17. Take Public Access test or make video recording of entire final test Sept. 2011
Graduate dog to "Service Dog" patches (remove "in training" patch).
18. Ongoing maintenance training for tasks, public access and adding new tasks as needed.
*This plan is for example purposes only. You and your dog will progress more quickly or more slowly than what the plan indicates. Most owner-trained dogs take 2 to 3 years in training from puppy to adult. Most common Service Dog breeds to not mature socially, emotionally or physically until 2.5 to 3 years. ADI suggests a minimum of 120 hours training for public access. Much more is usually needed.