Recommended Reading

Healing Companions: Ordinary Dogs & Their Power to Transform Lives
Jane Miller, LISW, CDBC

This book was my absolute bible – It was the first book sent my way, and I read it cover to cover. It’s about psychiatric service dogs, and originally, I didn’t even know anyone who had a psychiatric service dog, so I needed all the information I could get. It has real people’s stories, from war vets to those recovering from physical/sexual trauma to someone living with unending depression. The absolute best part of the book, though, was the appendices. A list of different types of breeds of dogs, and what their traits were. Sample service dog cards. My first glimpse at the ADA Business Brief. A list of invaluable resources. And, most importantly, two separate lists of tasks – one of assistance dog tasks, and one of tasks for psychiatric assistance dogs. I knew I needed help. Reading those two lists, I was able to identify specific tasks I could teach my dog that would assist me on a daily basis – and then start training.

Citizen Canine: Ten Essential Skills Evey Well-Mannered Dog Should Know
Mary R. Burch, PhD

An Official Training Publication of the American Kennel Club, this book gives you the 10 test items of the Canine Good Citizen Test, and tells you how to teach your dog the skills to pass them. Also gives brief examples of types of work dogs can do, from therapy dog to police dog to search and rescue. Passing the Canine Good Citizen Test is a great first step for training a service dog.

Team Work: A Dog Training Manual for People with Disabilities – Book One: Basic Obedience (Revised & Expanded)
Stewart Nordensson & Lydia Kelley

The classic manual for the basic training of service dogs. Nordensson had cerebral palsy, and trained his own dogs; Kelley has 20 years of dog training under her belt. The book starts with the simple building blocks (praise, food as a training tool, behavior, equipment) then moves to the elemental commands – sit, down, stay, wait, stand, leave it.

Team Work II: A Dog Training Manual for People with Disabilities – Book Two: Service Exercises
Stewart Nordensson & Lydia Kelley

This book starts off with leadership (how to be top dog) and your rights, responsibilities and privileges as the handler of a service dog, and then moves on to specific tasks: go under, side and front, reverse, retrieve, carry, find a person, brace, turn on a light, pull, help you dress or undress, and open or close doors. Plus a bunch of other really good dog advice.

A Dog Who’s Always Welcome: Assistance & Therapy Dog Trainers Teach You How to Socialize & Train Your Companion Dog
Lorie Long

If you have companion animals (that is, regular old dogs), you’d like to be able to trust them out in public, take them on vacations, bring them on a hike, and know that they will behave properly and respectfully. The author, Long, is an experienced obedience trainer who also competes in dog agility competitions with her Border Terriers (one was recently the AKC Title Master Agility Champion). She turns to the training tips of service dogs/assistance dogs and therapy dogs, and offers those nuggets to anybody who would like to help their dog at home become more well-behaved, even in unfamiliar environments.

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