Training


Training Information


Q: Who trained you?

A:I am really lucky, my mum has 15 years of experience in showing, breeding, handling and training dogs so she worked with me in all my training.

Q: Does she train other dogs too?

A: Yes! She has trained lots of dogs for various roles and she now is the Victorian representative for our Assistance Dog Organisation helping to train and assess the Assistance Dog teams down here. She also holds a nationally recognised dog training certification.

Q: Can she help train regular dogs?

A: Sure! Send us an email and we can see what we can do to help you! Mum has experience teaching all kinds of dogs all kinds of skills. What do you need? Basic manners like not pulling on a leash right through to advanced skills like how to use the phone and call for help!

Q: How long does it take to become an Assistance Dog?

A: I was “In Training” for about 18 months but really training never really stops! I am now considered a fully trained Assistance Dog, but I still have to practice my skills to keep them sharp!


Q: How much training do you do to keep your self preforming at your peak?

A: On average now that I am a full Assistance Dog we are down to doing only about 40  hours of training per month.  While I was “In Training” I was doing many, many, many more hours then that!!


Q: Wow that is a lot of training! What sort of things do you learn?

A: Well in addition to Basic Obedience and Medical Alert and Response Tasks, which are specific to my mum’s disability, I also have to learn Public Access skills.


Q: What is Public Access?

A: Public Access is when I go with mum in to places that other dogs are not allowed to be. Like a hospital, a restaurant or a supermarket.  There is a test that Assistance Dogs must be able to pass. Its called the Public Access Test.

Me waiting under a table while mum has lunch.

Me waiting under a table while mum has lunch.

Q: What is so hard about that?

A: Well part of being allowed in such places means I have to be very, very well behaved. Could you imagine a dog jumping up on your restaurant table? Or begging for scraps? I have to lay very still and quietly under the table while my mum eats.

I have to be “distraction proof” That means being able to focus on my mum even when we are in a very crowded shopping center and people are calling out “Here puppy!” or trying to give me pats.  I have to ignore food dropped on the floor and not stop my mum to try and sniff the bins!

I have to be able to do things like ride in lifts or on escalators. I also need to be able to walk on all sorts of surfaces! The floor in the shopping center is very shiny and slippery!  When I do the grocery shopping with mum I have to heel next to her while she pushes a trolley. They are big and clanky!

I also need to be able to travel in buses, aeroplanes, taxi’s and trains.

These types of things don’t come naturally and most dogs will never experience them. I see them a lot and I have to be able to ignore them and  work around them.


Q: Wow, that is a lot of different things! You must be very smart!

A: Thanks!  Mum thinks I am pretty great! As a general rule sighthounds are not considered the most biddable of dogs. It takes a special kind of training to ask so much of a sighthound but I take my job very seriously and put my whole heart into it.

Life is too short to be seris all the time!

Life is too short to be serious all the time!

Responses

  1. Love your blog, I’m trying to make mine less serious. We do have fun, we really do sometimes!

    Guy & Rebel

  2. Luigi you should update your blog at least once a week or when you have time I would just love to hear how your day goes!

    • We have not done anything very interesting to blog about lately! Life has been quiet. I will ask mummy if we can go do something fun soon!

  3. Hi Luigi,

    Thanks for letting me read all about you on your website!
    I was wondering if you can tell me why your Mum chose you as an assistance dog? I’m sure you are exceptional at your job and I don’t mean to be disrespectful but I was just interested – I have seen many different dogs working as assistance dogs and in other areas working along side people but I haven’t heard of an Italian Greyhound working in that capacity.
    What makes you and other Italian Greyhounds good in a working capacity? You mentioned that I.G.s don’t have the best training and intelligence reputations. Is there any truth to that?

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions,

    Teddy

    • Mum and I generally would NOT recommend Italian Greyhounds as Assistance Dogs. The breed is generally not of a suitable temperament. I am an exception to my breed traits, not the rule. I have a rock solid temperament where as most IGs are a little on the shy/skittish side which makes them unsuited to working in public. IGs are an intelligent breed, but we do not score well on the typical intelligence tests because they are based on how quickly the dog learns obedience skills – this is not an area we excel in as a breed. Other dogs that have been bred specifically to work for humans like retrievers and herding dogs do much better on these tests as they are more biddable and willing to do as they are told. Sighthounds are not as easily trained as those types of dogs.

  4. I would like to know how to train my Italain Greyhound for my medical alert cause I have Asthma and I would like to have a service dog to be with me the hold time to alert me or get help medical while I have a asthma attack in public. My Italain Greyhound is good around people cause i have a friend to come over and my Italain Greyhound is cool with him so please can you help me about the training my Italain Greyhound as a medical alert/ medical assitant for me.


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