This is a long page, and contains both obedience commands and task commands. Kenai’s previous evaluations are on his two progress pages before 12 mo old. I’ve included the description of how a command is ideally performed by the dog, as well as how it is commonly used, and how I will use it. This is no where near a complete list of all the commands and tasks a service dog might be taught to mitigate a certain disability; just mine.
Kenai’s Basic Commands and Tasks at 57 wks.
*Means both verbal and hand signal
*1) Sit: ideally has immediate response, lined up straight in heel or right side, held until released. Some handlers want an auto sit, but using Kenai for balance assistance, I don’t want him to automatically sit. I don’t expect him to sit much in public.
(home) solid response, tendency to swing tush slightly on diagonal, and will sometimes slide into down if held in sit very long. Practicing this in tight places, and in conjuction with other commands(public) 50%-75% response, tendency to swing tush to diagnonal. Doesn’t hold a sit well.
*2) Down: want immediate response, lined up straight in heel or side, held until released. Eventually I want him to automatically down after he’s helped me sit, in an unobtrusive place or wherever I put him
(home) 90% to solid, depending on how quickly he responds, also tends to swing rump out. We’re practicing on down in tight spaces, in harness, in combo with other commands, and up against furniture. (public) 25% to 50% compliance, depending on how comfortable he is in an environment. Tends to want room for the rump. We’ve not downed in harness in public yet.
*3) Sit/Stay: lined up straight, held until released. Many handlers use this when they are stopped for short to medium amounts of time, such as paying at a counter, or when leaving the dog with another handler. I don’t want this much from Kenai, since I use him for balance, and don’t leave him with other people. Should work on it though in case I want/need to leave him for something.
(home) solid for short time, which is all I really need from him. Tends to swing the tush, so we practice tight spaces and stays where I go out of his sight. (public) Of his 2 public stays, this is the best one, holding it about 1-2 minutes. I have in the past used it off leash when he was approaching someone else, though it’s not a reliable thing.
*4) Down/Stay: lined up straight, held until released regardless of distractions. This is mostly for longer stays, at a restaurant or in class etc. As with regular down, I’d like him to auto down/stay after helping me sit in a chair, in an out of the way place.
(home) 90% to solid, and we practice in tight places, against furniture, in harness, and in combo with other commands. (public) 25% to 50% compliant. Needs alot of work.
5) Heel: line up straight on handler’s left, moving while attentive to handler’s pace, direction, and obstacles.When stopped, the dog remains in the position and attentive. I say “heel up” when Kenai’s been allowed to wander on leash and I’m ready to start walking. I also use heel up when he’s wandered out of heel position without permission while I was stopped.
(home) 90% to solid. He wants to pull ahead slightly if excited. He doesn’t hold the position well when stopped. (public) 80%-90% pulling because of excitement is a problem, and doesn’t hold the postion when standing still well either. His attention is split between me and our environment more than I’d like.
6) Slow: adjust pace down to match handler. Ideally it is done automatically in heel, as the handler slows, though when dog isn’t paying attention I use it.
(home) 75% automatic, not too compliant when excited. Needs practice. (public) 50% automatic, and when excited, compliance is 25% without gentle leader. Really rough because of his current excitability.
7) Stop: freeze in position. Automatic when heeling, verbal command in other situations.
(home) 90% solid, practiced in heel and in combo with other commands. (public) 90% solid, wanting to stop one step ahead of me in heel.
8) Go left: turn to handler/dog’s left, ideally automatic in heel.
(home) solid. (public) solid. I’ve found Kenai actually relaxes when he knows where I’m heading, and I tell him which way to go. He’s more hesitant and makes more mistakes like walking in front of me if I leave him to figure out from my body signals which way I’m going.
9) Go right: turn to right, auto in heel is ideal.