Our Self-Study “Anxiety Tasks” program provides a structured program to follow to teaches you how to teach your dog several tasks needed by handlers with anxiety or PTSD. The handler learns the theory and practical skills and practices them with their dog.
Dogs must be at least 18 months of age to start the Anxiety Task program to allow the dog to develop into a socially and emotionally functional individual before taking on the responsibility of helping their handler with anxiety.
Our program has step by step modules that focus on learning the steps in teaching a dog common tasks needed for a PTSD Dog.
We use ‘direct instruction’ for the most part. That means we give you the information you need upfront, laid out in sequence in a step by step format, with some video examples, then you apply it. You learn by reading and observing. We also offer opportunities for reflection in our discussion topics that ask higher level (more thoughtful) questions.
Our optional private web cam sessions to allow you to get direct feedback from live training or submitted videos from an experienced training coach via web cam.
Physical Layout of Program:
Modules include lessons that are the background for the behavior. Task-training is the practical aspect of teaching your dog. The tasks are are broken into tiny bite-sized objectives that are of a combination of text, short video demos, photos and diagrams. There are discussion questions to get you thinking about the training principles and concepts. For trainers, there is additional information about anxiety.
This program is set up for people who like to read and then watch short video clips that apply the instruction. Some students prefer to listen to a screen reader reading the text for them. Text is ideal for non-native English speakers.
Try a free sample lesson to see if the class structure will work for you!
There is a progress bar for each module to keep you on track and motivated to move forward.
We offer a behavior checklist for each task and the objectives laid out in each task. This checklist helps you to see the big picture while you train the small steps. It also allows you to see where you are at a glance and that you are indeed moving forward!
All program materials can continued to be accessed for one year from purchase date. After the year is up, you can purchase a Library Subscription to continue to access the Settle Program materials (and any other programs you have purchased).
Who is This Program Created For?
- Owners who want to self-train their own PTSD service dog, Anxiety Dog or Autism Dog.
- Trainers who want to learn how to train Anxiety tasks
- Psychiatrists, counsellors and other therapists who want to understand the process of their clients training their own dogs
- Animal Assisted Therapists who want their dog to have some skills to help their clients
- Anyone over the age of 18 years can take the classes.
- You can live anywhere in the world as long as you can read English and have access to high speed internet and a functioning webcam.
- If you are a minor, you must have a parent or guardian actively overseeing the training. They sign up on your behalf.
- If you do better with listening than reading, then using a screen reader might work for you.
- If you are hard of hearing, the short video clips do not have closed captioning as most videos only have the sound of the marker (click or “Yes!”). There is rarely any ‘talking head’ type videos in the class videos except the introduction to modules.
There are three modules included in the “Anxiety Tasks” program.
They teach the dog:
- nose nudge
- chin rest
- deep pressure therapy (variety of positions)
- blocking in a variety of positions
- wearing a harness
- pulling forward in a harness
- finding an exit
The handler uses targeting, capturing, shaping, and social modelling to help their dog learn the tasks.
The handler also learns other ways a service dog can help to ground them when stressed, and other available resources that can help them improve their life.
In order to fully participate in our “Anxiety Tasks” program, you will need:
- a high-speed internet connection
- a computer, laptop, tablet or handheld device that has a recent operating system (older systems may have trouble displaying the lessons)
- a dog that has suitable temperament and health and has appropriate socialization and exposure and us at least 18 months of age. Check out our blog posts on breeder and adult dog selection.
- a dog that you have access to every day for 5 days a week (ideally for at least 2 separate training sessions per day)
- a web cam (for web cam sessions)
- transportation to get to locations where suitable level distractions are found
- a support system of helpers (see blog post on the topic)
Training equipment is simple: leash, treats, platforms and suitable harness (information provided in class).
- principles and skills of using food in training
- nose target
- how to add duration to a behavior
These are taught in our Foundation Concepts Packages.
If you are training a service dog candidate, then make sure you are following the residential tenancy laws of your state or province. Some states and provinces allow service dogs in training while others do not.
As more research is done on the impact of dogs on people with anxiety and PTSD, the long-term benefits of a trained service dog have become evident. From that research we know that dogs are emotionally, socially and chemically sensitive to humans and can be taught to detect and assist their handlers to improve their quality of life.
None of our approaches use aversive or correction techniques or tools since acquiring new behaviors is about building confidence to be in situations and know that the dog is safe with and without the handler. We want to avoid suppressing behaviors and instead teach the dog what behaviors we would rather see. The same applies to the handler as learners.
Our “Anxiety Task” program will continue to build your skills and your dog’s skills needed to assist you in living a more independent life!