Fuck, have you ever look for an article online to send to someone else, but it doesn't exist (or maybe you didn't look hard enough) so then you go to turn on your computer to just write a post - but then the computer doesn't turn on cause it's dead so you say fuck it, plug it in, begin the 3,212 updates needed to make it functional again, and grab your Freewrite (aka overly expensive e-ink word processor that is really very cool but not used enough) because you have to write it down or you will get side tracked and do other things and you really want to write down what I think of as attachment training for service dogs so you don't fuck it up? Just me then, okay. sigh. sigh.
but, hey, at least I'm writing. dammit.
Attachment Training: First off, do not do it all at once - like, c'mere doggo - you now go everywhere i go and do everything i do for the next 12 hours. Jeebus, that's a lot for anyone to handle - stuck next to another soul for a long time just all of a sudden. However, when you do this training, you will be so surprised at how much and how different of a bond it eventually creates.
So, day 1 of attachment training, use a cross-body leash. You can make your own out of rope, you can MacGyver something out of things you have, or use a different method of attachment. I am going to share with you my favorite version of this - but everyone has to find their own path.
Personally, I find this leash from activedogs.com to be my favorite every day use leash. https://www.activedogs.com/product/1870/crossbody-hands-free-service-dog-leash/, I purchased the slightly more expensive version of this leash with the molded handle and it turned out, I didn't like it. It wasn't bad, just wasn't as convenient. To make it a little more weird, I add what is known as a horse trailer bungee tie out, which according to my horse-hearted friends is something that shouldn't be used by horses in trailers. However, it is basically a heavy duty 12 inch long bungee cord with dog leash clips on both ends, this allows for a bit of give on the end of the leash. Lastly, I personally enjoy using a harness on the dog rather than just a collar. It was always a great cue to the dog that it was work time and when the harness came off - it was doggo time.
Anywhoodle, back to day 1 of attachment training - pick an hour, doesn't have to be any special time, but set an alarm for 60 minutes and harness and leash the dog. And then, this is super important, just do what you do. If that is watching tv, so be it. If it is cooking dinner or emptying the dishwasher, so be it. This is day 1, hour 1 and you will trip over each other and you will be in each others way. It will be awkward, but you need to embrace that shit. Whether you want to believe it or not, you AND the dog are learning a shit ton about each other.
Then, and this is important - keep doing it. For the first week, try to do an hour a day.Time it and more importantly, LOG IT. (keeping a training log is super important if you ever have to "prove" you have a service dog)
For week 2, you can drop it to every other day, but increase the time if at all possible. Set a timer if you want to, but try to get at least 2 hours in. Same for week 3. try to get at least 2 hours of whatever you are doing while attached to your woofer. Its weird, but it becomes so beautiful over time, you become in tune with each other and move together.
There is a small downside (miniscule, really) to this training. When the dog is no longer in your life, for a time, you will still move around them. The true loss of Herbert (my service dog) didn't hit home for me until I was seated at my desk and I moved my legs to allow him comfort....and he wasn't there. Yup, even now many years later I just had a tear roll down my face.
But the smile I have in my heart when I think of how well we moved together, how well we knew each other's movements - that grief is just part of having a service dog and I miss that partnership every damn day; but I sure wouldn't' give up what I learned and what we had.
Anyway, that's attachment training in my mind. I hope this helps. -H.