How To Train Your Service Dog To Respond To Commands In Any Situation

A well-trained service dog is not only a joy to have around, but it’s also helpful to your loved ones or people who need assistance in their daily lives. A service dog should be able to respond to commands quickly and reliably in any situation. 

This means that you’ll have to train it with the same rigor as any other type of working animal: horses, police dogs, guide dogs for the blind–the list goes on. 

Service dog training is usually done by professional trainers who specialize in working dogs, but if you’ve got some time and patience (and maybe even some training experience!), then you can do it yourself at home with just a few simple tools like leashes, treats and clickers.

First Ten Steps When Training A Service Dog! – YouTube
Key Takeaways
– Consistent repetition and positive reinforcement are key to training a service dog to respond to commands in any situation.
– It’s important to establish yourself as the pack leader in your dog’s eyes and treat them with love and respect during training.
– Service dog training can be complex, but there are many resources available for those who need assistance.
– Training a service dog takes patience and time, but the benefits can be life-changing for those with disabilities.
– Always seek the help of a professional trainer if you are unsure about how to proceed with service dog training.

Feeding Time

A common question that service dog handlers have is “How do I train my service dog to respond to commands in any situation?” Well, the answer is simple: by feeding your service dog at the same time every day. 

You should set a timer or alarm on your phone so that you know when it’s time for them to eat! When you feed them, be sure that you give them all of their food; this will ensure that they don’t develop any bad habits such as begging from other people or stealing food from trash cans.

Training a dog to be the perfect family pet can be a challenge, but with the right techniques and a little patience, it can be done. We offer a comprehensive guide on how to train your dog to be the perfect family pet that will help you get started.

Bathroom Breaks

Bathroom breaks are an important part of training your service dog. Even if you have a small house, you should be able to tell your dog when you are going to take him outside and let him know that he can go on the spot. 

This will help him learn how to listen for those cues, instead of having to rely on a leash for bathroom breaks later in life.

You should never use a leash for bathroom breaks; otherwise, it can become too much like pulling at their neck when they’re trying to go potty! 

If they aren’t trained well enough yet (and even if they are), this could cause problems later down the line as well since leashes aren’t meant for holding onto while taking care of business outside on command or inside with no supervision

FrequencyPuppies and dogs typically need to go out after waking up, playing, eating, and drinking
Time LimitPuppies can generally hold it for their age in months plus one hour, while adult dogs can hold it for several hours
SignsSniffing, circling, pacing or whining
MethodsBell training, crate training, or designated outdoor areas
CleaningUse an enzyme cleaner for accidents to eliminate odor
ProductsPoop bags, potty bells, enzymatic cleaners
TipsConsistency, reward good behavior, and gradually increase time between breaks

The above table provides data-driven information on bathroom breaks for dogs. It includes recommended frequency and time limits for bathroom breaks based on age, as well as signs that a dog needs to go out. The table also includes training methods, products for bathroom breaks, and cleaning tips.

Finally, the table provides general tips on consistency, rewarding good behavior, and gradually increasing the time between breaks.

Being In Your Lap

Be in a comfortable position.

Have the dog sit or lie down on your lap, and make sure he’s facing you. If you’re sitting on the floor with him, make sure he has enough room to lie down without being cramped or uncomfortable. If he needs more space than that, then consider using an indoor bed instead of your lap!

Keep him relaxed by petting him gently and praising him as he remains calm with you touching his collar or harness strap (if applicable).

Service dog training can be complicated, and it’s natural to have questions about the process. At Unified Paws, we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions about service dog training and provided answers to each one.

Settle Down

The next command you’ll teach your service dog is “Settle down”. Like the previous one, this one will be used in many situations. The difference between this and “sit,” however, is that it requires your dog to lie down instead of sit.

Sit: Your dog sits with his front paws on the floor and butt up in the air. He should be facing you with his eyes looking at yours or slightly above them (he should not look at the floor). 

You can also say “sit” or tap him lightly on his rear end if he doesn’t understand what “sit” means yet; as he gets older and more used to these commands, though, this won’t be necessary anymore!

Down Stay

A down stay is a very important command for your service dog to learn. It’s used when you want them to stay in one place, but there are also other uses for it as well.

For example: If someone approaches your house and rings the doorbell or knocks on the door, your dog should be able to remain calm and sit still (if they’re not already sitting) until you let them know it’s okay for them to greet people. This can be especially useful if the person at the door has food or treats!

If your dog doesn’t listen consistently with this command at first, don’t worry–it may take some time before they understand exactly what “down” means and how long they need to stay there without moving around too much. 

If this happens often enough where it becomes frustrating for either party involved (you or your pup), try changing up your language by saying something like “Stay!” instead of “Down!”

When training a service dog, it’s important to know what to do and what to avoid. Our article on the do’s and don’ts of service dog training gives you all the information you need to ensure your dog is properly trained and equipped to help you.

Leave It

Leave it is a useful command to teach your dog, especially if you have kids or other pets. It’s also important for service dogs who may be working in close proximity to people with allergies.

Leave it can be used as an emergency command if someone is having a seizure or other medical emergency, so that your dog doesn’t cause further harm by jumping on them or trying to help them up.

The first step in teaching leave it is getting your dog used to the word itself–so start using “leave” frequently during walks and other activities together! Then try introducing objects that he loves (food treats work well) but don’t want him eating at the moment–like tennis balls or sticks from outside–and keep repeating “leave” while showing him how much fun playing fetch with them would be!

Command“Leave it”
DefinitionDog quickly looks away and disengages from an object or scent
Use CasesDangerous items, food on the ground, or when the dog is getting too excited or worked up
CollarFlat or martingale collar
LeashRound or nylon leash
Training AidTreat pouch or clicker
Training TipsPractice with high-value items and gradually move to more challenging objects/situations

The above table provides data-driven information about the Leave It command for dogs. It includes information about the definition of the command, its use cases, recommended collars and leashes, and training aids. The table also provides training tips and suggestions for gradual difficulty increases during training.

Drop It! (Or Pick It Up!)

In this section, you’ll learn about the “Drop It!” command. The name pretty much says it all: when you give your dog this command, he should drop whatever he’s holding in his mouth (or paws). 

This can be anything from an old sock to a piece of food that’s fallen on the floor and onto his mouth (you know how dogs are).

Once your service dog has learned this trick, it will serve as a lifesaver in many situations! For example: if there’s something dangerous on the floor that you don’t want him to eat or chew up–a needle perhaps–you can give him this command and he’ll immediately let go of whatever he has in his jaws. 

Or maybe there was once an important document lying around somewhere but now it has been chewed into tiny pieces by your puppy? No problem; just say “Drop It!” and everything will be fine again!

Dogs are often viewed as protectors, but without proper training, they may not know how to effectively guard your home and family. By following our guide on how to train your dog to protect your home and family, you can teach your pet to do so while also providing them with mental stimulation and physical exercise.

Come When Called. (Or “Come To Me” Or “Come Here”)

If your dog does not respond to commands, you can do one of two things:

  • Make sure that they are paying attention to you by repeating the command or saying it louder. If this doesn’t work, try giving them a treat or toy as a reward for listening when called.
  • If your dog is still not responding after trying these methods, consider bringing someone else over so that there are more people in the room who can help get their attention (and so that it’s not just you yelling at them).

Heel Position While Walking. (Or “Heel Stance”)

This command is a good one to start with because it will help you get your dog used to being on a leash and following commands while in public. 

It’s also important for them to learn this skill early on in their training so that they are comfortable with it later on when they are more advanced and need more control over the situation.

If you want him or her to be able to heel at any time, then start by using treats as rewards for good behavior whenever he or she does what you ask of them–this way, he/she will learn quickly!

DefinitionDog walks beside you on your left, with their shoulder in line with your leg
Ideal PositionDog’s eyes are looking up at you
CollarMartingale or prong collar
LeashLeather or nylon leash
Training AidClicker or treat pouch
Training TipsKeep a treat or toy by your left hip to encourage your dog to walk alongside you

The above table showcases some guidelines on the Heel Position While Walking for dogs. It provides data-driven information about the stance, definition, ideal position, collar, leash, training aid, and tips for training a dog to walk in the Heel position.

Stay Off The Couch/Bed

The next command to teach is “off the couch.” This will be a lot easier to train if you’ve already trained your dog to respond to commands in any situation, as it’s just a variation of the stay command.

The way I taught my dog this was by using two different words: couch and bed. When we were at home, I would say “bed” when telling him to get off the couch or bed, and vice versa when we were out in public (or at other people’s houses). Then I rewarded him with treats each time he responded correctly!

As a therapy dog handler, it’s important to provide the necessary training to help your pet cope with the stress that comes with therapy work. Check out our guide on how to train your therapy dog to handle anxiety and stress for practical tips you can use to ensure your pet is prepared for any situation that may arise.


If you’re training your dog to be a service animal, it’s important that they respond to commands in any situation. This article offers some great tips on how to train them so they can learn these skills.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources on dog training and service animals:

How to Train a Dog to Respond to Commands: This guide offers tips on establishing yourself as the pack leader and teaching your dog to respond to your commands effectively.

What Commands Do You Teach a Service Dog?: This article provides a list of essential commands for every service dog to learn and how they can benefit their handlers.

How to Train a Service Dog: This guide explains what it takes to train a service dog from start to finish, including registration and certification requirements.


What is the best age to start training a service dog?

The best age to start training a service dog is between 3 and 6 months old because they are still in their socialization period and can learn behavior and commands easily.

How long does it take to train a service dog?

The training time for a service dog can vary depending on the dog’s breed, age, and the type of tasks they need to perform. However, it generally takes about 1 to 2 years of consistent training to fully train a service dog.

Can I train my own service dog?

Yes, you can train your own service dog if you have the necessary skills, time, and patience. However, it’s recommended to work with a professional trainer who can help you with the specific requirements and techniques.

What breeds make good service dogs?

Breeds that make good service dogs include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Poodles, and Border Collies, among others. It’s important to choose a dog that has the temperament and abilities needed for the specific tasks they will perform.

What laws protect service dogs?

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protection for service dogs and their handlers. This law requires businesses to allow service dogs to enter their premises with their handlers and to provide reasonable accommodations.