Training A Dog For Autism

The idea of training your dog for autism may seem a little far-fetched but there are so many positives that could come from it. Children with autism benefit from the companionship, affection and help of a pet, and research has shown that pet owners and those with dogs in their family often have lower stress levels than families without pets.

Canine autism assistance service training is such a remarkable way to assist kids and adults. Service dog training programs are available for any one who is in need of additional help. Simply being able to depend on a dog as a partner can be a great option for persons with a disability, especially an autism assistance dog, which is exactly what these programs provide.

If you have a dog and are raising an autistic child, you may be wondering how to train your dog to help your child.

The best thing to do is to start training your dog before the child is born. This will help you both bond with the animal and establish a relationship that will be beneficial for both of you. One way to do this is through play—the more time you spend playing with your dog, the more likely it will be that he/she will react positively when interacting with your child.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while dogs can be trained to help with autism, it doesn’t mean they’ll be perfect at it right away. It’s important not to expect too much too soon, or else you might end up disappointed by what they’re able to do and how long it takes them to learn new things. It’s also important not to punish them if they make mistakes (like walking into certain rooms), because this could make them afraid of doing anything wrong at all!

If you need some help getting started with training your dog for autism, here are some tips:

-Make sure there’s always something fun available for them when they’re around kids (such as toys or treats). You don’t want them getting bored or

Training a dog for autism can be a great way to help children with autism. When you train your dog, you are giving them the ability to help your child and the family. You will also have a companion who will listen and love you unconditionally.

I have trained my dogs for over 20 years and have trained many dogs for families with special needs children. I am very passionate about helping families and their loved ones with disabilities.

Training A Dog For Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has a wide range of associated challenges that may include issues with social communication, adapting to a new environment, awareness of danger, emotional stability, etc. However, because Autism is a spectrum disorder each child is still very unique in the degree they are affected and the things in which they need assistance. An Autism Assistance Dog can be case specifically trained in the areas where the individual needs assistance. These skills are primarily used as part of a three unit team where a parent or other trained adult uses the task trained skills that the service dog can provide for the child.

Trained Tasks


Children with autism may display wandering or impulsive behavior which results in them becoming lost. When time is of the essence, having a service dog trained to recognize the child’s scent and lead a parent to the missing child is critical.


Many families report that they are not able to safely take their child with autism in public for fear of the child becoming lost. A service dog can be trained to provide tethering in which the dog wears a harness and a second leash from the harness can be attached to a belt or backpack the child is wearing. The connection creates a physical boundary that allows the child to walk but prevents the child from leaving due to service dog providing an anchor. Tethering is only used handler is holding on to the primary leash and providing direction and complete supervision.

Behavior Redirection

Meltdowns and sensory needs are common challenges for children with autism. An Autism Assistance Dog can be trained to provide task trained assistance with calming, comforting and redirecting commands. Commands include redirection such as the dog placing their paw on the child’s leg, sensory input from deep pressure or kisses, calming comfort by the service dog snuggling or laying their head in the child’s lap. These skills are task trained and meet the definition of a service dog which allows public access. This differs from an Emotional Support Animal whose simple presence provides comfort and does not have general public access.

Additional Benefits

Best Friend

While the needs of each child are unique, many families hope that a service dog will become their child’s best friend. Having a service dog that is bonded closely to their child is an opportunity for the child to have a best friend who loves and accepts them unconditionally.

Sleeping Better

Many parents report that their child sleeps better at night because the service dog is sleeping with them and providing that constant comfort. Parents may also choose to use some of the service dog’s task trained skills to provide comfort to help the child to fall asleep. If the child wakes up at night, they are able to snuggle with their best friend and buddy and fall back asleep.

Social Bridge

Other children may not understand or know how to relate to a child who is displaying meltdowns and repetitive behaviors. When the child with autism has a service dog, suddenly they are the most popular person on the playground or in public and everyone wants to interact with them.


Many children enjoy learning how to brush, feed, and take care of their service dog. This gives them the opportunity to be responsible for something and they can take pride in their efforts as they learn important life skills.


For children who struggle with verbal skills, asking the dog to perform a trick or other command can be an incentive to communicate. In public, the child has the opportunity to talk about their service dog with other people.

Assisting with Transitions

The Autism Assistance dog has the public access rights to provide a source of comfort and consistency when environments change and anxiety might be high. Many families are able to go more places because they have the service dog. The dog is not only able to provide the task trained skills in public, but also their presence helps to deescalate a situation.

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