For my senior thesis I'm going to interview several different organizations which use service dogs in order to accomplish important tasks. Right now I'm planning on interviewing Guiding Eyes for the Blind (guide dogs), the TSA (bomb detection), and possibly the police and someone I know who trains search and rescue dogs.
Here are some questions I've come up with for the interviews:
1) Why do you use dogs and what specific tasks are these dogs required to achieve?
2) Which breeds do you use and why?
3) At what age do puppies begin training for work?
4) What training and socialization techniques are used in preliminary training?
5) How are dogs evaluated to tell whether they are a good fit for the training program and job they are expected to perform?
6) What training techniques and philosophies are used in your program?
7) How does a dog get matched with a handler and how involved is the handler in regards to training? What kind of training does the handler receive in order to work with the dog?
8) How and when does a dog complete the program and begin work?
9) How is the program’s success evaluated? How is the dog’s success evaluated? Are these evaluations done regularly?
10) How many dogs enter the training program and how many complete it?
11) Why do you think the dogs that don't complete the program drop out?
12) How successful are the dog-handler teams after the program, and is there any followup evaluations or training involved?
13) What in particular has been a strength of the program, and what has been a weakness? What challenges have you had to solve or manage?
I'm going to brainstorm some more, but does anyone else have any ideas for questions to ask regarding the training of these dogs? Give me feedback please!