No one method will be right for everyone, but here's my story regarding the steps to take towards getting a successor dog and retiring a current service dog. First, begin the process before you need to. The last thing anyone wants is to have an older dog that won't get a chance to retire. I start the process when my current dog is around 8 years old. It often takes 2 years to comfortably switch over to my successor dog and also because one can not replace a soul. There are dogs after your first, second, third, and so on. and they are called "Successor Dogs". When you are partnered with dogs as long as I've been, you gain a unique perspective. I am an owner trainer that has benefited from the knowledge of many amazing mentors, several of them over the years. A few of my mentors stand out over others, and some are good friends that I have met along the way. Some people prefer program dogs, that professional trainers teach, and then match them to their people. This is a great route to go. I recommend, because of the time and expense, you start early and learn about fund raising. Also apply to a lot of reputable organizations, especially if you're not military affiliated (like a Combat Veteran). Most people that aren't military affiliated don't get dogs donated, so fundraising is a big deal, since dogs can cost a lot, with price varying due to the complexity of the trained tasks the dog must know and what the dog will be doing. My personal choice was to be an owner trainer, because I grew up with dogs and have been training dogs for almost 40 years. This is the information I know best. My first step is to come to terms with the fact that my best partner ever (they each are) is getting older. The big "joke" is that about the time they're perfect, you need to start the process of training the next of a hopefully long line of dogs, and begin to retire the partner that you've worked with for years. Make a Plan The next step is to plan. You need to plan and ask and learn. For example, I refresh my memory of how to teach the basic foundation behaviors, as well as their more complicated finished behaviors. It sounds silly, but after having a solid partner to the
Rules exist for a reason and when it comes to Service Dogs and Service Dog law, too many people have come to view them more as “guidelines.” Whether it’s someone who wishes they could take their dog everywhere or someone who has chosen to break the law by presenting their pet as a fake Service Dog, both actions cause damage and harm to the Service Dog and disabled community.
As the holidays wrap up, it's a great time to reflect on your 2018 and resolve to do better in 2019. Here are ten simple steps that will help you and your Service Dog become a better team. Happy New Year! 2019 Service Dog Goals: Check Your Gear Is your Service Dog gear clean, serviceable and still relevant to your needs? Now is a great time to sit in a warm house and clean gear, spruce up those leather harnesses with some saddle soap, and make sure that that really nice backpack doesn't chafe your partner's underarms. Check the fit of collars, boots, coats, and other working gear. Make sure ID tags are up to date. Since you're probably working on taxes or your budget for the coming year - now's a good time to consider if you'll need to replace or upgrade any gear in the coming year. 2019 Service Dog Goals: Make a Service Dog Binder This is more important than it sounds. Include things like a current vaccination record, microchip information. AKC, breeder, trainer, or even rescue information could be included also. A list of all of the tasks your dog performs for you, and a list of all of the commands and behaviors that your dog has mastered could be included too. Other ideas include a current series of photos that show your dog both dressed and from the front and side, in case you ever need them. There are lots of ideas, these are just a few. 2019 Service Dog Goals: Do a Service Dog Skills Check It's a good idea to evaluate your partner's skill set multiple times per year, but a large scale audit is good at least once per year. This is a good time to see if you need to focus your training anywhere specific, or to simply update your list of what your dog knows. Getting video is a good idea too. 2019 Service Dog Goals: Update Your Service Dog's Task and Behavior List Now is a good time to update their Task/Behavior list. Cell phones make it so easy to get good quality video these days too. It's a really great way to log that your dog can demonstrate a skill when needed, just mak sure that there is sufficient lighting and the behavior is visible with minimal cues and distractions. Storing these files on a USB Drive or even a SD Card makes life a lot
Service Dogs and Assistance Dogs aren’t the only dogs in the world who do amazing, life-changing work, but they are one of the few types of working dogs clearly defined and protected by United States federal law. Too many people don’t understand the differences between many types of working dogs, though, and it’s time to clear up some of the confusion.
Choosing the perfect name for your pooch isn't easy. After all, they'll have it forever! Here are the most popular dog names from 2018. These creative names are derived from movies, current affairs and celebrities. Infographic courtesy of DogBuddy.com Political Pooches Whether you're on the left or the right, I think we can all admit it's been a big year for politics. Political names, for better or worse, have made it into the top 100. Superheroes and Songs Dogs are the superheroes (and the kingpins) of the animal world, so it makes total sense to give our pups names worthy of the silver screen. With the release of a whole host of Marvel franchise movies in the last 12 months, superheroes (and, if we’re getting technical, gods) are leading the pack. Logan’s steel claws are tearing up the competition with a 20% rise since 2017, whilst the Norse god Loki is up 21%. Dog owners, like the rest of us, are suckers for a bit of movie nostalgia, too. The original Toy Story movie came out way back in 1995, and The Lion King barks back to 1994, perhaps prompting today’s dog owners to name their precious pooch after the leaders of a famous pride. Simba is up 15% and Woody is up 11% but the real winner (and let’s be honest, the real hero of The Lion King) is Nala who’s up a roaring 83% since last year. When it comes to music tastes, our data suggests that more dog owners are bathing in the purple rain than donning their blue suede shoes or giving a countdown to Major Tom… Ziggy is down 20% Elvis is down 13% Prince is up 29% Gender Neutral Names Gender neutral names are more popular than ever, with unisex human baby names rising in popularity by 60% since last year. Fur baby parents are following the trend, too. Check out the doggo names that are on an upwards trend since last year: Bobby is up 87% Arlo is up 15% Frankie is up 13% Top 100 Female Dog Names 2018 Bella Poppy Lola Luna Molly Daisy Ruby Coco Rosie Millie Roxy Tilly Bonnie Willow Lucy Holly Honey Maggie Nala Lily Maisie Skye Belle Pepper Mia Lulu Betty Minnie Lilly Pippa Jessie Penny Winnie Lottie Lexi Maya Amber Bailey Jess Missy Ellie Phoebe Dolly Milly Stella Ella Lady Izzy Sophie Mollie Sasha Peggy Mabel Olive Meg Darcy Misty Frankie Cookie Evie Sky Tia
Federal law stipulates that a Service Animal is "any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability" and that a Service Dog teams are allowed to enter areas where the public is normally allowed to go. However, a Service Dog team's civil rights may be occasionally challenged by well-meaning people trying to keep pets out of the establishment. While stressful, these challenges are typically easy to handle. Sometimes, though, a little more work is required.
We can’t control disasters but we can control how we respond to them. Our animals, pets, working and Service dogs are all part of our families and having a plan will make responding easier and less stressful. Most plans often overlook these important points. Therefore, preparing a disaster kit, having safe place to stay, having insurance all are important parts of ensuring your well-being in times of catastrophes. Make sure your pet, working dog or Service Dog are safe whatever the circumstances are. Create an emergency plan. For more detailed information on how to create a disaster plan, please click here. Infographic courtesy of mikesgearreviews.co
It's hard to go anywhere nowadays without running into Service Dogs. Since the U.S. doesn't require Service Dog certifications, the only way to tell a "real" Service Dog from a fake is by behavior. Read on to learn more about what a Service Dog should act like. Every Service Dog Team is Unique Every Service Dog team has unique abilities, needs, and work styles. No two teams possess the same training since every disability is different. What works for one team may not work for others. However, it's vital to note that every "real" Service Dog has one thing in common: they're individually trained to meet the needs of a person with a disability. This individual training specifically addresses their person's needs. The behaviors, tasks, and work the dog does for their handler aren't "natural" behaviors or things any dog could do. The training is precise and exact. The trained behaviors are on cue, reliable, and replicable. The dog's response to the cue/command is predictable since it's a trained behavior. As an example, a Service Dog who is trained to nudge their handler's hand when the handler becomes frozen in fear is different from a dog who naturally pushes and shoves with their muzzle. The second dog's behavior cannot be predicted and it isn't on cue. Therefore, it's not a trained behavior and does not count as a Service Dog task, even if it's helpful. Emotional Support Is Not a Trained Task This is why emotional support does not count as a Service Dog task. All dogs can provide emotional support. However, you can't train a dog to provide emotional support. You can train a dog to provide deep pressure stimulation to ground the handler during a panic attack or to alert the handler to a person approaching from behind. A dog who is not trained to reliably provide tasks and/or work that help their handler do things they couldn't do on their own in response to specific cues or commands is not a Service Dog. Dogs in public masquerading as Service Dogs who aren't Service Dogs do not possess the caliber of training necessary to work calmly and reliably. Fake Service Dogs create a lot of complications for real Service Dog teams. Namely, they create suspicion and access issues for well-trained teams. Service Dog Behavior: General Manners Service Dogs appear calm, relaxed, and able to focus while working with their partner in public. They should have good manners.
Allergen Alert Dogs, also known as Allergy Alert Dogs, Allergen Detection Dogs or Allergy Service Dogs, work with people who have life-threatening allergies. Sometimes they're called Anaphylaxis Service Dogs or Anaphylaxis Prevention Dogs. These special Service Dogs sniff for the presence of allergens. They alert their human partner if the Allergen Dog locates any amount of the potentially deadly substance in the environment. For hundreds of thousands of "allergy parents" across the United States, every day involves constant vigilance. For their kids, exposure to even trace amounts of certain foods or medicines could end with a trip to the emergency room or worse. According to the organization Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), roughly 1 in 13 children has a food allergy. That works out to 2 or so children in every classroom! 40% of all children with food allergies have life-threatening reactions. Furthermore, 30% of all children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food. All in all, about 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies. 5.9 million of them are children under the age of 18. Myths and misconceptions about allergies abound, but the facts don't lie: life-threatening allergies are on the rise, with the Center for Disease Control citing a 50% rise in recent years. Every 3 minutes, an allergic reaction sends someone to the emergency room. There's no known cure, and the only management involves total avoidance of the food or substance. Common Allergens & Allergic Reactions Some of the most common food allergies include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and shellfish, with latex, insect stings, and certain medications amongst common non-food allergies. Exposure to an allergen can cause a minor reaction, like hives or a rash, or a major one, like difficulty breathing. No matter how minor a reaction seems, though, all allergies are serious. Anaphylaxis, the most severe allergic reaction, causes symptoms akin to shock. The body releases a flood of chemicals. Blood pressure plummets and airways narrow, making breathing difficult or impossible. Anaphylaxis requires prompt medical treatment and intervention to save the person's life. If the person carries an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen), administer it immediately, and then arrange for transport to the emergency room. For the people who deal with life-threatening allergies, everything in the environment could be potentially deadly. Every bite of food requires screening. Cosmetic products and everyday essentials necessitate exhaustive research. Even things like Play-Doh can contain allergens. Nothing can be done without
There are some very important things people with visible or invisible disabilities want you to know. This is a list of "don'ts". These 21 items should get you off on the right foot, or at least help you know more about which one's the wrong foot. Manners are important. How we conduct ourselves reflects what kind of person we choose to be. Kindness is critical. We all live on this planet together! Please be polite. We want to be treated like anyone else. Please don't draw attention to what makes us different — and understand that we may have invisible disabilities. Maybe instead focus on what makes us all similar. Don't rule me out. Please don't overlook me as a friend or date because I have a medical assistance device or dog with me. I may want to go have coffee with you if you ask nicely, or possibly even dinner. Who knows? I'm a person too! Nope, no secret club. Having a disability doesn't mean that we're in a secret club. There are no secrets, we just might not wish to share information about our medical situation or needs. Please don't ask us questions that you wouldn't want to answer yourself. Having a disability is not the best thing ever. While it's admirable of you to try to cheer us up, there are no "Pep Talks" needed. It's just how we are, and we have to live with it daily. It's a challenge, and it's hard sometimes. It's not something wished upon anyone else. It just is. This is not a contest. Please don't try to compare two people's disabilities, or life experiences. Everyone's struggle is different. It's apples and oranges, even if both people have the same disabilities exactly. Instead, understand that everyone is different and no one really knows everything about anyone else. Please don't talk about us behind our back. We're people with feelings, and we heard or saw that. Remember Mom's words, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Sometimes just don't say anything anyway. I am not a medical doctor. Please don't ask me if I think you need a Service Dog, or even how to get one. I am the only expert on me, just like you're the only expert on you. Googling programs for Service Dogs, and getting in contact with them is probably your best bet. Don't walk up