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
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
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.
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
Retiring a Service Dog is a hard decision, particularly after years of partnership, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s hard to know when the time is right or how to go about it, but here are some points to consider before taking the leap.
While traveling with a Service Dog in the United States is your privilege, navigating airline policies, international laws, TSA regulations, security checkpoints and other commonly-encountered situations can be anything but smooth sailing. Here are some tips, tricks, guidelines and resources to ensure your trip is as stress-free as possible.
Escalators and moving sidewalks are everywhere in today’s convenience driven-world. Today’s Service Dog teams are likely to regularly encounter them, especially teams that travel, work in a large or multi-story office building or those that enjoy frequenting the mall. For humans, getting on an escalator or moving sidewalk is simple: step on. For Service Dogs, though, there are some additional considerations for safety.
here's no question about it: evacuations are stressful. If they're required because of an impending disaster or emergency, they're even more difficult and scary. For people with a disability or those partnered with a Service Dog, evacuations require even more planning and thought than normal. Ensure you and your partner remain as stress-free as possible by preparing ahead of time and knowing what resources are available for you. Here's steps you need to take to develop a disaster or evacuation plan for people with disabilities who use Service Dogs.
Service Dogs enhance their human partner’s lives in so many ways. Sometimes, these special dogs even save their human’s life through complex and highly trained task work.
When it comes to Service Dogs, there are a lot of myths out there. Many of these Service Dog myths are pretty pervasive, and it’s to the point that lots of people don’t know what’s correct. Without further ado, here are 5 common Service Dog myths debunked.