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When it comes to training a Service Dog, absolutely nothing is more important than exhaustive socialization. Socialization and exposure to the world is the foundation upon which all other training rests, and a Service Dog who hasn't gained real-world experience via systematic socialization is not fit for public access. With this list of oft-missed opportunities, you'll be able to ensure you're hitting all the bases while socializing Service Dogs in Training. Important Considerations Before Beginning Never, ever put a vest on a dog or claim it as a Service Dog in Training that is still displaying any behavior issues that would be eliminated during basic training — including leash pulling, inappropriate sniffing, etc. There are plenty of opportunities to socialize a dog in public at pet stores which allow animals, public parks and other areas which allow dogs. Remember, your behavior and that of your dog not only effects you but other Service Dog teams as well. Before bringing your Service Dog in Training (SDiT) home, you need to have a defined plan for socializing him. While many people decide to simply take the puppy with them and introduce him to everything and anything they can, utilizing that approach results in missed experiences and an uneven education. Unfortunately, more Service Dogs are released from training programs across the country for socialization concerns than any other reason. Protect your partnership by not only picking a puppy from a source that began socialization and stimulation at birth, but by also continuing socialization, exposure and training throughout your puppy's training. Use the attached checklist or prepare one of your own that includes everything your partner may encounter as both a puppy in training and as a working Service Dog adult. By keeping track of your Service Dog in Training's education, you'll better be able to spot and fill in holes before they become an issue. The most important rule of socializing Service Dogs in Training is to never, ever, ever, for any reason, force an SDiT to approach, interact with, touch or be on/near/with something that appears to frighten them. Forcing a puppy in training to engage when afraid ensures he'll never form positive associations with the object, person, place, surface, equipment or situation. Instead of forcing your SDiT, always keep high-value treats with you and use them to encourage a suspicious puppy to explore a situation of his own accord. If you lay a solid foundation of socialization

Many people have a vague sense of awareness that Service Dogs "help" their person and that they're allowed to be in public, but there's a lot more to Service Dog handlers and teams than meets the eye.

“Oh, how cute, look at that face! Sooo adooorable.” For the disabled who use small service dogs, these endearments are unfortunately not met with the appreciative responses one might expect from a small dog owner. To a Service Dog owner their small and often ‘height-challenged’ wee ones are far from being “just another pretty face.”

Uber and Lyft have come on the market as an alternative to traditional taxi services. Using a smartphone app, these services instead allow anyone (after initial screening) to use their personal vehicles to provide rides to those who request them through the app. One of the biggest perks of using these services, is that often riders pay less than they would pay had they taken a traditional cab.

Are you looking for training for your search dog in a real USAR environment? Look no further than the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department Search Dog Team's upcoming Urban Search and Rescue K9 training event and fundraiser, Dia de los Perros. The event is scheduled for on October 26th, 2019, at the historic George Air Force Base in Adelanto, California. The USAR training event will provide training opportunities for both live find search dogs and human remains detection K9s. Teams will rotate between 6 stations with multiple search problems each. Stations include a haunted hospital, ruined buildings, and burned-out neighborhoods, plus other unique search and rescue K9 training opportunities. The SBSD Search Dog Team website sums up the training locations perfectly: The Historic George Air Force Base is located on registries of abandoned places, and features multiple office buildings, base housing (both apartments and neighborhoods of houses), barracks, and supporting clinics and a hospital, all in a ruined environment closely approximating an actual disaster scenario. The two-story hospital plus basement is rumored to be haunted and is a treasure trove of hiding places for dog training. Housing structures are both (somewhat) intact or burned and completely ruined, allowing dogs to train in multiple types of scent conditions. The SBSD Search Dog Team provides subjects to hide and human remains source. They'll also coordinate the search problems and hope to provide additional educational stations. Only 30 teams are allowed to participate, although auditor spots are available. The event will run from 8 am to 5 pm with lunch included. Search Dog teams wishing to participate in the first annual Dia de los Perros Search and Rescue K9 training event should contact Julie Purcell via email at jkirkpurcell at sbsar dot org. Include the following information when emailing: Your Name Agency Affiliation Discipline (Live Find or HRD) Contact Email Contact Phone number Contact Mailing Address  

Some variation of the "DO NOT DISTRACT" patch regularly appears on Service Dog vests, jackets, and harnesses. However, Service Dog handlers still report that members of the public frequently ignore the patch. Distracting a Service Dog is dangerous for both the dog and handler. Frequently, though, people don't know what distracts Service Dogs! Keep reading to learn more about distractions, Service Dogs, and how to avoid causing problems for working Service Dog teams you see in public. Every Service Dog handler, trainer, and puppy raiser has dozens of stories about members of the public distracting their Service Dog or Service Dog in Training (SDiT). Dog lovers often see a Service Dog working in a store and want to engage with the dog or handler. Many don't realize, though, that touching, talking to, making noises at, or offering food to a Service Dog is not only annoying but can also be dangerous. Distracted Service Dogs pull their focus away from their handler and their job to focus on the person engaging them. For some teams, even a split-second shift in focus can result in falls, injury, or other issues. What's the Rule About Interacting With Service Dogs? A simple rule exists for engaging Service Dogs in public: don't. Avoid talking to them. Don't use a baby voice or make kissy sounds. Don't crouch down or try to make them look at you. Resist petting them without explicit permission from the handler. Don't offer food, treats, tidbits, or toys. Don't block their way or try to scare them. Basically, pretend the Service Dog doesn't exist and you'll be doing just fine. Everything someone does that is intended to get a reaction from the dog counts as a distraction. The solution is simple: just let the Service Dog work in peace. Engage directly with the handler if necessary for everyday interaction or business. What Are Common Distractions? Service Dog Distractions: Touch and Petting Americans tend to be a bunch of dog-loving people. Many people enjoy interacting with dogs and like petting them. When these people see a dog in public they often assume the dog is friendly and immediately reach out to pet or touch them. One of the most common complaints Service Dog handlers and trainers voice is that people ignore their "DO NOT PET" patch. They often report that people ignore the patch no matter how big or brightly colored it appears! Touching, petting or patting Service Dogs

It’s that time of year again, back to school! As you are hurrying around getting all of your school supplies in order and planning for the year ahead, make sure that you spend some time making sure your Service Dog is all set-up for the new school year as well.

When it comes to Service Dogs or Service Dogs in Training with public access, there are definite things Service Dogs in public should and should not do. Learn more about how well-trained Service Dogs should appear and what U.S. Service Dog law says about dogs who don't quite possess the skills necessary to safely work in public