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tips Tag

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Everyone knows that Service Dogs are supposed to be calm, well trained dogs who work hard to help their human partners.

In America, the 4th of July is a day full of celebration. With cookouts, parades, sparklers, crowds, fireworks, noise, activity, events and chaos galore, Independence Day can be difficult not only for pets, but also for working K-9s, Service Dogs, and their handlers. Before joining a holiday celebration with your canine partner, here are some points to consider.

Although many people know that you are not supposed to pet Service Dogs when they are working, few understand the reasoning behind this rule. Even fewer people realize that you should not DISTRACT an assistance dog in ANY WAY.

It’s time to look for your next Service Dog. What traits should you look for? What's important? What doesn't matter? There is a sea of misinformation that a Service Dog handler must sort through while picking a Service Dog puppy or candidate. Cut through the chaos and learn what what to look for while selecting a potential partner.

Brace and Mobility Support Dogs are a type of Service Dog trained to provide their disabled handler with assistance moving from place to place. This invaluable service is matched only by these dogs’ ability to also help with other chores and tasks, like opening doors or retrieving dropped items. Due to the unique nature of their work, though, Brace and Mobility Support Dogs have special needs. Read on to learn more!

Properly-trained Service Dogs can provide an incredible breadth benefits to disabled individuals. From mobility assistance and independence, assisting with everyday tasks, summoning help when needed, alerting to night terrors and more. There's a lot of focus on Golden Retrievers, Bichon Frisés and German Shepherds, but purebreds aren't the only types of dogs that can be trained to become excellent Service Dogs.  Some organizations are helping homeless dogs get a second chance as Service Dogs.

Before partnering with a Service Dog, there are several important points to consider. While thousands of individuals with a disability benefit greatly from partnering with a Service Dog, it’s not the solution for everyone. If you or a loved one is considering full-time Service Dog partnership, please ask yourself the following 5 questions before making a final decision.

When it comes to Service Dog tasks, there is a lot of confusion over what constitutes a real, specifically trained task and which are only perceived tasks, fueled by emotion and wishful thinking. From Service Dog handlers to trainers to medical doctors to veterinarians alike, there is historically a lot of confusion surrounding this topic.

High value dog training treats provide your dog with lots of motivation to focus and work. These are the gold standard of dog training treats, the ones your dog will do anything to earn. While every dog likes different things, try some of the suggestions on this list to add variety to your high value treat mix. Tripe - freeze dried, roasted Cheese - cubes, slivers, shreds, string Hot dogs - quarter & use raw or bake / microwave to remove moisture Natural Balance rolls - diced (instructions here) Chicken - roasted, boiled, freeze dried Steak - cubed without seasoning Sardines - cubed Sliced gizzards Sliced hearts Wet cat food - on a spoon & frozen for easy licking and reward presentation Peanut butter -- freeze on a spoon for easy reward presentation Popcorn - cheese flavored Meatballs Liver - freeze dried or baked Bacon Cheese Whiz Baby food (meat based) Sausage bites Jerky Bil-jac

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