From the category archives:

Service Dog Training

Size does not matter!

by Sue on August 10, 2016

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

I may open up a can of worms here but I wanted to bring up a problem that is becoming more and more common. Small dogs that are growly, nippy or just flat out bite and are still being used as service dogs. This is causing a problem for people that have well behaved small service dogs.

A LOT of people do not take my service dog seriously because of his size. They think I am trying to fake a service dog because he is not a German Shepherd, a Golden Retriever, a Labradoodle, or any of the other breeds that are usually thought of as the breeds used for Service Dogs. They stereotype him as one of those snarky little dogs they see. I usually don’t say anything, I just let people think that. Then, after they watch him work, they are usually amazed. Many stating “That is the most well behaved dachshund I have ever seen” or “I didn’t know they used dachshunds as service dogs” or “I didn’t think small dogs could be service dogs” That last remark is usually replied to by a small chuckle and my “Try telling HIM he’s small” while he sits or stands with this nonchalant look on his face. Actions speak louder than words.

Gunny is a very seasoned dog. In the equine world he would be called bomb proof. But then Gunny was my Narcotics detection dog before he became my service dog. He no longer does drug searches since the legalization of marijuana in the state of Oregon. Unfortunately he is subjected to that smell on a regular basis while we are “out and about” now. I had to keep telling him to “break” when he smelled it. To him “break” means leave it and move on. Now he just ignores the scent. Shame too. He was good at that. He still detects meth though.

But I’m getting off track again.

Small dogs tend to work harder at what they do or are trained to do. I think it’s because of the fact that they are small and feel the need to prove themselves. But, like with any breed of dog, not every small dog is cut out for the work of a service dog. All dogs, regardless of size, are individuals just like you or I are. Some people are leaders, some are followers, some are timid, some are easy going. It’s the same with dogs. The perfect candidate for a service dog is a dog that can: make choices in tight situations, remain calm, have been heavily socialized (but not overly friendly. In other words, you want the dog to accept people and allow people to touch them but not be an overly friendly dog), be very devoted to their owner, be house broken and, above all, show NO aggressive tendencies what so ever. If your small dog does not fit as a service dog, do not use the dog as one.

I have heard from customers “Well my dog is small so of course he/she is going to snarl or snap when they feel threatened or someone comes near me. But that is OK, they are still a service dog” Actually no. That is wrong. The ADA states that a service dog must be well behaved in public. If a service dog shows any aggressive tendencies then they can be asked to leave. The only time this can be overlooked is if the dog was provoked. And this does not mean simply reaching out to touch the dog or similar. This means pushing the dog to a breaking point. But that rarely happens as usually a well trained service dog will just try to get away rather that become aggressive if he or she feels threatened.

Size does not matter. Big dogs or little dogs. They are all dogs. They think like dogs and can all be trained the same no matter what the size. A dog’s size is no excuse for making excuses for poor training.

{ 0 comments }

What are people saying about barkOutfitters Service Dog Vest Harness + 50 FREE ADA Info Cards Kit

by Sue on March 17, 2015

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Great Product, Great Seller

By Kona’s Mom on February 28, 2015

Color Name: RedSize Name: 21″ – 25″ Girth Verified Purchase
I am so impressed with the high quality and durability of this harness. The sizing chart is accurate and fit my dog perfectly. I used this harness on a transcontinental flight. The adjustable harness is very comfortable on my dog. Designed with your dog’s comfort in mind with strong velcro adjustable straps and wide clip attachment. Very satisfied with this excellent product! Quick shipping – I received this item within 2 days of my order! Great transaction & quick response to my question from an American, family run, small business!!! A+

http://www.amazon.com/review/R30NRVW5EKOCE1/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00T9S8DJ4&nodeID=2619533011&store=pet-supplies

{ 0 comments }

Pets posing as service dogs make life tough for people who really need animals’ help

by Sue on December 11, 2013

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

From the time they’re puppies, service dogs are rigorously trained to help those who need them most. They can get into places where no pets are allowed.

The dogs are identified by the vest they wear. But since it’s not illegal to buy these vets, it’s easy for anyone to go online and obtain a vest for their animal.

Susan Lee Vick, director of Canine Companions for Independence, demonstrated how easy it is to obtain one. “There’s a real faux official quality to this, you know?” she said, showing a photo of a tiny dog wearing a service vest. “This is Bambi; Bambi’s new service dog vest!”

She said it never occurred to advocates for the disabled that the vests would be misused.

“There was never any vision of this outcome, this just sort of explosion of the ‘have a vest, wear a vest, go anywhere you want with your pet,’ no one saw that,” Vick said.

Peter Morgan has a spinal disorder that makes it nearly impossible for him to bend. He teaches kids with special needs, with his service dog Echuka constantly at the ready. His disability isn’t very obvious to strangers. Morgan says no one had ever doubted his need for a service dog — until recently.

“The last two years, it’s become very prevalent. The questioning, the looks. It’s been a radical shift,” he said.

And now he sees fake service dogs in places where pets aren’t normally allowed. At a recent dinner out, Morgan said, there was another dog in the restaurant.

“Even to the casual observer you could tell it was not a service dog,” Morgan said. “It had a vest. It was eating off the floor, licking people, lunging at people.”

Then, Morgan said, the dog’s owner pulled him aside.

“And he started saying, ‘It’s really neat that we can bring these dogs in here and get away with it because, you know, my dog’s not a service dog and neither is yours.’ And I just turned to him and I said, ‘You have absolutely no idea what you’re doing,’ ” Morgan said.

There’s a growing call to penalize people who try to pass off their pets as service dogs. But few agree on how it should be enforced.

Advocates for the disabled say the problem may just be ignorance.

“They don’t realize the harm that they are doing,” Vick said of the impostors. “Bringing your pet dog out into a public place harms that person with a disability’s right to live a free and independent life.”

Morgan says he’s been kicked out of restaurants when other dogs act up because people suspect his service dog is a fake.

“The people that are actually doing this should really take a long deep breath and think about how they’re affecting less abled people than themselves,” he said.

That, he said, would provide the most valuable service.

 

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: How can they enforce it? For the ADA/DOJ to allow companies like ourselves to ask for a Doctor’s note before we sell them a product. Until that happens, our hands are tied.

{ 18 comments }

Shelter dogs to service dogs

by Sue on December 27, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Dogs give their partners independence

Updated: Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 11:03 PM CST
Published : Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 7:24 PM CST

Leslie Rhode

Dripping Springs (KXAN) – Out in the rolling hills of Dripping Springs west of Austin, there is a new beginning happening at the Texas Hearing and Service Dogs organization. Dogs that once were in animal shelters across the state are getting a fresh start. Each year the group trains service and hearing dogs to be paired up with people who need them for independence. The class of 2013 is the group’s largest class to date in its nearly twenty-five year history. Fifteen dogs do not spend much time in kennels, but in training to ultimately change lives.

A service dog helps a person with everyday tasks to provide a greater sense of independence and dignity. The dog may help a person in a wheel chair pick up something that was dropped, open a door or fetch a bottle of water from the refrigerator. The Texas Hearing and Service Dogs group professionally trains the dogs and matches them up with their human friends, offering the dog and the training free of charge. The group relies on donations to make the partnerships happen.

“Animals are the kind of technology that you can hug, and I think there’s a lot of value in that,” said Sheri Soltes the Founder and President of Texas Hearing and Service Dogs.”

All of the dogs are hand picked by the trainers from shelters. To get the class of 2013 together, trainers went to 21 different shelters across the state and looked at more than 4,000 dogs to find the 15 dogs.

“The goal is to find a dog that is pretty gregarious, laid back and relaxed,” said Director of Training Al Kordowski. “The thing that’s going to distinguish them is their energy level, their attentiveness to us and being able to be calm. On the other hand with a hearing dog, we want them to be a little more extroverted and quite aware of everything in their environment.”

Director of Training Al Kordowski and others have that knack of finding shelter dogs with the perfect qualities to be service dogs. Watson is a black lab-mastiff mix from Williamson County who was sick in the shelter when they found him and still has a bullet in his front leg. Mocha is also a mixed breed who is naturally so alert to sounds, she will likely work with a hearing impaired person.

“There’s a place for all of these dogs,” said Kordowski. “There’s a home for all these dogs. You can find a place for these dogs looking for homes. We can go and we can save these dogs.”

“We invest $20,000 in a year into training each dog,” said Sheri Soltes, the Founder and President of Texas Hearing and Service Dogs. “We custom train it for its disabled partner, and we give the dog away to the person free of charge. So donations are what sponsor all of the training and things you’re seeing here — making these miracles happen.”

The miracles Soltes is referring to happen with each new class of service dogs. It is a miracle opening a new world for a person in need and a once unwanted dog.

{ 0 comments }

Access to Public Places for Service and Assistance Dogs under the ADA

by Sue on September 5, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

This is an EXCELLENT video that I think everyone should watch. However it does need to be updated a bit (being created in 2010) because as of March 15, 2011 only dogs and miniature horses can be Service Animals.

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy, Lucy and Squeaky.

{ 9 comments }

Service Dog, Emotional Support Animal or Therapy dog…

by Sue on June 21, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

People tend to get these three confused at times so I will sum it up in a nut shell.

Service Dog: A dog that is trained (either by the owner or someone else. Or in some cases the dog just does it naturally) to help that disabled individual with day to day tasks, helps alert an individual when its time for medication or if they are about to have a seizure, or helps calm a person with PTSD, Anxiety, Bi-Polar, Aspergers, Autism, etc.

Emotional Support Animal: Any animal that gives a person the will to live. In other words, gives them something to live for. This is very key for those suffering from depression, etc.

Therapy Dog: Any dog that has been tested for temperament (usually with a Canine Good Citizen test, commonly known as a CGC test). Then used for many purposes such as visiting people in a hospital, visiting nursing homes, calming a frightened or traumatized child, calming a child while being interviewed as a witness, and many many other way that just in general make people feel good.

Places each dog can go:

Service Dog: Open access except in private homes. If a home owner states that they do not want the dog in their home, they do have the right to say no. Basically, any place which is open to the public is to allow a service dog( with the exception of churches and Indian reservations as they are considered sovereign nations).

Emotional Support Animal: On Airlines and in housing (that the owner is renting or leasing) with a policy against pets or restrictions on pets. No place else. Public places that are posted “Service Dogs Only” or “Service Animals Only” are not open to Emotional Support Animals or Therapy Dogs.

Therapy Dogs: Allowed into areas with allow Therapy Dogs. Not allowed into places only Service Dogs or Emotional Support Animals are allowed unless given special permission (In other words. The dog needs to do the job that he is trained for in that particular area).

Sussie and the Friendly Foursome
Gunny, Rainy, Lucy, Squeaky

{ 11 comments }

A little interaction…

by Sue on May 9, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Do not feel obligated to participate in this if you do not feel comfortable about doing so.

I am trying to keep this blog active but am running out of articles about Service Dogs. So I decided today to make it a little more interactive…

What type of breed of SD do you have?

What made you decide on that particular breed?

Was this originally your own personal dog that you trained (or it came by the task naturally) to be a service dog, or did you obtain it already trained?

If you live in housing with a no pets policy, was it difficult to obtain permission to allow you to have your SD?

Have you ever flown with your SD?

What airlines did you use and were they accommodating to you?

Thanks!

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy and Lucy

{ 81 comments }

A nice short documentary about mobility dogs.

by Sue on February 1, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

{ 7 comments }

Casual Friday at the Service Dog Blog

by Sue on October 7, 2011

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Here is a little Friday fun. It’s “brag about your dog” day!

Answer as many of the following questions as you wish.

What breed of service dog do you have?

Did you train your service dog? Or was your service dog trained by someone else?

If you did not train your service dog yourself, do you think you could now having worked with yours?

Where did you obtain your service dog?

What is the most amazing thing your service dog has ever done?

Do you allow people to pet your service dog (this includes dogs that are trained to only be petted when they have been given a command to allow it)?

Have you ever felt that your service dog gave you a chance to educate the public about service dogs?

Have you ever had anyone complain about the breed of your dog being a service dog?

Anything else you want to say about your dog, feel free too!

Sussie, Gunny and Rainy.

{ 23 comments }

Retiring your service dog

by Sue on July 22, 2011

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Just recently I had to retire my service dog due to back issues with him. I use him sometimes for light tasks but all and all his career is over. I am now using my husband’s service dog as my husband was just recently admitted into a full care facility due to his ALS.

Gunny seems to be taking this retirement OK. Possibly because it hurts him to do too much work and he knows it. However, there are times when he looks at me and clearly says “You still love me though, right?” I give him extra extra attention so he knows that Mommy still loves him.

My question to the readers is this…

Have you ever had to retire your service dog and take on a new one? How did your retired dog take this? Did they help train your new service dog?

Sussie, Gunny (Ret.) and Rainy

{ 15 comments }