20 Mar

Got Kids AND a Dog? You need Family Training!

You planned on getting a new dog in the spring and everything was going to be perfect.  But now the virus happened and everyone is at home and admit it, it’s getting a little nutty.  We can help!  We know that taking on the mega-job of parenting kids AND a dog together is NOT easy!  Families need specialized training tailor-made just for them.  And that’s EXACTLY what we offer – remotely, from the safety and comfort of your home.

Our 6 session remote video package is customized to get EVERYONE involved. You’ll get all the tools and support you need to get your kids on board, your dog in check and the whole family playing for the same team! It’s fun, effective and 100% positive!

You’ll get:

    • Master training skill every week
    • Put your new skills to use in YOUR home – where you need it most!
    • Involve your WHOLE family in the training – YES! Kids too.
    • Play training games that make learning FUN!
    • The parents’ program has all the most important skills for raising kids and a dog together
    • The kids’ program is full of fun games where they’ll have so much fun they won’t even know they’re learning!
    • AND there’s even “in a nutshell” videos to help keep grandparents and nannies on the same page, so when people start coming back into your home, they can be up to speed!
    • Stay on track with a recap of your session
    • Watch videos that coach you through the skills you’ve learned
    • Feel confident that you’re on the right path!

So whether you want to get ahead of the game or you’re struggling to keep your head above water, our family dog private training program has EVERYTHING you need to look like a PRO in your new role, and actually ENJOY doing it.

Please note this package is not for dogs who have any fear, aggression of behavior “‘problems” other than normal puppy issues like play biting, house soiling, etc.

Book today to get started!

Happy Training! Looking forward to connecting (remotely!) with you soon!  Stay safe.


30 Dec

Not All Assistance Dogs Are Service Dogs

This past week a news story about a real service dog being attacked at mall in NJ by two unleashed dogs who were owned by a kiosk owner at the mall, initially claiming they too were service dogs.  This turned out to be untrue.

So it’s a good time to review the types of assistance dogs, and their differences.  There are three basic types of assistance dogs, all providing different tasks and support.  You rarely have overlap, meaning you won’t find a service dog that is also a therapy dog.  You could have a therapy dog that is also an ESA but that’s not common.

  1. Service Dogs:  These dogs undergo hundreds of hours of specialized training to assist one person, who is disabled, by Americans with Disabilities Act criteria. They must be trained to perform at least one specific task for their person that the person could not otherwise do without the dog. They also undergo public access training, in addition to basic obedience.  They are also trained to ignore high distractions including other dogs and people.  These are true working dogs with the most widely recognized being seeing eye dogs.  These dogs are given full protection under the ADA and are allowed to go into any establishment with their person, including restaurants and places dogs aren’t normally permitted.  There is no official overseeing body for certifying service dogs, which is why it can be abused.
  2. Emotional Support Animals (ESA): These dogs (or sometimes other animals) are companion pets but their own has been given a letter by a mental health professional stating having a companion animal will help their emotional well-being.  These dogs are not granted any additional public access to places like restaurants or stores but can fly in the airplane cabin and live in non-pet buildings.  These dogs do not have any training or certification requirements at all.
  3. Therapy Dogs:  These dogs undergo specialized temperament and obedience training to allow them to go into places such as schools, hospitals, disasters and nursing homes to help offer comfort and support to strangers.  They are not granted any special public access and their access is by permission only of the facility or location they are visiting.  These dogs must be certified by a therapy dog organization who has tested them and they also often have an AKC CGC certification.

Fake service dogs are rampant in my area and many others.  This picture was sent to me by a friend at Busch Gardens.  Dogs are not allowed there but this little dog, sitting in a wheelchair, has a service dog vest on.  It’s easy to buy a fake vest and impressive looking card online but that doesn’t mean anything.  I can usually spot fakers on a flexileash, with a red vest that says service dog, and the dog is often going off at people or other dogs.  This abuse of an unregulated system is not only dangerous to other pets and people but hurts disabled people from having access to the things and places they need or causes their dog to be distracted when they’re working.  As a result of the abuse, store owners are suspicious of people trying to pass off fake service dogs, disabled people are questioned, embarrassed or sometimes denied access. (I do not know for a fact this dog was fake, but I’d bet money on it based on this image.)

In almost two dozen states, there are fake service dog laws and penalties.  And airlines have begun to crack down on support animals with tighter restrictions after several people have been injured by traveling dogs.

What can you do?  First, don’t ever try to pass off your companion dog as a service dog.  And discourage friends and family members from doing it too.  I know most people just love their dogs so much and want to be with them all the time, but there are rules in place for a reason.  Second, learn the difference and help educate others.  Not all assistance dogs are the same.  Help spread understanding about the difference between a legitimate service dog, an ESA and a therapy dog.HERE’S A QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE.

And lastly, be a good doggy owner citizen.  If you are going to use your dog as an ESA, get them trained well.  Don’t put them on a plane if they haven’t been prepared.  Respect leash laws and don’t ask to pet working dogs.  If you want to get your dog trained for public access or therapy dog work, seek out a qualified trainer or contact me.  I offer remote sessions for many issues, or can refer you to someone who can help!

Happy Training!