It’s been a busy summer of selecting and training service dog puppies. Very soon some of my young psychiatric service dog clients head for undergraduate college or back to graduate school. Getting them ready to succeed with the support and help from their canine partners is one of my dearest passions. Selecting the right “make and model,” raising, training and then supporting these lovely dogs with their partners has turned into an active and pretty full time adventure.
Usually I stagger the frequency of my training these special pups over longer periods of time, but now that my own dog Franny is experienced in helping raise and train our puppies to help develop them into great partners for their people, I find staggering them more frequently has some advantages for their socialization and training and entertaining each other and learning how to share. Plus the weather is nice this time of year so it’s much easier doing those puppy things like house training, teaching basic manners (a la The Six Pillars of Dog Training Wisdom), socialization to other dogs, cats, people, sights, sounds, surfaces and public access.
The video above demonstrates a challenging public access outing with three teams that all happen to be multi generation labradoodles (big shout out to Just A Walk Home Kennel in Garretsville, OH for these awesome doodles — I’m already booked to get two more in the coming months!). I know if these amazing young women, who sometimes struggle with social anxiety, stress induced illnesses and occasional agoraphobia from their anxieties, can succeed in such challenging circumstances under my supervision, they’ll be competent to go out into the planet and find life fuller with more laughter, responsibility, increased independence, social connectivity (who can pass up the faces these pups make!), reminders to get up, take medication, alert to migraines, motivate to overcome their angst and so much more.
Rachel and her lovely black and white comedian and roustabout, Riley; Ashley and her charismatic and dramatic puppy, Bowie; and Julia and her chillaxed and smooth operator puppy, Maisy. All three wear Har-Vests with euroleashes: to help identify them as working dogs (although NOT required by law); aid in calming the dogs amid the distractions of such an environment and, due to the built in no pull harness aspect of Har-Vest, helps in training for loose leash walking with more training, less manipulation or force other equipment provides. The focus here is on developing awareness and partnership and having fun.
To learn more about the work we do here at A Better Pet LLC, feel free to check out our SERVICE DOG PAGES and our GUIDE TO SUPERVISED OWNER-TRAINED WORKING DOG TRAINING.