Pawsitivity Service Dogs


Part 2, Notes on book "Animal Assisted Play Therapy"

Horse training: 95% of horses are trained in the traditional way (which is based on aversion or even pain) "The horses are dead behind the eyes." Clicker training (positive reinforcement training) is rarer but has amazing results. Dog training: Only 40% of training is the traditional way (which is based on aversion or even pain) Clicker training (positive reinforcement training) has amazing results. Tip: Some people like to use a graveled-area with horses so they don't graze. Note that there is a disadvantage to this method because the horses will show fewer natural behaviors. Flawed ideas: Dominance theory of dogs (ala Cesar Milan) Natural horsemanship for horses (same thing) Dog stress signals (many of these signals are constantly changing so they are easy to miss): Head: Head-turning Pulling head down Ears: Ears down Mouth: Lip-licking Tense muscles around lips Yawning Panting Closing the mouth (both panting and closing the mouth sometimes doesn't mean stress) Eyes: Showing whites of eyes Looking at you out of the corner of their eye Tense muscles on forehead Body: Freezing (whole body tense) Shaking body (as if shaking off water) Pacing Turning body away (or walking away) Horse stress-signals (even more constantly changing than dogs, so they are easy to miss, often several right in a row): Head: Head-bobbing Head-shaking Ears: Ears back (ears forward is curiosity) Ears flicking back and forth One ear forward and one ear back  Mouth: Tense mouth Constant lip-licking  Constant chewing Grinding teeth Panting Nose: Flared nostrils Tense nostrils Eyes: Eyes partially open and muscles at the top of the eye tense (a bit like our furrowed brow)  Tail Tail-swishing High head carriage with tail pressed down Feet: Pawing Freezing Constant movement Sweating The frequent dropping of manure Lack of interest Listlessness Note: Extreme horse stress signals: Stereotypical behaviors: Weaving  Box=walking Crib-biting Wind-sucking Kicking Self-mutilation Aggression to humans Bolting   Continue reading

Notes on book "Animal Assisted Play Therapy," Part 1 of 2

2 methods of AAPT (Animal Assisted Play Therapy): Directive - teaching skills or addressing problems. Always goal-directed. Non-directive (unlike AAT/Animal Assisted Therapy, which is always goal-directed) Continue reading

New Rules For Airline Travel with a Service Dog

The airlines are subject to new rules for service dogs who are doing airline travel, to take effect on December 30th, 2020. The full details are on a PDF at the US Department of Transportation's website, but the main things to know are: Continue reading

Sunshine asks you to “Give to the Max!”

Want to join me and Sunshine and Goose and Winnie in supporting a great cause? “Give to the Max Day” is coming, and if you donate to Pawsitivity through GiveMN, all donations are doubled! Continue reading

Veterans Day

Honoring Veterans Day, we would like to introduce you to Goose! He’s our newest trainee, and he will be going to a US military veteran!  


For a short-term promotion, a Pawsitivity Service Dogs hoodie sweatshirt is available. Continue reading

Free: Where I Like to Be Petted (Coloring Chart)

Free to teachers, parents, and anyone else who wants to teach a child where a dog wants to be petted! We have created this coloring chart, which is downloadable as a PDF, to give go kids who are around dogs. They can use their knowledge of the dog (plus your instruction, if needed) to create their own chart of how the dog has shown them the places where the dogs likes to be petted. Feel free to print, copy, and distribute!   Continue reading

Training Worksheets

We use these training worksheets when teaching handlers how to keep up the training of their service dogs. The worksheets are a little technical and don't have a lot of explanation, but we thought we'd post them (with an example worksheet) because we believe that our hard work should be shared. If the worksheets are too technical, reading Jean Donaldson's book, "Train Your Dog Like a Pro," will help.   Continue reading

Handout: Hand Postions When Dog Training

We always train our service dogs in the same way, with the dog on the left-hand side. We also train the handlers how to keep up their service dog's training, and so we use this handout to help them remember where to positions their hands, their clicker (if using a clicker), where to put the treat pouch, and where the dog should be in relation to their body. You can download, print out, or use this handout, if you wish. Continue reading

Handout: Signals of Arousal

We created this handout for handlers so they could easily remember some of the simplest of the "arousal signals" (signs that the dog is excited). While no one particular signal always has the same meaning, this handout helps handlers remember to look out for signs that their dog may be too excited to learn. You can print out this image and distribute it, if you wish.     Continue reading