Pawsitivity Service Dogs

Why Pawsitivity Service Dogs is different

Why donate to one service dog organization over another? Aren't they all the same?  Pawsitivity excels at the two most common metrics used to evaluate nonprofit organizations, but we also excel at a third metric. What do we mean by this? Most donors look at ratios such as the amount of money spent on programs compared to admin and fundraising (which Pawsitivity is extremely good at), or the gold standard of donating, which is to examine an impact evaluation (Pawsitivity is the only service dog organization to have a third-party impact assessment done), but we propose an even better metric: creating outcomes which are long-lasting and effective. Continue reading

New video for CFC charity

Pawsitivity Service Dogs is CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) number 54980. Here's our latest video, showing how Pawsitivity assistance dogs help veterans.   Continue reading

PTSD Service Dog Practicing "Cover"

Video of Daniel the Service Dog practicing "Cover." His handler, a decorated US military combat veteran, likes to call this task, "Covering my six."   Continue reading

Video from handler

Sometimes the most important thing a service dog can do is nothing. A service dog’s training never stops, and here is a video of a handler is practicing her service dog do a down stay with the distraction of a pet dog walking past her. Great job! Continue reading

Fantastic web designer recommendation

Wow, small differences make big changes! We hired the awesome web designer John Poe to help us make the Pawsitivity Service Dogs website clear and easy to use. I LOVE HIS AESTHETIC! We highly recommend his services. You can contact him through his website: Continue reading

Yvette Van Veen’s method for teaching a dog to ring a bell to go out

Yvette Van Veen of Awesome Dogs wrote the following:  Step 1 - Show the dog the bell Show the dog the bell and gently ring it.  Let the dog become familiar with the noise it makes.  Do not skip this step.  Some dogs startle if they touch the bell and are not expecting it to ring.  If you have a sensitive dog, muffle the sound and gradually let it ring louder.Repeat until the dog is comfortable and relaxed with the noise.   Continue reading

Practice elevators with Sunny

A glass elevator is a strange contraption, so here, Julie uses chicken to help Sunny associate good things with an elevator ride.   Continue reading

New Hire!

Pawsitivity Service Dogs is proud to announce the hiring of Ray Nichols, a Certified Master Dog Trainer from the Catch Canine Dog Training Academy, to head our new Black Veterans Service Dog program. The program is dedicated to training service dogs for a traditionally underserved population, Black U.S. military veterans who are disabled.

Our new puppy is obsessed with our old dog!

Sunshine is a little puppy who in training to be a service dog. During breaks in training, Sunny is OBSESSED by our old dog!  This video got 12k upvotes on Reddit because of my absurd laughter. If you find that kind of thing annoying, feel free to mute it!             

Notes on "Don't Shoot the Dog" by Karen Pryor

8 ways to change behavior. Always start with LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive.) Management (Dog getting into the garbage? One option is to put the lid on the can.) Reinforce everything that is not the undesired behavior. (With people, you could reinforce everything that is not a complaint.) Put the behavior on cue (The classic example is barking.) Train an incompatible behavior (Mat training is great for preventing dogs from begging at the table, for instance). It's much better to train a dog to DO something, rather than try to train a dog to NOT do something. Extinction (not used a lot, but it's important not to accidentally reward the wrong behavior.) It's often best to just reward a different, incompatible behavior. Negative reinforcement (a classic example is a seat-belt buzzer, although a leash is a more subtle example) Punishment (this is a last resort, and rarely used, because it causes the side-effects, including fear and aggression. Also it doesn't work well because "punishment delayed doesn't work at all") Give the animal away (overly-aggressive dogs are often not appropriate for families, for instance) Note: There is also the "Look at That" game by Leslie McDevitt, which actually changes motivation (as well as behavior). "Click for calm" is similar.