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Handout of Dog Training Cues

When we train handlers to work with their service dogs, we show them both the hand signals and the words to use. Dogs actually understand hand signals much more easily than they do words, so we created a beginner handout which only describes and shows the hand signals so that the handlers can practice without words. This way, the handler is much less likely to use multiple words or to repeat their cues. Note that we use the word "cue" instead of "command" because we use reward-based positive reinforcement training methods, not punishment-based methods. You can download and even distribute this handout, if you wish.  Continue reading

Dog Arousal (Excitement) Handout

When teaching handlers about their service dogs, we often refer to the dog's "arousal level." When we use this term, we are using it in a very specific way: we are talking about how excited the dog is, no matter if the dog is happy or frightened. Some ways to tell if a dog is aroused is to look at their ears, tail, body posture, and eyes. While a dog's body is constantly moving and changing, looking at these indicators can help people figure out at what arousal level their dog is at currently. The lower the arousal level, the easier the dog is to train, and if the dog's level is too high (sometimes called "over threshold"), then they can't learn anything. The handler or trainer must wait until the dog is calmer (or bring the dog to a place where they will calm down). The following handout can be used to put a number on the arousal level, which facilitates communication. You can download a print copy or image, if you like, and feel free to distribute it. We are a nonprofit, and we wish to share these resources with anyone who needs them! Continue reading

Training Criteria Handout

We use the following handout when teaching handlers how to work with their service dogs, and we thought others might want to use it, too. For instance, a dog might know the "Down" cue if the trainer is right in front of them, but not know the cue if the trainer is five feet away, or ten feet, or twenty five feet away. That's the "Distance" criteria, and if the trainer/hander is working on distance, they shouldn't work on the other critera, too, such as holding the down for a certain amount of time (Duration), or following the cue when other dogs are around (Distance). Feel free to download and distribute as you wish!   Continue reading

Handout - Look at That

Leslie McDevitt invented the "Look at That" game to train dogs to not get excited (or scared) of dogs, people, or experiences. She was experienced in the art and skill of agility dog training, but so many dogs were over-aroused (over-excited) that she couldn't work with them till they calmed down. Her "Look at That" game uses positive reinforcement to get the dogs to calm down. The following is a handout we created about the "Look at That" game. I thought I'd put in on Pawsitivity's nonprofit's blog so anyone can feel free to download or distribute it as you wish.  Continue reading

New staff member, Frannie Kass!

Please help us welcome aboard new staff member, Education Manager Frannie Kass (she, her, hers)! Continue reading

Donate Your Camera to Charity

Do you have a full-frame SLR camera you want to donate to charity? Or are you upgrading from your old digital SLR to a new digital mirrorless camera? You can help both dogs and people by donating your old full-frame SLR camera to Pawsitivity Service Dogs, and you'll even get a tax credit for it!  Continue reading

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