Blog

Including events, news, and almost-daily updates on how training is progressing for the service dogs.

Blog

Lovely carpeting for training

Palmer the service dog in training for a girl with autism is pleased that both the post office and the bank had carpeted sections. Nice!!  

Study shows adults taking pain of girls less seriously

New peer-reviewed study shows that adults in the study who watch a film of a child experiencing pain rated the child as having less pain if they are told that the child is named Samantha (rather than if they are told the child’s name is Samuel). Basically, they rate the girl as more over-reacting. :-(

Bill for MN State Dog!

If you watch (or listen, or read) the news tonight, this dog (Daniel) and this round pin on his vest (for MN State Dog proposal) will be on the news! The Minnesota Legislature is considering a bill to name the Minnesota State Dog as the Labrador Retriever, and they selected Pawsitivity Service Dogs to partner with this proposal! There’s even a website for it at https://www.mnstatedog.org/ Continue reading

Zen-mat replacement when traveling

We teach the dog to love their elevated mat (Kuramda bed) by rewarding them for staying on it (they can sit, or lie down, or stand, but they must stay on the mat). This technique is great for when visitors come over or when we are eating. What do we use when we travel? Solution: a folded up towel or blanket.  Here you you can see Palmer, who was getting over-aroused (excited), so we asked her to stay on this folded-up blanket. 5 minutes later, she was gratefully sleeping.  

“Down” in public settings

Handlers are encourage to cue “Down” to the service dog in public places (like this grocery store) whenever possible because the dog looks so obviously under control to the public (it helps foster an environment of acceptance, which benefits all people with disabilities). 

Lying next to the wall in restaurants

When entering a restaurant with a service dog, it’s best to ask for a table next to a wall (if one happens to be available) so the dog will be out of the aisle. Good dog!      

Dog “body-awareness”

Lexi’s woman had a great question about body-awareness, in regards to service dogs. A dog's "body awareness" is part of the dog-handler relationship, so the dog knows how to stay in heel position, or go through crowded spaces with the handler without knocking things over. (Lexi's woman mentioned the opposite kind of awareness when she trained with Lexi...she said the wonderful words, “I’m getting used to the idea that I’ve got some space, which is the dog, on my left, so I have to leave some space on my left when I go through doorways or past people.”) The process of learning dog-body awareness (for the dog) takes a long time because dogs don’t generalize at first. So Lexi practices in shops AND restaurants AND church AND grocery stores AND trains, etc. so she learns to generalize (this, she will have dog-body awareness in brand-new spaces like a college classroom). Both Lexi and her woman also have a nice “leash awareness,” too, (is that a term?), where they are both aware of keeping the “smile in the leash” (not letting the leash pull and get taut...ideally, the positioning of the dog and handler should be close enough so that even if there wasn't a leash, both the dog and handler would always be in the same place in relation to each other).

Wonderful update from Bear, the PTSD Service Dog!

We love you, Bear! :-) You can follow Bear and his man’s adventures on Facebook at https://facebook.com/#!/bear.casillas.7