Blog

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

Dogs for the Deaf

Pawsitivity trains Service Dogs for people who are deaf and also for people with hearing processing disorders. The #1 task that a Service Dog for the Deaf is trained to do is almost always to alert the handler to specific sounds (such as smoke alarms) or to alert the handler to someone coming up from behind them. The #1 side benefit reported is that the dogs serve as a "social bridge" to help people with deafness relate to others in their community. Almost 100% of the handlers said that they made more friends and were more social as a result of their service dog (this is an incredibly high result). Continue reading

Training Familes

During the six to twelve months of Service Dog training, we train the handler and/or family as well as the dog. If possible, we set up monthly meetings so we can teach the handler how to give cues correctly and handle the dog in public places. If we’re not able to set up monthly meetings with the handler because a) you’re not local, and your schedule doesn’t allow it, or b) you aren’t local, and their disability prevents you from traveling, we have occasionally made exceptions where we travel to the handler. Continue reading

Travel with a Service Dog

Info on flying, taking a bus or subway, or traveling by car...with a Service Dog. Continue reading

History of Service Dogs

Have you ever wondered why dogs and people have such a special connection? The answer may be that, in many ways, we can think of the history of dogs as the history of people. Continue reading

Service Dog Training Style

At Pawsitivity, we use the same method that both the U.S. Army working dog program (above) and Guide Dogs for the Blind uses: "All of the dog training is based on positive reward or feedback" -- U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.[1]   Continue reading

Service Dog Laws

Beginner:  A service dog can be any breed. (Read more about breeds.) The owner has to have a disability (physical or psychiatric), as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  If you are looking for more information on psychiatric service dogs, go here. Note: These guidelines are over-simplified. For more detail, see the advanced section beneath this box.     Continue reading

Service Dog Breeds

The number one question we get asked from the public is, “What breeds to you use as Service Dogs?”  Continue reading

Meditation and Service Dogs

Young woman meditating with her Pawsitivity Service Dog My story: In late high school, I started experiencing anxiety and depression. I worked hard to change these feelings into anger, thinking that I was edgy to be so rebellious against the status quo. (Spoiler alert: anger doesn’t help these conditions.) It wasn’t until college that I realized how much compensating I had to do in my life, merely to get by. High-achiever that I was, I would do all my course reading and papers ahead of time, not because I was innately organized, but because I knew that depression could hit at any time (and if I was depressed, I couldn’t get any work done). I also overcompensated for my feelings of despair by smiling all the the time, affecting a good mood in order to be around friends that were having a good time (and then their mood would cheer me up). As the years passed, I eventually got antidepressants, learned to exercise more, and reframe my thoughts so I wouldn’t think pessimistically. My father was a United Church of Christ minister, and for twenty years I worked as a minister under his direction, performing wedding ceremonies, commitment ceremonies, baptisms, and facilitating premarital education classes. Then my father died. Continue reading

Proof that dogs can smell seizures!

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-40721-4 Dogs demonstrate the existence of an epileptic seizure odour in humans Amélie Catala, Marine Grandgeorge, Jean-LucSchaff, Hugo Cousillas, Martine Hausberger & Jennifer Cattet  Scientific Reports, volume 9, Article number: 4103 (2019) Abstract Although different studies have shown that diseases such as breast or lung cancer are associated with specific bodily odours, no study has yet tested the possibility that epileptic seizures may be reflected in an olfactory profile, probably because there is a large variety of seizure types. The question is whether a “seizure-odour”, that would be transversal to individuals and types of seizures, exists. This would be a prerequisite for potential anticipation, either by electronic systems (e.g., e-noses) or trained dogs. The aim of the present study therefore was to test whether trained dogs, as demonstrated for cancer or diabetes, may discriminate a general epileptic seizure odor (different from body odours of the same person in other contexts and common to different persons). The results were very clear: all dogs discriminated the seizure odour. The sensitivity and specificity obtained were amongst the highest shown up to now for discrimination of diseases. This constitutes a first proof that, despite the variety of seizures and individual odours, seizures are associated with olfactory characteristics. 

Palmer doesn't mind waiting to board the airplane

Napping on a lap. What could be better?