Pawsitivity Service Dogs

Honoring Henry

We are heartbroken to share the news that Henry, one of the first children we trained a service dog for, has passed away after a short and sudden illness. Since early 2013, service dog Bailey has been Henry's best friend and constant companion, and we have loved watching them grow together. We will miss Henry's laugh, how he cuddled with Bailey when he was supposed to be getting ready for school, and how he loved to sneak treats to his best buddy. If you would like to honor brave Henry Wills, 100% of your donation will go towards training and providing a service dog for someone special. The service dog will be named after Henry’s favorite song: Sunshine.

Project Australia

We are pausing all current regular fundraising efforts in order to help our Australian efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and relocate animals that are impacted by the devastating wildfires. Please donate to this urgent relief effort.

Testing Ella’s Reactivity

In a public big-box store with elevators, stairs, moving walkway, parking lot, grocery cart, strangers, and the trainer carrying a garbage can.  

Task of “Cover”


Secret Service and White House Dog Breeds

Dog-loving visitors at the White House sometimes wonder why they see several breeds of dogs there, even though the Secret Service uses exclusively Belgian Malinois. The answer can be found a great book, "Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States" by Maria Goodavage. Ms. Goodavage writes about the bomb-sniffing PSCO dogs that are used in the White House that are non-Malinois breeds like Labrador retrievers and Springer Spaniels.  The anacronym PSCO stands for Personel Screening Open Area. The program use these non-Belgian Malinois began in 2014 because the Belgian Malinois scare people and thus people move away from them (which is what you don't want when the dog is supposed to sniff out explosives people might be carrying). These bomb-sniffing PSCO dogs are also known as: Friendly Dogs Floppy Eared Dogs These "Friendly Dogs" (the term used most often) are working dogs and they wear a black vest. Friendly Dogs are friendly, but they still shouldn't be petted by visitors because they have an important job to do. If you want to ask questions of the handler, they might give a quick answer, but since they're working, the author says that a Secret Service employee will often come over to answer questions, instead. Parade magazine had an article on White House dogs with this picture by Maria Goodavage:

Alumni Magazine article about Pawsitivity

From the Carleton College Alumni Magazine, “The Voice”: Link  One Day Apprentice: Julie Greene Coleman ’92 and Tomkin Coleman ’91 By John Nolter Continue reading

Test to assess a rescue dog for reactivity

The following is our version of the BARC (Behavior Assessment Reactivity Checklist). Our version assumes that someone has told you the dog is nice and friendly (good with other dogs, not hyper, etc.) Put a check-mark next to the answer that best describes the dog when you meet them. Continue reading

Thank you!

Thank you, anonymous donor who sent Pawsitivity the eight packages of training treats off of Pawsitivity's Amazon wishlist! The dogs love them! If you want to buy some training treats for the dogs (or toys, or any other number of items), just go to Pawsitivity's Amazon Wishlist, and they'll be mailed directly to Pawsitivity's dogs in training!

Service Dog Rights

Service dogs can go to public buildings, private offices, and nonprofit centers (including churches) that are available to the public. They can't stay in the aisle, however, because they would block people from walking, and they're not allowed on seats (they have to be on the ground). Also, when a dog would interfere with the mission of the place, they can be prohibited (an example would be a sterile operating room). But if the person with a disability is allowed to go somewhere, generally the person's service dog is allowed, too, so the dog can help them. Some places, like airplanes or rental housing, have laws that allow other kinds of helper dogs, such as emotional support dogs, but the rules for service dogs still apply.  Continue reading