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Handout: Hand Postions When Dog Training

We always train our service dogs in the same way, with the dog on the left-hand side. We also train the handlers how to keep up their service dog's training, and so we use this handout to help them remember where to positions their hands, their clicker (if using a clicker), where to put the treat pouch, and where the dog should be in relation to their body. You can download, print out, or use this handout, if you wish. Continue reading

Handout: Signals of Arousal

We created this handout for handlers so they could easily remember some of the simplest of the "arousal signals" (signs that the dog is excited). While no one particular signal always has the same meaning, this handout helps handlers remember to look out for signs that their dog may be too excited to learn. You can print out this image and distribute it, if you wish.     Continue reading

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. This is a tricky technique and requires a dog trainer to teach someone how to do it. The following is a free downloadable PDF handout we created about the "Look at That" game. I thought I'd put it 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 Pawsitivity Service Dogs' 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

Public Access Test

PUBLIC ACCESS TEST NAME OF DOG AND HANDLER: ________________________________ NAME OF TESTER: _____________________________________________ DATE OF TEST: _____________ Continue reading