Archive for the ‘A3’ Category

Pet Puppy Socialization – The Service Dog Way

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Set up your pet puppy’s personality for the rest of his life using service dog training techniques! In this photo above, Cooper, a service dog in training, meets kids at the Target toy aisle.

A trip to the mall turned into a teachable moment when two excitable toddlers came up to Liame Mary McNeight’s service dog, while he was waiting patiently by her side at a checkout counter. The well-behaved, well-socialized Liame stayed lying down, tolerating more than two minutes of petting, tail pulling, squealing, kisses on his body and muzzle, and pats from tiny hands. Liame demonstrated how crucial early socialization is to be a well-mannered dog in any situation.

Ever wonder why service dogs are so well-behaved?

It’s because they are used to being around many different types of people, places, and things of all sizes, gaits, and sounds, and it is why Service Dog Academy encourages enrolling your puppy into basic puppy obedience classes when they are as young as seven weeks old. Getting your puppy to walk on different surfaces, learning proper puppy play techniques, and exposure to different types of people as early as 7 weeks old, is a guideline that is supported not only by the American Society of Veterinary and Animal Behavior, but also by top veterinary schools in the country, Minnesota and Purdue. All of these guidelines and goals are throughly explained and demonstrated in our Seattle Puppy Kindergarten classes!

The early stages of puppyhood, from as young as seven weeks to three-months, according to an article by the AVSAB is a critical window for socialization. Furthermore, the ASVAB states that it should be standard for all puppies to receive socialization training before fully vaccinated. Early socialization can also prevent future behavior problems, and create a dog that is more responsive to commands. This is a time when “sociability outweighs fear, this is the primary window of opportunity for puppies to adapt to new people, animals, and experiences‚Ķ [and] Avoid fear, avoidance, and/or aggression.”

During our holiday break, Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, owner and head trainer at Service Dog Academy has been working with two diabetic alert board-and-train puppies who are taking our puppy class at the West Seattle dog training studio. Eleven-week-old Cooper, and Daisy, an 18-week-old Labradoodle in addition to diabetic alert training, have been working on puppy socialization.

Recently, we took a trip to a busy Target store in West Seattle with the puppies. They were quite the handful and attracted a lot of attention. Just what we want! Cooper and Daisy had the opportunity to walk through a busy parking lot with cars driving by, shopping carts whizzing past, walk on linoleum, greet children and people of all sizes. It is well known in the dog training world that puppies that are raised in homes with small children have an even greater opportunity for success at being well-socialized. With that in mind, we sat down in the toy aisle, and Cooper and Daisy met small children and even experienced strange and unknown creatures that light up and make noise.


Let us show you how to socialize your dog the Service Dog Academy way to help him be the dog of your dreams, the dog everyone in the neighborhood is jealous of!

Follow Cooper and Daisy’s progress on our facebook page where we will be giving out FREE tips on proper puppy management and training.

The Service Dog Academy pet dog training for puppies and adult dogs help fund our low-cost service dog training for people with disabilities as well as our groundbreaking, train-your-own diabetic alert dog program for people with type 1, type 2 diabetes, and hypoglycemia.

If you want your dog to have service dog manners, enroll in our Seattle basic puppy obedience and manners classes where we teach you and your pooch the skills to raise the best-behaved puppy in town using positive reinforcement and service dog training techniques!

Our non-violent, positive reinforcement puppy classes help you set your pet puppies personality just like that of a service dog. Our classes which are taught by State Certified trainers with thousands of hours of hands on experience and because of their world renowned training techniques are attended by people from Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill, Burien, Everett, Bothell, Ballard, Freemont, Queen Anne, Shoreline, Vashon Island, Bellevue, Tacoma and people as far away as Lopez Island!

Some of our biggest fans drive 4 hours each way to attend our one of a kind classes! In our West Seattle puppy training classes, our professional dog trainers and behaviorists will show you how to harness your puppies innate nature to bring out the dog you have ALWAYS wanted.

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, has never been to the Service Dog Academy. Mary McNeight, owner and head trainer at the Service Dog Academy was about to start obedience in disguise, a.k.a. party tricks using positive reinforcement dog training methods when Guido, a 12-year old Jack Russell Terrier came through the door with his owner, Monica. His sweet, and sometimes saucy personality instantly captured our hearts during the training sessions at the West Seattle studio.

What we know of Guido starts when he was around two-years old when he was found wandering along the US/Canada border, and was brought to an animal shelter in Bellingham, Washington. Monica had been interested in adopting a Jack Russell, and when she got a tip from a friend about Guido, she high-tailed it north to meet him. It was love at first sight, even though he was in bad shape – his nose was raw from rubbing against his cage. “He was the sweetest dog I had met,” Monica said, and luckily that day was the first day he was available for adoption.

The instant bond between Monica and Guido was strengthened when shortly after the adoption, Guido was attacked by an off-leash Pit Bull. Hanging on for dear life, Guido spent several days at the emergency vet. “I think he learned I would always be there for him and would alway stake care of him,” Monica recalls.

Monica put effort into basic training from day one, and Guido was quick learner and seemed to enjoy training. Now, 12-years old, and still looking as handsome as ever, the trickster made us laugh and charmed everyone in party tricks at the Service Dog Academy. Some tricks were harder than others, but in 4-weeks he learned to jump over a leg, weave through legs, jump through a hoop, act ashamed, beg, open a refrigerator, spin, hide, say his prayers, hide his face in pillow, and give kisses. Our latest tricks class graduate proved to be a show-off who loves attention. Some of his favorite tricks, Monica says, is shake and crawl, but adds, “I think he loves doing all tricks.”

We Have Been Nationally Recognized!

The Association for Pet Dog Trainers, a nationally recognized group with over 5,000 members worldwide has awarded The Service Dog Academy in the National Train your Dog Month campaign with The Most Creative Community Event! We certainly made a scene in downtown Seattle’s Westlake Park when, to the tune of “Walking The Dog” by Rufus Thomas, 14 handlers and their positively trained dogs simultaneously demonstrated basic skills taught in most dog training classes. The first ever positively trained flash mob (that we know of) managed to win over the APDT and make the news!

As a community event, and as a way to spread the word on the power of positive training, we feel it was a huge success! Check out the full press on the event here. Winning this award is an exciting addition to something we are already very proud of and hope to continue more events like these in the future!

In more great news, The Service Dog Academy was recently visited by Examiner reporter Prescott Breeden. He talked with Mary McNeight about the expanding world of service dogs, and diabetic alert training – which is now being offered at the studio! We are so excited to be featured in the Seattle Examiner, and to share our upcoming ventures and training opportunities with the community. Check out the recently published article here.

Donate To Support The Program That Saves Lives Hundreds Of Times Per Day

Mary McNeight and Service Dog Academy have been pillars of justice, advocacy and education in the medical alert dog community. If you would like to support this mission, you may do so using the paypal link below.