Archive for the ‘Free Dog Training Advice’ Category

Traveling with a Service Dog: Airline Travel Part 2

With a service dog in tow, Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA has traveled to dog training conferences and seminars around the country because of her commitment to continuing her education as a professionally certified dog trainer at Service Dog Academy’s West Seattle dog training studio. This is the second in a series of videos sharing tips on making airline travel with a service dog as comfortable and stress-free as possible. While these videos focus on traveling with a service dog, a lot of this information can apply to pet dog travel, too!

1. Exercise, exercise, and more exercise. Flying can stress out a dog, but and exhausted dog is much calmer. Give your dog at least 45-minutes of heart-pumping exercise before leaving for the airport. This doesn’t mean a walk – this means jogging, running, playing fetch, swimming, ball chasing, or any other high energy activities your dog likes to do.

2. Empty Stomach. Withhold food and water at least four hours before your flight. This will prevent nausea and ensure your dog doesn’t need to go to the bathroom during the entire length of your flight or layover. Should your assistance dog need to go outside during a layover, the two of you will be going all the way back through security a second time.

3. Empty the Tank. If the dog is scared on the airplane, this will prevent him from having any accidents. You’ve withheld food and water, but to make sure your dog is totally empty, be sure your dog empties both bowels and bladder right before your flight. Learn how to train your dog to go on command using positive reinforcement, and be the envy of everyone in the cabin by having the best behaved, accident-free service dog.

4. Anxiety relief solution/Benadryl. Homeopathic remedies can help with relieving anxiety for your dog. There are several varieties on the market, including HomeoPet Solutions, developed to naturally relieve anxiety for your dog. Benadryl is a safe alternative to sedatives that will make your dog tired.

Test them on your dog a few weeks before your flight to make sure the homeopathic remedies and the Benadryl don’t have any adverse effects. In some cases, Benadryl can make a dog hyper. Take note that we do not advise, and most veterinarians will not prescribe a sedative for your dog for air travel because the pressure in the cabin and the altitude can have negative effects on a sedated dog.

5. Practice TTouch Therapy. This is a therapeutic massage that will help reduce anxiety levels. Massage the ears and chest before you board so your dog is relaxed and ready for take-off.

6. Do a Test Run. Especially if you are traveling far, buy a ticket to an airport closer to your location as a test run before your main flight to see that everything will go smoothly. For example, if you live in Seattle, a ticket to Portland might cost $75-$100, but worth it to know exactly what to expect with a typical flight. Test-flying to a closer airport enables you to take a train or alternative mode of transportation should your dog not be comfortable with flying.

The Service Dog Academy provides low cost, do-it-yourself training to all types of training needs. Funding from our basic obedience for puppies and adult dogs goes toward funding our low-cost service dog and diabetic alert dog training for people with disabilities. Have fun traveling with your service dog, and always be prepared.

Traveling with a Service Dog: Airline Travel – Seattle Dog Training Classes

Support for videos such as this one comes from our pet dog training program. When you choose to train with the Service Dog Academy, you are helping fund our low cost programs for people with disabilities.

Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, is committed to continuing her education as a certified dog trainer and travels often – attending conferences and educational seminars all over the country. Overall, she has taken more than 40 different flights with both her current and previous service dogs and the owner and head trainer of Service Dog Academy would like to share her experience traveling on an airplane with a service dog by offering up a few tips on airline travel with a service dog. While this video focuses on traveling with a service dog, a lot of these tips can be applicable to people traveling with their pet dogs, too!

1. Paperwork!
Have as much paperwork as possible. Service dog rights during air travel are completely different than rights on the ground, and it is important to know these rights and have documentation at the ready.

This is especially important for psychiatric service dogs – when there is no apparent physical disability it tends to raise more skepticism from airline officials. Unfortunately, fraudulent service dogs have been a cause for this, and knowing your rights and having the right documentation to back it up will ensure there is no question from the ticket agent that your dog is a service dog.

The right paperwork can save you a lot of trouble, remember to bring the following:

  • A note from your doctor prescribing the use of task trained service dog to help you mitigate the symptoms of your disability, and proof that your service dog is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act.
  • Documented training hours. Training is the biggest difference between a service dog and a pet dog, and all service dogs should have documented training hours.
  • Current health certificate for your dog – although it is not required by law to have one, it is strongly advised. Your veterinarian can provide this, and can be given up to 10 days before your flight.
  • Copy of vaccination records. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations required by the state you are traveling. Different states have different requirements, so be sure to check with that state’s department of health to find out what you need.
  • If your city has a service dog registry make sure you have a copy of that with your service dog listed in it.
  • Letter and any certification provided by your training organization to verify your dog’s status as a service dog
  • Copy of air carrier’s access rules – know your rights, and have the paperwork that shows them that you know what you’re talking about.
  • 2. Bring your vest and make sure “service dog” CLEARLY stated on it. The Service Dog Academy suggests at least three different visible places on the vest. A “service dog” bandana is more questionable than a heavy duty vest. The more official the vest looks, the better your chances of getting through the airport smoothly.

    3.Call ahead! When you make your reservation, call the airline and tell them you are traveling with a service dog and ask to be placed in bulkhead seating.

    As a side note: a person with a disability has the right to sit in this type of seating, and cannot be charged extra for these accommodations.

    It is better to be prepared than to be sorry. Even though it isn’t required by law to provide it, the last thing you want is to be in a situation where someone decides they need to see documentation. If one TSA employee is on a power trip, putting up a fight can usually result in not making your flight, missing your connections, and ruining your trip. Cover your bases with as much paperwork as possible!

    The Service Dog Academy is a service dog and pet dog training studio operating out of Seattle, Washington. We provide low cost, do-it-yourself training to all types of training needs from basic obedience for puppies and adult dogs, service dog training, and diabetic alert dog training. Have fun traveling with your service dog, and always be prepared!

    Support Disabled While Training Your Pet Puppy With Us

    When you train your pet puppy with us to be the best behaved puppy in town in our Seattle Puppy Socialization, Obedience and Manners Classes you help support our low cost Service Dog Training School and Programs. Here is a video about how to travel with your service dog that our past pet dog training students helped to support.

    Tips for traveling with your service dog.

    Taking your dog with you on trips -or just about anywhere -may seem like a lot of fun, but in reality it’s like having a two-year old child with you all the time Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, head trainer and owner of the Service Dog Academy recounts some of her experiences in traveling with Liame, and shares some helpful tips on making traveling with your service dog safe and successful!

    1. Flash drive.

    Bring a flash drive with your dog’s health records saved on it. If you find yourself in a situation where your dog has to go to the veterinarian while you’re away from home, having your dog’s important health records stored on a flash drive could be a lifesaver when you’re in an emergency situation and have to remember vaccination history, anesthesia protocol, and more. Your vet should be more than happy to put your dog’s records on a flash drive for you to take with on your travels.

    2. Extra food.

    In the event that your dog becomes sick, or injured and cannot fly on an airplane, always make sure you have an extra two-day supply of your dog’s food. If you want more information on the TSA’s requirements when traveling with a service dog, click here.

    When McNeight’s dog, Liame, was attacked in California, he had to have major surgery and because of his sutures, he was not allowed on the airplane to fly home. A two-hour plane ride turned into a two-day drive back to Seattle. McNeight, while dealing with her seriously injured dog, also had to call around until she found someone who carried Liame’s brand of dog food. To avoid having to conduct an all-out search for a place that carries your dog’s specific food, especially if he has certain diet restrictions, be sure to bring extra!

    Quick Tip: The Service Dog Academy recommends dog food that has at least its first three ingredients to be meat-based. In the wild, dogs did not eat rice, flour, or maple syrup – excess carbohydrates are like rocket fuel for your dog and can be a main cause of hyperactivity in dogs! Liame eats ZiwiPeak brand dog food – an all natural, raw, dehydrated dog food. While Ziwipeak is rather expensive, there are a lot of other quality dog foods on the market. Visit your local natural dog food supply store, and check the labels!

    3. Ship your dog’s food to your hotel.

    United States Postal Service flat rate boxes are a great way to save money on shipping costs, and save your back from having to lug around extra pounds of dog food through the airport. Be sure to let your accommodations know ahead of time, and don’t forget to bring two days of food in your carry-on in the event of any delays.

    4. Something to chew on.

    It will keep your dog distracted and busy during long airplane rides or drives, and relieve anxiety. Good, consumable chews such as bully sticks, stuffed kongs, and rawhide bones are also a delicious treat!

    The Service Dog Academy recommends – especially for active chewers, is the Ziwipeak Good Dog Deer Antler. Made from 100% deer antler, it tastes good to dogs and is minimally processed. They have virtually no smell (great for confined spaces such as airplanes!), and do not leave any chewed up residue or fragments behind.

    Find the location nearest you that carries these antlers!

    5. Bowl for food and water.

    One of the most important things to remember – and often forgotten while traveling.

    Service Dog Academy suggests: Guyot Designs silicone squishy dog bowl. Silicone bowls can easily be folded or squished in your dog’s vest pocket, are super easy to clean, and will not get moldy! Need we say more?

    6. 24-hour emergency veterinarians. Create a list of the ones in the area you are traveling. Use the search engine of your choice, and map it out to find the closest vet to your hotel.

    A lot of these tips we consider worst case scenario when traveling with your dog, and while we hope you don’t have to put them to use, having them handy when you travel could save you a lot of time and stress. We thought of them, so you don’t have to! Happy travels and have fun traveling with your service dog!

    Our service dog Access Class is the best way to learn your rights and responsibilities when preparing for service dog lifestyle, if you have already put your dog through basic obedience
    at the Service Dog Academy and are ready to start training your dog for service work, enroll online today!

    Facebook Review Student Testimonial: “My Golden Retriever puppy… loves the small classes with hands on attention to each dog.”

    Firecrackers And The 4th Of July

    Firecrackers, even like the simple ones pictured, can cause anxiety in your dog.

    Firecrackers, even like the simple ones pictured, can cause anxiety in your dog.

    Since I have two VERY sound sensitive dogs, I know what a pain the 4th of July can be for both human and dog alike. The lack of sleep, the pacing dogs and the ultimate fear that they might jump through the window in an attempt to get out of the house are all my daily companions in the days preceding, during and after the fourth.

    Here are some tips for the 4th that I have found successful in dealing with my sound sensitive service dogs.

    1. Make sure your dog is as TIRED as possible. I usually don’t recommend my clients go to the dog park but I make an exception on the 4th. A tired dog is a calmer dog.
    2. Be prepared with medication ahead of time, a puppy doggie emergency room visit can run over $200. Call your vet today, tell them you have a sound sensitive dog and ask them for recommendations on medications to help ease your dogs anxiety. Its better to be prepared than sorry that you didn’t get to the vet in time. Remember to ask for several days worth of medication. We have neighbors who regularly set off fireworks on the 3rd, 4th and the 5th!
    3. Make sure your dogs tags and microchip information is up to date. If your dog does escape (most dogs are lost during the 4th than any other holiday) at least he will be able to come home safely if found by a stranger.
    4. Put your dog in a “safe” room with as few windows and doors as possible. Dogs have been known to try to escape by jumping through plate glass windows!
    5. Keep the windows and curtains drawn during the festivities. You want your dog to be as stimulus free as possible.
    6. Make your own noise to drown out the sound of the fireworks. I usually make it a movie holiday and watch the entire Back to the Future series and the Indiana Jones series (Indiana was named after his dog!) as loud as I can tolerate it. We also set up numerous fans in the safe room so that they produce a fairly decent amount of background noise.
    7. Use some type of pressure wrap. Although wraps such as the Thundershirt claim to completely eliminate anxiety we here at the Service Dog Academy have only seen them help in reducing the overall level of anxiety. We have several Thundershirts available for sale but you can make your own anxiety reducing wrap by using an ace bandage. See this webpage for more information on how to make your own anxiety reducing pressure wrap.
    8. Associate fireworks noise with positive things. If every time your dog hears a firework, the best treats in the world rained from the sky, your dog might not feel so scared.
    9. Try to keep your dog entertained all night long with Kongsicles or work to eat puzzles and plenty of high value bones to chew on. The act of chewing helps a dog to relieve anxiety. You can view our free youtube video on how to make a Kongsicle on our recent blog posting.

    I hope these tips help you make the 4th more enjoyable for both you and your fur kids. I look forward to seeing you in our upcoming classes or around town sometime soon!

    Happy Tails To You!
    Mary McNeight, BGS, CCS
    Service Dog Academy, Seattle WA
    Owner/Head Trainer

    How Service Dogs Increase Independent Living

    Service Dog Academy class clients during a training exercise at a local mall.

    Service Dog Academy class students during a training exercise at a local mall.

    Mobility and independence are human qualities that we take for granted until we no longer have them. But when physical injury or illness or mental trauma or impairment strike, the associated loses also affect self-esteem, confidence, happiness and even safety.

    Scientists can’t explain the human-dog bond but they do know that it circumvents the intelligence and goes straight to the heart of the matter.

    Now service dogs more than ever are at the forefront of healing the stress of war ravaged veterans, unlocking the minds of children with autism, providing security to Alzheimer’s sufferers and offering companionship and mobility to those afflicted with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord and brain injuries and Parkinson’s.

    The Service Dog Health Care Solution

    Trained service dogs are becoming the alternative solution to putting a loved one in a nursing home or paying for caregivers. Although the initial costs of training a service dog can be high, the cost savings of independent living is enormous.

    One study as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that the need and cost for assisted care dropped by as much as 68% with the use of service dogs. Not reported however was that the improved quality of life benefits were priceless.

    Service Dogs’ Gift of Independence

    Services dogs have proven themselves effective in helping those with disabilities live independently in their own home, reduce their need for medication, become more social and return to school or employment.

    Service dogs help those with physical handicaps live like able-bodied people again. A service dog to watch over a spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s or a child with diabetes can decrease family stress and reduce safety risks.

    Studies show that persons given service dogs gain
    functional independence and psychological
    benefits within six months.

    Research done at the College of Social Work, University of South Carolina, Columbia by the research team of Valentine, Kiddoo, LaFleur found that 90% of service dog owners reported feeling safer, less lonely and more independent.

    The Service Dog Connection

    Service dogs have the ability to help their owners physically and emotionally integrate back into the community with added mobility and confidence.

    As reported in the Journal of Psychology, researchers J. Eddy and L.A. Hart discovered that people that used service dogs received fewer episodes of gaze aversion and path avoidance and significantly greater episodes of social acknowledgments.

    Not only does a service dog allow its owner to reclaim a semblance of their former life, they allow the entire family to reclaim their lives and the time spent caring for their disabled loved one.

    If you, a family member or friend suffers from a physically or mental disability, The Service Dog Academy can help with reclaiming lost lives. Our training methods are the most advanced in the industry. Our approach is non-violent, humane and highly effective.

    Contact The Service Dog Academy today and discover how a service dog can bring independence, mobility, self-confidence and unconditional love.

    How Dogs Learn – Seattle Style

    In May, the Service Dog Academy attended a three day dog trainer seminar in Seattle conducted by Dr. Ian Dunbar, renowned veterinarian, animal behaviorist and writer.

    Seattle is on the cutting-edge of dog training techniques and the Service Dog Academy is leading the pack.

    The three day event covered all the basics in puppy and adult dog behavior problems as well as specialized training for competition dogs.

    Regardless of whether you pet is just a beginner or ready for show, the predominant opinion of expert dog trainers, including the Service Dog Academy, is that too many dog owners still respond to their dog’s bad behavior with punishment.

    Punishing a Bad Dog Does Not Make a Good Dog

    Punishment and training are as different as night and day. If you are getting a poor response from the techniques you use to gain your dog’s cooperation, it’s time to re-evaluate your methods.

    Your dog will not and cannot respond to training through reprimand for two simple reasons:

    1. Your dog has very limited language comprehension.
    2. Your goal as a handler is to know what your dog understands so he can perform the way you want and not get the blame for your poor communication skills.

    3. Your dog isn’t motivated by anger.

    Despite his limited understanding, just like you your dog needs motivation to perform. You can probably agree that most humans need a pretty compelling reason to get off the couch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Your dog needs his reason too!

    Consistent good behavior is all about motivating your dog to want to do exactly what you want him to do.

    The Doggy Reward System

    Initially, treats are the motivating factor. However, as you dog progresses in his skill level, praise becomes an equally compelling reward. Finally, with more advanced training, the accomplishment of the trained task becomes the reward.

    Your dog will become self-motivated and internally rewarded each time he does something he was training to do. Although he will never out grow the need for a treat!

    Learning correct dog training techniques can be the difference between a well behaved dog and one that is out of control. It can also be the difference between a well adjusted dog and a frustrated and unhappy dog owner.

    Why Advanced Training Techniques Are Necessary

    The Service Dog Academy practices the most advanced dog training methods in the country. In order to train service dogs, we must maintain the highest standards in the industry.

    By constantly staying at the forefront of doggy psychology and training techniques, we can offer you, the average pet owner, a greater understanding of why your dog acts the way he does.

    We will provide you with the skills necessary to motivate your dog and make learning not only possible but fun and rewarding for both you and your dog.

    Contact us today for a free consultation and a better dog training experience.

    Adult Dog Training – 10 Professional Trainer Tips

    Has your adult dog regressed to its terrible two’s?

    Behavior we accept in puppies such as destructive chewing, potty training accidents and separation anxiety become serious problems when our adolescence or adult dog continues or re-starts such behavior.

    Getting Your Attention

    Your adult dog’s bad behavior could be boredom, depressed, loneliness or just an attempt to get your attention.  Before your attention turns to hostile discipline or you consider a permanent separation from your best animal friend, realize that just like humans our pets suffer from emotional problems too.

    In his own way, your dog is telling you he needs help. Instead of getting angry, use these 10 tips to turn your furry terror into the loving pet he really is.

    10 Professional Trainer Tips for Troubled Adult Dogs

    1.  Manage Your Dog’s Energy

    Energy isn’t something you can discipline out of your dog.  A healthy adult dog needs exercise and things to occupy his time and attention. Leaving him at home all day long with nothing to do is a recipe for disaster.  Read how a Kong food puzzle can add hours of enjoyment to your pet’s day.

    2. Control Your Dog’s Impulses

    You may think of your dog as a furry little human but his emotions are far more reactive than reasoned.  Teaching your adult dog to control his sudden urges can be as simple as teaching him commands such as  stay and wait.

    Dash learns how to “stay” in our West Seattle adult dog obedience class.

    3.  Teach the Basic Skills

    Your dog wants to be good but if you don’t teach him how, he will never understand what good means.  Living with humans can get confusing so keep it simple by teaching the minimum commands:  sit, down, stand, stay, walking on-leash and polite greetings.

    4.  Reward Good Behaviors

    He may not act like he knows what you are sayings but add a cookie to the conversation and he will totally “get” you. Rewarding good behavior with a healthy doggy treat simply ensures more good behavior.

    5.  Negatively Reward Bad Behaviors

    Our pet’s just can’t connect the dots between their action of jumping on us and getting a violent smack. Don’t make that mistake. Instead, negatively reward bad behavior by not giving your dog the intent of his actions. He’s looking for attention when he jumps up so turn and move away.

    6.  Build Confidence

    Socialize your adult dog to avoid the problems associated with shyness, fear and loneliness.  Dog training classes, the park and neighborhood walks are all opportunities to teach your dog how to interact with other people and dogs.

    7.  Make Your Dog Earn His Money $$$

    You work for your money to so that you can live in a nice house, drive a nice car, eat good food and wear fancy clothes.  Make your dog do the same.  Don’t let your dog become a spoiled, rotten brat by giving him everything for free!  Make him earn your attention, affection and his kibble through his actions.  You want your dog working for you, not you working for him!

    8.  Get Regular Checkups

    Not all problems are lack of or improper training.  Regular visits to your dog’s veterinarian will uncover medical problems that are masking themselves as bad behavior.

    9.  Form a Strong Bond

    He’s not called man’s (or woman’s) best friend for no reason. Spend quality time with your pet and you will be amazed how he rewards you. Things as simple as petting, brushing and throwing a ball for your dog will bring years of unconditional love.

    10. Learn Proper Techniques

    Would you take driving, swimming or river rafting  lessons from someone who never drove, swam or rafted?  Don’t confuse your dog and frustrate yourself further by using training techniques that don’t work.

    An adult dog training class is fun for pets and handlers. If you don’t have the time to do the training, we’ll do it for you with private training sessions that are easy and inexpensive.

    Problem adult dogs can be frustrating, overwhelming and potentially dangerous.  Read more about our adult dog basic and advanced classes and our other dog training options.

    The Service Dog Academy uses only the most advanced and humane dog training methods that help your dog to become service oriented instead of destructive oriented.

    We use animal learning theory just like Dr. Ian Dunbar, veterinarian, animal behaviorist, writer and renown dog trainer as well as other advanced behavioral techniques.

    Contact us today for a free consultation.

    Best Dog Food Puzzle: The Kongsicle

    See how you can get a FREE Kong Extreme like the one featured in this video by scheduling your first training appointment today!

    Stop your dog’s anxiety, depression and disruptive boredom with the best dog food puzzle toy recipe: the frozen Kongsicle. Kongs are nontoxic, highly durable and all natural rubber food puzzle toys. This food toy will revive the hunter in your dog and the Kongsicle will soon be your pet’s favorite treat.

    Our pets have not gotten past the hunt, chase and gnaw stage of their evolution. When their basic instincts are denied, they reward us with constant barking, digging and chewing up furniture.

    Kongsicles are easy and quick to make and can release pent up energy in your dog and encourage a natural self-play activity. They help you exercise your dog even when you don’t have the time.

    An adult dog waiting patiently for his Kong.

    How to Make a Kongsicle

    You Will Need

    1. Less than 10 minutes
    2. 2 tablespoons high meat content wet dog food
    3. 1/4 cup dry dog food
    4. 1-2 tablespoons water
    5. Mixing bowl and spoon
    6. Classic or Extreme Kong Dog Toy
    7. Freezer
    • In your mixing bowl, combine the wet and dry dog food.
    • Add the water, which helps with freezing.
    • Tightly pack your Kong with the mixture.
    • Freeze in an upright position overnight.
    • Give your dog his/her Kongsicle and room to play.
    • Relax; your dog is content, fulfilled, healthy and happy.

    Kongs are enjoyed by working dogs in police and drug enforcement and the military for training and as a reward.

    They are also recommended by veterinarians  and professional dog trainers including the Service Dog Academy for dogs that suffer from depression, mischievous behavior, separation anxiety and boredom.

    Kong’s are made in the U.S., of carbon-formula Ultra Flex. They  have an unpredictable bounce that will have your dog chasing and catching this nearly indestructible tasty prey.

    You can make a variety of Kongsicles or fill the Kong with tasty treats for hours of entertainment. Chewing Kongs promotes strong jaws, clean teeth and good oral hygiene.

    Get the Kong Extreme for medium to large dogs and the Classic Kong for smaller dogs. Order a couple of Kong Dog Toys today!

    Educational Advancements


    Mary McNeight and her service dog Liame laughing with Dr. Ian Dunbar in one of his Seminars.

    The Service Dog Academy is constantly keeping up on the advancements in the science of dog training! In May of 2010 we attend Dr. Ian Dunbar’s (the rock star of dog training) seminar on how to better teach our classes through the use of games. In January of 2010 we attended Clicker Expo in Portland Oregon and learned some great techniques to help us more efficiently train service dogs. Our staff also attended a class on how to train a Diabetic Alert Dogs (see the class photo located below) and the always educational APDT conference during the month of October 2009. We are excited to apply our new skills and techniques to help you accomplish your training goals faster and strengthen the bonds between you and your pup.


    October 2009 – Mary McNeight and her service dog Liame on the final day of her Diabetic Alert Dog training class.

    Additionally, in the near future our head trainer Mary McNeight will also be pursuing her CPDT distinction, a certified and highly recognized title only given to the most experienced and knowledgeable dog trainers in the United States.


    January 2010 – Mary McNeight and her service dog Liame at Clicker Expo.

    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.