Posts Tagged ‘dog training west seattle’

Pet Puppy Socialization: The Service Dog Way Pt. 2

How do you get a fearless dog? By great socialization training, of course! Socialization is a not only a key component of a well-behaved service dog, it’s important for pet dogs, too! In fact, the number one reason dogs end up in shelters is under socialization.

Socializing Puppies: The Service Dog Way

To show how awesome well-socialized puppies can be, watch how two of our board and train pups, Cooper and Daisy, handle themselves around emergency personnel during a critical stage in their development.

Mary McNeight, with the help of fireman Andy from Engine 32, and a bag of treats, proceeded to get Daisy and Cooper used to his big uniform and funny hat. They didn’t seem phased at all in part thanks to the positive reinforcement training and socialization they received in Service Dog Academy pet puppy classes.

Next, we visited the Southwest Precinct of the Seattle Police Department, and gave officers Andy Bass and Buzzy the same opportunity to greet and treat the pups. Hopefully, as Cooper and Daisy grow up to be reliable diabetic alert service dogs they wont have to meet again, but just in case emergency personnel do show up in response to their owners’ medical issue, Cooper and Daisy will have had a positive association with these men in uniform.

Do you want your puppy to be as well-socialized as a service dog? Don’t have the time or energy to make sure your puppy gets the exercise he or she needs? Then, Puppy Day Camp is your answer!

Service Dog Academy will soon open its studio space for your puppy to get the ultimate socialization and training experience. Puppy Day Camp will run from 7:30am-11:30am Monday through Thursday. Drop off your pup in the morning, run some errands, go to work, or just sit back and relax while our professional dog trainers on staff work on basic obedience and supervise play sessions with a small group of pups. Come back a few hours later to a worn-out, happy, better socialized puppy! The cost is $269 for four days of camp. Email info@servicedogacademy.com for more information and keep checking the website for official start dates!

Service dogs as well as pet dogs should never display traits of fear, aggression, or reactivity, so to avoid this, it’s crucial for puppies between the ages for 7 weeks and 3 months to be socialized to many different situations and people. The Service Dog Academy also offers pet puppy classes that are designed for setting a foundation for socialization during this critical time, whether training your puppy good manners, or the American Diabetes Association recognized diabetic alert, migraine alert, seizures, or another type of service work. Service Dog Academy classes also cater to adult dog basic obedience, and advanced dog training classes at the dog training studio located in West Seattle.

With so many options to choose from for your pet puppy, you’ll have a fearless, happy dog, in no time!

Groundbreaking Workshop Making D.A.Ds Possible

Diabetic Alert Dogs from Oregon to Illinois

Something incredible happened over Labor Day Weekend. Diabetics from all over the U.S. traveled to Service Dog Academy’s training studio in West Seattle and participated in the first-ever intensive diabetic alert dog program. No longer is the hope of a diabetic alert dog, and the possibility of a more independent life with diabetes limited to just a few lucky parts of the country. With the combination of the Diabetic Alert Dog University online training videos and 4-days of concentrated in-person learning, hard-working diabetics from Oregon, Texas, California, and Illinois learned the techniques to train their own well-mannered pet dogs to be their diabetic alert service dog.

Professional Dog Training in Seattle

“There are a lot of people posing as diabetic assist trainers and I was the victim of one here in Oregon. Mary was a total breath of fresh air for us and a saving grace.”

One particular student, Pam, admitted she had tried a program like this before and was severely disappointed. Because of this bad experience, she was a bit skeptical at first. She had previously taken her dog to a trainer in Forest Grove, Oregon – which turned out to be a “miserable failure.” The class was too big to receive any individualized attention and the not all the dogs in the class had service-dog type manners.

“Mary is like a breath of sunshine after a stormy stormy winter.  She exudes a level of enthusiasm that is infectious.  Her love of teaching and training is evident in everything she does.”

It’s no mistake that Service Dog Academy class sizes are kept small. We need it in order to give dogs and their owners the observation and attention they need to be successful at this advanced level of training. True, you can’t make a big profit by limiting the number of people you can cram into a room, in fact, Mary hasn’t seen a “paycheck” in years. However, Mary’s goal is to give to the community, to help diabetics as far as she can reach them. The money we make keeps the program alive, keeps our trainers up-to-date on the latest in training, a studio space to train in, and pay the wonderful staff that keeps things running smoothly.

Lifesaving Diabetic Alert Dogs

“There are so many type 2 diabetics in their senior years that suffer severe complications of long term exposure to type 2 diabetes and experience a loss of sensation for low blood sugar awareness.  For me, I have not slept the night through in several years…. I check my sugars 7-10 times daily.  I take my insulin at 11:30  and recheck between 2 AND 3 AM.  I then eat a snack if low or take insulin if high. I play this game again between 6-7 am. I do this 7 days a week day in and day out.  If I can sleep thru the night even two days a week I will be yards ahead of where I am now.”

Pam is a brittle diabetic who has not slept through the night in over 2 years because of unstable blood sugars. So, she did her homework and adopted a Border Collie with a stable temperament who would help her manage her blood sugar imbalances. Pam and JuneBug also show us a great example of how shelter dogs can be well-mannered, and trained, too. After the 4-day intensive training, Pam took JuneBug back to the humane society where she adopted her last February. They came back just to show how far June had come since the adoption, looking great and well-behaved, and donning her Canine Good Citizen certification.

Pet Dog Training Supports the Lifesaving Program

The labor of love that is diabetic alert dog training for Mary McNeight has seen many ups and downs, but the stories from the students we reach are priceless. None of which could be possible without the hard work and dedication of diabetics who want to train their own dogs, as well as Service Dog Academy’s pet dog training program. To help support our low-cost diabetic alert dog program enroll in any one of our pet dog obedience classes for puppies or adult dogs over 17-weeks-old. Whether you want to cover the basics, or have fun learning new party tricks, there are several classes to suit you and your canine companion’s training needs. Enroll today, and get on the fast track to the best-behaved dog in town and help people with disabilities.

More Praises from our Diabetic Alert Dog Graduates

It’s always great to hear feedback from our diabetic alert 101 graduates, and when they have a success story to tell, it gives us chills.

Whether you’re looking to positively train for diabetic alert, get an already trained dog through Service Dog Academy, or just train the basics in puppy class using all positive reinforcement, Jeff and Rich have some helpful advice.

Jeff and Rich took their dogs to Service Dog Academy to train with one of the best pet puppy, pet adult dog obedience training programs in Seattle, and then went on to Diabetic Alert Dog 101 to learn how to train these pups to be reliable diabetic alert dogs to manage their serious medical conditions. Jeff was sick of waking up to paramedics standing over him far too often, and was ready for a new approach. Rich was tired of being worried about being alone, and in a life-threatening situation – his body seems to give him absolutely zero warning before a rapid crash.

Jeff took Cooper, then 11-weeks-old through puppy kindergarten at our West Seattle training studio where we teach puppy dog training classes for pet dogs and future diabetic alert dogs! It wasn’t long before Cooper started to pick up on Jeff’s low blood sugar. Now, the father of seven kids can be confident another body can be around to make sure he stays alive.

Violet’s stable temperament during adult dog obedience class proved she would be a good candidate as Rich’s diabetic alert service dog. “Being alone isn’t a problem like it used to be…” Rich recalls, as Violet’s persistence has made sure he checks his blood sugar – even if he feels fine.

See for yourself how effective the positive reinforcement training methods at Service Dog Academy can be. Go to our basic classes page to enroll in basic puppy obedience or basic adult dog today!

If you don’t have a dog yet, but like what you see, we can help you find a dog, and if your interest is piqued by our already trained dog program, click here to see if an already trained dog is right for you, and get on that list before it fills up!

Fireworks Anxiety In Dogs – Free Puppy Dog Training Advice

PLASE NOTE: We train pet dogs too. By enrolling in one of our pet dog training classes in Seattle you help support the low cost medical alert dog training program. Click here to enroll in our award winning pet dog classes today!

Liame and Jasper in their Thundershirts on the 4th of July in 2010

Since I used to have a VERY sound sensitive dog service dog, I knew 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. Remember dogs have feelings just like humans do and its not fun to exist in a state of anxiety in which you fear for your life for hours upon end.

What most people dont realize is that with a little bit of planning you can make sure your dog doesn’t suffer from severe anxiety during the sometimes illegal festivities enjoyed by your neighbors.

PREPARATION FOR THE DAYS LEADING UP TO FIREWORKS SEASON:

  • GO TO THE VET NOW – 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!
  • Purchase a homeopathic anxiety reducing solution if you cannot get to the vet or in addition to what the vet prescribes. A product like Rescue Remedy is great for a number of anxiety producing stimuli, not just fireworks.
  • Make sure your dogs tags and microchip information is up to date. If your dog does escape (more 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.
  • Prevent this problem from ever occurring in the first place. When you get your next dog, immediately enroll him or her into a positive reinforcement puppy class like the ones at the Service Dog Academy in Seattle. We will help you get your dog used to firecrackers in a safe environment.

CONTROLLING THE ENVIRONMENT ON CELEBRATION DAYS:


Its not just the noise that the fireworks make but also the smell and light given off by them that can have an effect on your dog.

  • 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!
  • Keep the windows and curtains drawn during the festivities. You want your dog to be as stimulus free as possible.
  • 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.

 

Liame and Jasper playing in the dog park on 4th of July getting as exhausted as possible.

TO MANAGE / EASE FEAR IN YOUR DOG OR PUPPY

  • Never EVER punish a fearful dog. You will only make the fear even worse.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Only feed your dog half of his morning meal so that by the time evening rolls around he is hungry and wants the food more than they care about the fireworks.
  • Associate fireworks noise with food. Dogs have 250 million scent receptors and their noses are 200 times more sensitive than a humans! The use of food with an anxious dog helps replace the feeling of fear with a positive action, eating food. 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.
  • The act of chewing helps a dog to relieve anxiety in dogs. 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. You can view our free youtube video on how to make a Kongsicle on our recent blog posting.
  • Try practicing a little T-Touch massage therapy on your dog. Sometimes just stroking from the base of the ear to the tip of the ear slowly can help relieve anxiety.
  • Add a little Parmesan cheese and/or egg whites to your dogs kibble or Kongsicle. They have 8 times the tryptophan that turkey has in it. Tryptophan is the precursor to the production of serotonin (the happy chemical) in the brain. We cant give you exact amounts of parmesan or egg whites on this post since dogs vary in size, but just a sprinkle of these two foods over your dogs kibble should suffice.

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!

Click here to enroll in our award winning pet dog class today and support our mission to provide affordable medical alert dog training to people with disabilities. We were voted best dog & puppy trainer / training by our students!

Happy Tails To You!
Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS

Featured Presenter For 2012 Diabetes Expo


While Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS is behind the camera, Liame makes friends with booth visitor, and operations manager, Carrie Rubens, and Assistant Trainer, Tracy Walsh hold down the fort.

Some of the best-trained puppies in town represented the Service Dog Academy at the annual American Diabetes Association Expo at the Washington State Convention Center on April 21st. Cooper, a 6-month old labrador who started alerting at 4-months-old wowed everyone with his manners and sniffing abilities! Cecelia and her gentle giant, Marduk, the world’s first narcolepsy alert Great Dane stole the show, and Judith and Citka long-time students at Service Dog Academy were an impressive showing of how the initial training done through our program has lasted throughout the years.

It’s rare to see four young dogs together in a space no bigger than a bathroom have the ability to remain completely focused on their handlers, and calmly accepting of all the human attendees who couldn’t wait to greet and pet them. At times, there was loud music and dancing going on just a few feet away, and from time to time strange-looking creatures would walk by – this is, for example, a person in a giant kidney costume!


Liame ignores the giant kidney behind him

 
Those great socialization opportunities and resistance to distraction is just the kind of training that our puppy training classes at our West Seattle dog-training studio teach. Not only were these pups taught proper manners and socialization, each continued their puppy school education through our medical alert training program to become full-fledged service dogs.

It was a long, full, day and with all those improvisational service dogs in the house something was bound to happen! Members of the diabetic community were able to witness first-hand some of these impressive dogs in action.  Liame alerted his owner with a paw swipe that her sugar was dropping, Citka alerted two members of the public via a nose bump that they were running high, and Cooper only 6 months old at the time, with his good puppy manners managed to resist temptation to play with the other dogs.

Cecelia and Marduk had an incredible story of their own to share about trip to the convention center that morning. While on the bus, Marduk alerted Cecelia with a nose bump that a cataplectic episode, a form of narcolepsy, was imminent. She had just enough time to have him lay across her lap so that when she did doze off, she was safely seated and protected by him.  It’s understandable why Judith, Citka’s owner, would say, “I never go anywhere without him”.  These dogs truly are life-savers.

There wasn’t just action at our booth, Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, BGS director of training and behavior at Service Dog Academy, gave a well-received lecture at one of the Expo’s breakout stages to the public about the myths surrounding diabetic alert dogs. The presentation ran well over it’s 45-minute allotment from all the questions and comments from the audience afterward.

Here are some of the highlights from the presentation titled Diabetic Alert Dogs: Myth Vs. Reality:

Myth:Im a type 2 diabetic and consequently don’t go low.  I don’t need to train for low blood sugar.

Reality: Most of the type 2 individuals who come into classes find out when they start to train for low blood sugar first, they actually go low 1-5 times per day but didn’t know about it until the dog started to alert them.

Myth:Im a type 2 diabetic and consequently don’t go low.  I don’t need to train for low blood sugar.

Reality: Most of the type 2 individuals who come into classes find out when they start to train for low blood sugar first, they actually go low 1-5 times per day but didn’t know about it until the dog started to alert them.

Myth:Im a type 2 diabetic and consequently don’t go low.  I don’t need to train for low blood sugar.

Reality: Most of the type 2 individuals who come into classes find out when they start to train for low blood sugar first, they actually go low 1-5 times per day but didn’t know about it until the dog started to alert them.

Myth: A diabetic alert dog will either require you to test lest often or not test at all

Reality: Our students find that their dogs actually pick up on more lows and highs than any device they have owned, which actually means MORE testing. For example if dog alerts to a high, you will have to test to see how much insulin to give yourself

Myth: Diabetic alert dogs can only be trained for type 1 diabetics.

Reality: Dogs can be trained to alert for type 1, 2, 1.5, and hypoglycemia.

Myth: Diabetic alert dogs under six months of age are not reliable alerters.

Reality: They can sometimes be incredibly reliable as long as they are properly trained.

6-month-old Cooper happily poses with Jeff and daughter. Cooper started alerting at 4-months-old and has give Jeff his independence back.

This was Service Dog Academy’s second appearance at the ADA Expo, and we look forward to many more. Last year at the 2011 ADA Expo we had a great time introducing our groundbreaking program to the diabetic community, and we can say the same for this with a something a little extra. Not only could we share how we use positive reinforcement training techniques to train our dogs to detect blood sugar imbalances in their type 1, type 2, and hypoglycemic owners, but since last year we have been able to help the lives of many more people, and train truly lifesaving dogs.

How to Find your Service Dog or Puppy – For Diabetes, Seizure & Medical Alert Work

We get it. Driving out here to West Seattle for an information seminar about how to find the right dog for service dog training and what to expect living with a service dog might be easier said than done. And for some people who want to use our dog training or diabetic alert dog training services, it might not be practical – especially if they live outside of the Seattle area – or Washington State for that matter. Finally, we’ve come up with a way for you to soak up this valuable information from the comfort of your own home.

For anyone about to embark on getting a service dog Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS director of training and behavior at Service Dog Academy has released part one of two essential ebooks that anyone interested in getting a service dog should read.

Adapting the original Before Your Service Dog class into a free, downloadable, shareable ebook with the help of myself – Service Dog Academy’s Operations Manager – Mary decided it was time to set her students up for success. Super Puppy: Service Dog – Life Partner, Life-Changer, Life-Saver How to Find the Right Dog for Service Work is available for free, and you can share it, too – as long as you give credit to the authors, of course!

Mary saw too many students in Service Dog Academy’s positive reinforcement training classes let down because their dogs proved unsuitable for service work. On the flipside, there had been so much positive feedback from students who came to this 1.5 hour information session that we just had to find a way to get it to more people!

In fact, students who had come to this class have an 85% increase in their training success at our diabetic alert 101 and service dog training classes vs. students who have entered our service dog training or alert classes without it! It was time to make such valuable information not just available to potential students, but accessible on their own time, and in the comfort of their own homes.

For anyone who is considering getting a service dog, but doesn’t know where to begin Super Puppy: Service Dog – Life Partner, Life-Changer, Life-Saver How to Find the Right Dog for Service Work is the number one step to take. If you ever wondered if it was a better idea to spend the time and money training your own service or medical alert dog or spend $15,000 – $25,000 for an already trained service dog; if you wondered how much time and effort it will take to train a successful service dog, then here is professional, Washington state-certified, positive reinforcement dog trainer, and the Pacific Northwest’s foremost leader in medical alert dog training Mary McNeight’s free professional advice!

Free puppy trainer training advice to teach you how to train your own service dog find best trainer Seattle

Our new free ebook covers where to find a dog suitable for service work, what kind of behavior, obedience or pet puppy dog training is required, and even what kind of dog to get.

  • Chapter 1: Train your Own Vs. Buying an Already Trained Dog
  • Chapter 2: Success Rides on the Dog, and YOU
  • Chapter 3: What am I Looking for in a Service Dog Candidate?
  • Chapter 4: The Importance of Temperament Testing
  • Chapter 5: Where To Find Your Service Dog Candidate

It’s not just for service dogs, too. While this is the culmination of McNeight’s eight years of experience training her own and training other dogs for service work in medical alert, service dog access and task training, the ebook covers the importance of temperament testing in puppies and adult dogs, and also the importance of socialization for puppies, too! Here at Service Dog Academy, we cannot stress enough the importance of socialization – it can mean the difference between a dog with a long, happy life with a loving family, or having behavior problems that may never be fully remedied.

No more excuses, and no more wondering how to get started. If your doctor recommends the use of a service dog, for mobility or to respond to a psychiatric issue, or you need a companion to alert you before a debilitating seizure or blood sugar crash because you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or even hypoglycemia, then we want to set you up for success whether you decide to buy an already trained dog, or decide to train your own through our groundbreaking American Diabetes Association recognized diabetic alert dog and medical alert dog program.

You can download part one of the two free ebooks that will help you choose a diabetic or medical alert dog candidate here. Stay tuned for the second free ebook which will cover service dog lifestyle! Don’t forget, feel free to share it with anyone about to embark on getting a service dog or just interested parties. All we ask is that you give the authors some credit, and link back to us! We would also appreciate a blog post from your website commenting on the content you found useful in the ebook.

If you would like to set up an appointment to talk to us about your service dog candidate dog or the training process for these amazing alert dogs please click on our medical alert service dog training appointment webpage.

Seattle Puppy Class Work To Eat Strategy Creates Improvisational Diabetic Alert Dogs

Article as featured on Premier’s blog.

Seattle, Washington has a unique brand of dog trainer at Service Dog Academy. Nowhere else in the Pacific Northwest can people with diabetes learn to train their dogs to alert to blood sugar imbalances. As a part of Service Dog Academy staff, we work hard to get this highly specialized training to more and more people each day. Our dog training studio was founded on the principles that people with disabilities should have affordable resources to live a manageable, independent life, and to us that means being able to train your own service dog. Having first-hand experiences with hypoglycemia and type 2 diabetes, Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, head trainer and founder knows that manageability means a lot to those seeking out a diabetic alert dog. The costs of insurance, medicals services, and peace of mind that they wont pass out in a shopping mall only to wake up with emergency personnel at their side is worth the work it takes to have a canine companion on the ready to alert when blood sugar starts to drop.

As part of her diabetic alert dog training methods, Premier puzzles are a main part of the work to eat strategy. In the wild, dogs had to work for hours on end to find their food, and with a work to eat strategy, it emulates this as best as we can. Here’s why we love this method:

  • You get a dog that thinks your are the coolest thing since sliced bread. When your dog feels this way, he’ll do what it takes to get your attention, never be far from your side, and for a medical alert assistance dog, a trait you can’t live without.
  • What happens when you get frustrated? The inclination to give-up – and just like you and me, Fido can feel frustrated, too. Puzzles create frustration tolerance. We want a dog to try over and over and over again to get your attention, and tolerate a little frustration. Citka, a 1 1/2 year old Golden Retreiver and graduate of the program jumped on a fabric store cutting counter to get his owner’s attention when her blood sugar was crashing; Buddy, a one-year old black lab was behind a closed door when his owner passed out, so the puppy who barely ever barked before howled at the top of his lungs to get anyone’s attention. We’re proud of our thinking dogs, dogs who don’t take “no” for an answer!
  • Your dog gets vigorous mental exercise that is the equivalent of a 10-minute walk. Something that is quite valuable to a person who is disabled and/or wheelchair bound – and pretty nice overall on those cold and rainy days when neither of you feel like being outside for those treks.

At our train-your-own diabetic alert dog program, we see dogs of all different shapes and sizes come into class, and some may have been using work to eat strategies since birth, and others might not be as proficient. We need puzzles to match that diversity. Thank goodness for Premier’s line of customizable puzzles that are made for every dog from purse pooches to great danes. The range of levels from easy to hard are one feature, but we found that complexity can be added to each one just by adding a part – for example, Linkables have lots of opportunity to throw in a curveball for those genius dogs, or you could add a ball to the Tug A Jug. And for got an excessive chewers or apartment dwellers who needs a quieter toy, there is something for both puppies and adult dogs in the Premier line of work to eat puzzles.

An estimated 25.8 million people in the United States are affected by diabetes whether diagnosed or not, according to the CDC. All those people seeking medical help costs the American health care system nearly double the cost of a world without diabetes. As the 6th most common disability among U.S. adults, it causes quite a strain on the economy, and the need for preventative measures is dire. While we don’t have the resources to cure diabetes, Service Dog Academy and Diabetic Alert Dog University in Seattle Washington strives to create a system that makes living with diabetes much more manageable.

If you would like an improvisational diabetic alert dog please contact us for further information.

Puppy Class Techniques To The Rescue – Even Dog Trainers Are Human


Want your dog to be able to deal with injuries without biting, squirming, barking or running away? See what our Seattle Puppy Classes Can Teach You!

Ever try to treat a medical issue on a very wiggly and unhappy dog?  Not fun for anyone involved.  Here are some tips to help make it an easier and less painful process.

Counterconditioning your Puppy

When our dogs are in pain or discomfort, our love and concern for inflatable snowman their well-being makes us act quickly to try to help alleviate their suffering.

Recently Mary noticed that Liame’s neck was red, itch and his hair was falling out. We sprung into action and broke out the scissors, clippers, and skin-soothing lotion.  But Liame wasn’t particularly happy about having his sore skin touched and was wiggling around like a 3 month old puppy.  Yes, thats right students, even your State Certified Professional Dog Trainer makes mistakes sometimes inflatable bouncer.

What’s the best way to calm an upset dog and redirect his energies?  The answers are Desensitization and Counterconditioning, big scientific words that means we try to re-teach an animal to have a pleasant feeling and reaction toward something that he once feared or disliked.

40% of your dogs brain is devoted strictly to his nose so allowing a dog to smell something can result in an amazingly pleasant feeling. In our Seattle puppy classes, we use food to achieve this pleasant feeling.  Just like you and me dogs can only have ONE thought at a time.  If they’re happily engaged in something pleasant (food), then there’s no room for those unpleasant thoughts (scissors are scary).

 

Lesson Learned From Puppy Classes

So our idea for Liame was for Mary to tend to the skin and fur while I treated with small pieces of food.  It worked; Liame forgot all about what was happening, but was so excited about the food that he wouldn’t sit still. The job got done but we realized a better way would have been something we usually suggest to our puppy training class students:

  • Take a Kong, filled it with something yummy
  • Have helper person hold in in front of your dogs head kind of like a baby bottle.
  • Let dog lick while another person does something mildly unpleasant to the dog.

The result of this type of set up is that you get a calm puppy who is oblivious to what is going on around him (be that bathing, clipping nails, brushing their coat, or in our case, using clippers to shave hair off your dogs neck.)

 

Desensitization Dog Training Techniques Learned in Puppy Class

 

Our Seattle Positive Reinforcement Puppy Classes Can Make Your Puppy Calm

This experience could have been so much worse if Mary hadn’t spent a lot of time throughout Liame’s life desensitizing him to having every part of his body touched and handled.  Desensitizing simply means to make less sensitive.  Part of our puppy training class involves teaching dog owners the importance of having their dog handled, a little bit every day, as part of their daily routine, and of course by using food (counterconditioning) to make it a pleasant experience.  At our Seattle dog training studio, we teach our students the following method:

  • Put a treat in front of the nose
  • Touch/handle the body part
  • Let your dog eat the treat
  • Let go of body part

By doing this, you’re teaching your dog that it’s not a big deal when you loom over them, or open up their mouth, or pull their tail.  They’ll begin to think, “I get food when people stick their fingers in my ear?  I LOVE when people stick their finger in my ear!”  That way, when an emergency arises, it will be much easier to tend to your dog because they will already be so used to having their body handled.  It will just be normal to them.

So, while Liame would have preferred to NOT have his fur cut and lotion applied, he was obviously not SCARED because he’d been desensitized from puppyhood and was trained often to accept and enjoy being touched and handled.

If you would like to have your puppy enjoy going to the vet, love having their teeth brushed, sit calmly in your lap and love being petted, check out our Award Winning, 5 Star Google Rated Seattle Puppy Classes.

Cooper’s Puppy Manners Impress Seattle Diabetes Crowd

Cooper’s Puppy Manners, Obedience and Diabetic Alerting Impress Seattle Diabetes Crowdinflatable abominable snowman

by Tracy Walsh

A beautiful Seattle day brought us through gridlock traffic to Seattle’s Phinney Neighborhood Center on the afternoon of March 24th.  We were there to represent the Service Dog Academy at the 22nd Annual ADA Family Retreat.

The Annual Family Retreat is just one unique way that the American Diabetes Association realizes their mission – to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.  The ADA Family Retreat is the leading diabetes education and awareness program for families with children ages 13 and younger who have diabetes throughout Western Washington and beyond.

What Potential Diabetic Alert Dog Training Students Learned

As a vendor with a prime location along the food line, we were able to talk with and help educate many families on the lifesaving benefits of having a specially trained Diabetic Alert Dog.  One such dog is Cooper, a 6 month old Yellow Lab, who was trained at our Seattle dog training studio.  The importance of education and awareness was evident as many we spoke with were not even aware that this type of service dog existed.  There is a lot of information that we shared about these amazing dogs, including:

  • Our dogs are trained with positive reinforcement to use their highly sensitive scent capabilities to identify the changed in blood chemistry that occur during rapid changes in blood sugar levels
  • Dogs are trained to give an alert to the person before they are even aware that these changes are taking place
  • Dogs as young as 6 months of age can be trained to alert their diabetic owners of their highs and lows
  • They can detect a low 20 minutes before a meter can.
  • That a diabetic alert dog doesnt have to cost $20,000. Service Dog Academy can help you train your own with as little as a $1000 investment.
  • Almost any breed of dog can be trained to become alert dogs.  The one consistent exception are dogs that are brachycephalic (flat-nosed), such as pugs and bulldogs.

Cooper has broken the mold of a diabetic alert dog.  Thanks to the rigorous training of our Seattle Diabetic Alert Dog program, he has been alerting his owner, Jeff, since 3 months of age.   Surprisingly, he has even been able to alert Jeff of a low 30 minutes before it registered on the meter.   Before Cooper even learned how to give an official alert, he even went so far as to “retrieve” Jeff’s wife when his attempts at waking Jeff failed and his blood sugar was dangerously low.  It’s scary to contemplate the dangerous situations Jeff was saved from by the awareness of his wonderful dog.

Cooper’s Puppy Training Classes Helped Create The Diabetic Alert Dog He Is Today

At the retreat, Cooper was a prime example of the importance of creating a calm and stable dog that can tolerate crowds of strangers.   This was achieved by the training methods we use at our Seattle puppy classes at the Service Dog Academy dog training studio in West Seattle.  Using positive reinforcement dog training techniques and teaching proper puppy socialization to dogs through puppy play and intensive human interaction is vital in creating a dog that will need to perform the work necessary for a service dog.

Cooper proved that our positive reinforcement puppy training techniques really work.  At any given time, Cooper was surrounded by a crowd of 4-5 kids, with twice as many hands, petting and touching him, vying for his attention, crowding around him, and Cooper just lapped it all up.  According to Jeff, he really loves to play, but also knows how to calm down when needed.  Jeff noted that people at the camp were amazed that such a young puppy was so well behaved.

Dogs like Cooper exemplify what it means to be a well-adjusted and stable service dog.  Whether your goal is to have your dog eventually perform service work, or if you just want a well-balanced, happy dog, our Seattle dog training educational studio classes can help!

If you would like to train your dog for service work or specifically for diabetic alert dog work, please browse our website and take a look at our FAQ.

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… [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.

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.

Free Medical Alert Dog Training Advice – Youtube Videos

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