Posts Tagged ‘professional dog trainer tips’

Animal Planet “Dogs 101” Program Fails To Educate Public On Family Dogs Pre Biting Behavior

Has anyone seen the cute “Best Family Dog” episode of Dogs 101 on Animal Planet? Cute Labrador Retrievers, Cute Goldens, Cute dogs all around. But did anyone happen to notice the PUGGLE almost BITE the child about 5 minutes into the program? This illustrates how clueless most people are about dog behavior and dogs protracted warning signs (signs dogs give off before they attack/bite).

Someone royally failed over in the editing bay on this program. They obviously did not have a dog expert help them edit the show.

What does a dog training expert like Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS see in this scene? Child goes in for a kiss, dog freezes, ears of the dog goes back, dog stares at child, dog starts to snarl, child pulls away, dog snaps at child almost making contact on both hands of the child. Had that child pulled away a second less that Puggle would have bitten him. Animal Planet, indeed, what a “great” “family dog” that Puggle was!

We have to make television shows more accountable for the dog advice they give on television. Until I watched this clip I thought the world of Animal Planet and their dog advice because of worldwide wonder Victoria Stilwell. But if Animal Planet cant even edit a dog almost attacking a child out of its “family dog” program what else are they doing wrong?

Watch the video above to find out how eerily similar the dogs warning signs are to the dog attack video of worldwide famed reporter Kyle Dyer. About 23 seconds into the clip the dogs is lip licking, ears are back, the dog freezes, gives a glare, snarls and then bites.

If you dog starts to show ANY ONE of these signs, move away from them as fast as possible or else…

WARNING – This clip shows a dog mauling the face of a reporter.

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

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.

Diabetic Alert Dog Fundamentals – Free Training Advice

Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, owner and head trainer of the Service Dog Academy shared some of her diabetic alert dog training fundamentals in a free webinar earlier this month with attendees from all over the country. With her background in training service dogs, and seeing the effects of diabetes through personal experience and with family members, McNeight set out to make training dogs for diabetic alert accessible for everyone.

Attendees from all over including Denver, San Antonio, Anaheim, Brooklyn, Michigan, Virginia, and New Jersey also got a sneak peak at Diabetic Alert Dog University – the next phase in McNeight’s quest for offering low-cost diabetic alert dog training to type one and type two diabetics, hypoglycemics, and pre-diabetics.

“I did find your webinar useful and your approach compatible [sic] with my own training beliefs. I am fascinated by the whole process!”

In this program, dogs are allowed to be dogs through the use of games, solving puzzles, and making service work incredibly rewarding. By using positive reinforcement methods, Service Dog Academy’s diabetic alert dog program keeps a dog’s spirit intact. The puzzles and games that are part of the training have been developed to create an improvisational dog.

Furthermore, by working with your own dog and doing the training with your dog, it will give you the ability to keep up with the training. Unfortunately, when an already trained dog is given to a person he may lose his ability to alert within a few months. With this program, in addition to the basics of alerting to blood sugar changes, getting drinks from the refrigerator, retrieving your meter and getting help, this program gives you the fundamentals to teach your dog more complicated tasks when you come up with them.

The main goal of the training is based on the discoveries of Ivan Pavlov, a psychologist who rang a bell when he fed his dogs, and discovered that his dogs equated the sound of a bell to being fed. Eventually, they started to salivate at the sound of a ringing bell. The main goal of diabetic alert dog training is to create a Pavlovian response in your dog to blood sugar scents.

1. Make sure dog has a strong foundation with the scent. At first, the low blood sugar scent might not be more important than a tennis ball, squeaky toys, children running by, etcetera. So, build a solid foundation with the scent using Pavlovian techniques. Pair food with the scent.

2. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid. Train one variable at a time, in micro-increments. Start training in a low distraction environment, and build from there.

3. Start generalizing. Once your dog performs the tasks with 95% accuracy switch it up. change the body posture, distance, location, level of distraction, and “training predictors” – i.e. clicker, clenched fist, or treat bag.

Note: Don’t add variables until your dog is 95% accurate with the others.

4. There is a difference between an alert and a signal. The alert says “hey! there’s something wrong!” and the signal tells you exactly what – in the case of lows, it would be a paw swipe, and for highs, spinning in a circle.

5. The signal training is the same when it comes to generalization as alert training.

6. Always remember: Don’t put the chain together until your dog can generalize all steps in the chain with 95% accuracy. Why? It’s like trying to complete an algebraic equation with out being able to divide, or only being able to divide even numbers, or not being able to count past 50.

Be aware that dogs have an 85% success rate in alerting and typically do so around the 6th or 7th week of training. So many variables can come into play when a dog begins training – health, temperament, owner’s commitment to training, owner’s abilities, or history of punitive training methods – that can thwart a dog’s success. Be forewarned – anyone who claims they have a 100% success rate either hasn’t had enough dogs through the program, or they are lying.

“I am so thankful that I was able to listen today! i’m sure you’ve saved me from trying to do too much too soon. I am very, very interested in learning more about the Diabetic Alert Dog University online!”

We are in the process of launching an entirely online positive reinforcement diabetic alert dog training program called Diabetic Alert Dog University.
The online program will allow persons from anywhere to download weekly 20 minute training sessions, and teach how to create an improvisational diabetic alert dog. Visit www.diabeticalertdoguniversity.com today, or call the Service Dog Academy at 206-355-9033 for more information on this groundbreaking new program from the Northwest’s best pet and service dog training school.

An Improvisational Dog Story

Things were getting fuzzy for Judith at the grocery store. Her 2-year old Golden Retriever, Citka, was jumping on her, mouthing her arm, trying to pull her off the electric cart (she is safer on the floor when things get this way), and a saleswoman nearby was very upset, thinking this was a badly-behaving service dog. But there wasn’t anything wrong with Citka, he was doing his job by doing everything in his power to tell Judith there was something wrong. Judith is hypoglycemic, her blood sugar was dropping rapidly, and amidst the commotion from the 80-pound dog and the saleswoman’s disapproval, Judith’s friend quickly gave her a glucose shot which started to correct her blood sugar. By the time the ambulance came, Citka was calm – laying down next to Judith’s electric cart like nothing had happened.

“It was like a key being turned off. [he was like] okay, i did my job.”

Citka is Judith’s diabetic alert dog, and using the Service Dog Academy‘s positive reinforcement training methods, he has become more than a “thinking dog,” but an improvisational dog – coming up with creative ways of alerting Judith to unexpected drops in blood sugar, and stopping at nothing until she does something about it. One of our first diabetic alert 101 class graduates, Judith has been a champion of our groundbreaking train-your-own diabetic alert dog program and is always eager to tell us about the latest crazy thing Citka has done. Not giving up is his job, and while sometimes it may seem disruptive or “knuckleheaded,” the improvisational dog is designed to save lives.

Citka is trained to alert Judith to several medical situations, by pawing at her, bumping her with his nose, licking her face, retrieving her meter, and getting help using methods recognized by the American Diabetes Association – but those are just a small portion of what he has done to save her life. At a recent visit to JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Port Orchard, Washington, her blood sugar started to drop, and Citka bumped her leg while she was heading to the cutting counter. She ignored his alert – and continued to the cutting counter. Not taking no for an answer, Citka jumped up onto the counter. If her can’t get Judith’s attention he will get someone else’s, so he bumped the woman at the counter with his nose. This was serious – and Judith knew if she didn’t do anything to correct her blood sugar, Citka would persist. An employee who is familiar with the duo ran over and brought her a candy bar. The second Judith put the candy in her mouth, Citka jumped off the counter and sat by her side. “He’ll sit and watch me putting food in my mouth, and wont touch his treat until he sees food go in my mouth.” She adds, “[I ]didn’t teach him these things.”

In addition to alerting, Citka is trained to get juice out of the refrigerator, or candy from a candy bowl on her kitchen counter. However, during diabetic alert 101 at Service Dog Academy, he began nosing through her bag, only to emerge with a meter in his mouth, and started prancing around her – a clear signal to test her blood sugar, and although she was in normal range at the time, her blood sugar was beginning to drop.

Citka is also trained to get help when she asks him to, and has adapted that training to getting help when she ignores him. He will go to her husband, George, and pull on his shirtsleeve until he goes to her, in which case George will plead with her to test her blood sugar because “this dog is driving me nuts.”

One afternoon Judith decided to test how far Citka will go in getting help. He bumped her, letting her know she was going low, and she pushed him away. He left the room, and came back with her meter. She tested herself, and at 105, she waited. Citka pawed her, then put his mouth around her wrist and tried to pull her out of her chair. She pushed him away, and he left through the dog door. Just a short time later, Citka returned with George who was outside chopping and sawing wood with a chainsaw. Citka had to prance in front of him to get his attention. When he put down the chainsaw, Citka grabbed his shirt by the mouth and started tugging.

It is phenomenal how a reliable a well-trained, diabetic alert service dog will alert even in the middle of the night. In addition to Mary McNeight’s training, Citka learned “trial by fire,” Judith recalls. One evening she took her medication as usual, and tested her blood sugar before bed. The problem with the medication she had just taken was that it would cause her blood sugar to run false highs. Deep into sleep, with her former service dog, Maxine, and Citka sleeping nearby, her blood sugar crashed. The dogs woke up her husband, and pushed the alert button on the phone to notify the paramedics. Judith was in a 10-minute window and a blood glucose level of 26. Since then, it isn’t uncommon for Judith to wake up to Citka digging her out of her covers when her blood sugar begins to drop below 90.

Judith and Citka’s story is a great example of how The Service Dog Academy’s train your own diabetic alert dog program for hypoglycemia, type 1, and type 2 diabetes creates an “improvisational dog,” perceptive and ready to adapt to the situation. Citka has certainly demonstrated – much to Judith’s chagrin – that philosophy. “Mary has created a monster,” Judith says, referring to the antics and persistent alerting behavior from her service dog, but without Citka’s improvising and attention seeking antics, Judith says, “I would not be here today.”

In addition to Diabetic Alert Dog 101, the West Seattle dog training studio headed by professionally certified dog trainer, Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA also teaches adult dog and puppy obedience classes which help fund our low-cost service dog training program for people with disabilities. See what some of our other students from Service Dog Academy’s affordable train-your-own diabetic alert dog classes have to say about this unique program from the northwest’s best dog training school.

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.”

    Diabetic Alert Program Featured On Komo News and At American Diabetes Association Camp


    Our hero Ian Sterling from Komo News Radio

    A trip to The Museum of Flight to check out the B-17 Bomber, Aluminum Overcast, turned fruitful for Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS and for KOMO Newsradio. The local news was at the museum, covering the unveiling of the bomber for its limited engagement at the museum. After talking with Mary, Ian Sterling, reporter for Komo Newsradio, became interested in The Service Dog Academy’s Diabetic Alert program and the groundbreaking training programs she offers at her dog training school. Sterling recently caught up with Mary and Liame at the West Seattle Dog Training Studio and Mary had the opportunity to share with the Seattle area her groundbreaking program in diabetic alert, utilizing a dog’s powerful scent receptors to help monitor blood sugar, and her innovative training with a dog to alert and assist with narcolepsy. You can view the transcribed interview on Komo’s West Seattle Community Pet Website or listen to the interview here:

    ServiceDogs-IS-Wrap1

    Additionally The Service Dog Academy also had a chance to share more intimately with the diabetic community at the American Diabetes Association’s family weekend at Camp Berachah in Auburn on June 4th. Mary’s presentation “Turning Fido from Family Pet to Diabetes Detecting Device,” was well-received by both the kids and parents at the retreat, where she demonstrated the game “101 things to do with a box” and explained the way a dog can alert to biochemical changes in the body – and specifically for the purpose of the audience – your blood sugar going high or low. The presentation was so well received and produced so many questions that we forgot what time it was and almost made our guests late for their next camp event!

    It was a lovely day to be outside manning The Service Dog Academy’s table at the diabetic children’s camp vendor fair later that day, just hours after the presentation. One of Mary’s recent graduates of the diabetic alert dog program, Citka, his owner, Judith, and I hung out, answered questions, and shared stories with the families that came to our table. Although the fair was only slated to run from 3:00-4:30, we stayed nearly an hour after the other vendors had packed up talking with people, answering questions, and showing off everything Citka has learned in the 8 week program. After he had alerted one girl for being low, she checked her meter and the pooch had done it again, he was right! We then had kids and parents coming to us to test their blood sugar with Citka’s amazing nose. The camp and vendor fair at the beautiful Camp Berachah was a ton of fun, and we are extremely honored to have been invited to be a part of it and further share the diabetic alert dog program and service dog training with both type one and type two diabetics from all over the Pacific Northwest!

    If you would like help our groundbreaking train your own service dog program to continue, please consider donating to our program

















































































    or by training your pet dog here at the Service Dog Academy. Our Seattle dog training classes are small and provide you with the same techniques we use to help train our remarkably well behaved service dogs.

    Staff Member Enrolls in Basic Obedience, Loves It!

    Operations Manager Carrie Rubens‘ Dog Rondo

    As The Service Dog Academy’s operations manager, I spent a good amount of time helping Mary prepare for her classes, stuffing Kongs, getting future students enrolled in the classes, and championing her successful positive reinforcement dog training program. At the end of the day, as staff member at a dog training school / studio, it became apparent that I needed a well-behaved dog to complete the package!

    I adopted my dog, Rondo, from a shelter only a month prior to our first class. I knew very little about the 4-year-old Manchester Terrier and being a first-time dog owner, when Mary said she had an opening in her Seattle adult dog obedience class, i jumped all over it to refine Rondo’s already good behavior, increase our bond, and teach him a few new skills.

    On the first day of class, there was a lot of anxiety in the room. Between the other dogs in class who were new to each other, and wanted to sniff each other out but had to resist, and me wondering how my dog would handle the entire situation. Learning new things right away, you could see the wheels turning in dog’s heads. In just the one-hour long class there was a new energy in the room. Smarter, calmer, happier dogs, and week after week you could see the the amazing advances in each and every student. Blazer, a beautiful, but vocal Labradoodle desperately wanted to play with Rondo on the first day of class, and by graduation day he could sit calmly near Rondo. I watched the energetic dog go from lunging for treats during the loose leash walking exercise, to calmly walking over to them letting his owner control the pace only a few tries later using Mary’s techniques.

    Rondo and I took a 40 minute bus ride to our weekly class, and it was almost heartbreaking to see how anxious he was that first day, but each time we rode from downtown to west seattle he grew calmer and calmer, knowing that we would have an exciting fun-filled class ahead of us and utilizing Mary’s methods. By graduation time, random strangers on the bus were complimenting us on his behavior, and his apparent attentiveness to me despite all the distractions that come from riding a city bus.

    Adopting an adult dog might come with its challenges, not knowing the details of this dog’s history, but the payoff is huge, and training with Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS at the Service Dog Academy made a huge difference. Mary used relatable, real-world examples, the training encourages thinking dogs, and for me and my do-it-yourself attitude, it created a thinking dog owner as well! Although the course was 4-weeks long, the skills we learned will last a lifetime, and after only two months of ownership our bond gets stronger every day.

    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.