Posts Tagged ‘puppy school’

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.

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.

Featured Presenter at Seattle Diabetes Expo

It was standing room only at Mary McNeight’s stage at the American Diabetes Expo. Mary and her lovely assistant Liame demonstrated to the diabetic community the amazing power of a dog’s nose to alert to changes in blood sugar, and her groundbreaking Diabetic Alert dog training classes in a presentation titled “Turning Fido from Family Pet to Diabetes Detector” at the expo on April 30th sponsored by the American Diabetes Association in the beautiful Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. Because of her groundbreaking work with diabetic alert dogs at The Service Dog Academy, Mary McNeight CPDT-KA, CCS was invited to present among a variety of acclaimed and talented diabetes experts.

As nerve-wracking as it was to speak in front of a full house at the breakout session stage, Mary pulled off an energetic and inspiring speech about the importance of positive reinforcement, her training philosophy, and the immaculate precision of a diabetic alert dog’s scenting abilities!

The free event drew a large turnout, and the staff and volunteers at The Service Dog Academy had a great time meeting with all kinds of people who have or knows someone who has type I, type II diabetes, or hypoglycemia. All day at the booth, we had crowds up to four people deep with questions about our program. The public interest was exhilarating, and we got to hear inspiring stories people shared. One owner shared her story of how her dachshund begun to react to changes in her blood sugar without formal training, another told us of her Golden Retriever who only after 2 classes with Mary alerted his owner to a low of 26 (and in a 10 minute window of a coma) while she was asleep!

Having recently obtained official CPDT-KA certification, Mary was honored to be among the talented and acclaimed guest speakers at the event and the varieties of presentations that included cooking demonstrations, medical issue awareness, and even an appearance by “Biggest Loser” winner Matt Hoover. Overall, the 2011 American diabetes Association Expo was a fun and enlightening experience! and we look forward to more events like this in the future! In the meantime, Mary will continue to teach pet and service dog classes at her West Seattle training studio, and gearing up for another round of Diabetic Alert classes that will begin on May 21st!

We Have Been Nationally Recognized!

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

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

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

Diabetic Alert Dog Training Class Starting April 7th

The Service Dog Academy to Hold Puget Sounds First Diabetic Alert Dog Training Class

A Diabetic Alert Dog Training Student Posing in front of our award from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Contest for Train Your Dog Month

West Seattle, March 7, 2011—The Service Dog Academy, located in West Seattle, will be teaching the Puget Sounds groundbreaking train your own Diabetic Alert Dog training class starting April 7th at 7:30PM. The revolutionary class will teach students to train their dogs to alert to low blood sugars, retrieve sugary drinks to correct blood sugar imbalances and to get human help when needed. This class is intended for both pet dogs and dogs training for service work.

Service Dog Academy’s owner, Mary McNeight, understands the devastating effect diabetes can have on ones entire life. Her grandmother suffered from diabetes when she was a small child and her father is living with the consequences of poor management of the condition due to memory problems. She knew that, thanks to genetics, she would eventually develop the condition. She decided that she didn’t want to suffer the same fate as her family members so she set off to educate herself on how to train her own diabetic alert dog, dogs typically used for people with type 1 diabetes only.

“Up until recently Type 2 diabetics have been unable to get a diabetic alert dog. With Type 2 diabetes at epidemic proportions and the cost of a trained diabetic alert dog running upwards of $20,000” said Mary, “I didn’t think it fair that only the super rich Type 1 diabetics were able to afford help in managing their condition.”

Using their incredibly powerful noses, a properly trained diabetic alert dog can alert to changes in blood sugar 10 minutes before a meter can detect it. This means diabetics no longer suffer the devastating consequences of prolonged highs or coma inducing lows. Blood sugar control becomes tighter and results in dramatically improved health.

The Service Dog Academy’s groundbreaking class is only $650 and is for dogs 4 months and older. Dogs only need basic obedience commands to enroll in the class. Students can register for the class online at http://www.servicedogacademy.com

“Thanks to this program” Mary said, “now anyone with a well behaved dog can benefit from the use of a diabetic alert dog to better control their diabetes.”

Mary McNeight, BGS, CCS is available for interviews to discuss the training of diabetic alert dogs, service dogs and her highly innovative dog training school located in West Seattle.

Mary would also be willing to discuss how her dog Liame, a yellow lab, originally trained for diabetic alert due to Mary’s interest in it, inadvertently after several months of no training started alerting Mary to low blood sugar issues she has been having over the last month. Mary has not been diagnosed as a diabetic but found out that one of the medications she had been taking ended up having an unexpected side effect lowering her blood sugar.

Service Dog Academy was founded to train pet dogs as well as service dogs. They offer a variety of classes at their West Seattle location and are also available for private appointments. The proceeds from the pet training classes help subsidize their low cost service dog training program. Although the company is not a non profit, they operate as such by funneling their profits into those that cannot afford their services. Their certified trainer is committed to helping you and your pet build an exceptional relationship. For more information or to sign up for classes, please visit www.servicedogacademy.com.

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Contact
Mary McNeight, BGS, CCS
Service Dog Academy, LLC
206-355-9033
mary@servicedogacademy.com

We Have A New Studio – Adult Dog & Puppy Training

Liame would really like it if you could bring your PET dogs and puppies to our classes so that we can help more people with disabilities lead more independent lives through the use of a task trained service dog.

We are excited to announce that just in time for Christmas puppy season we have opened a brand new state of the art dog training studio in downtown beautiful West Seattle! We will be holding all of our dog and puppy training classes as well as our one on one private dog training sessions in this amazing space. Our new studio is located at:

6040 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98136

We will also be selling all the supplies you need for your dog training class including gourmet treats, easy walking harness, work to eat puzzles like the Kong and yummy high value rewards like bully sticks and knuckle bones.

For driving directions to our new studio, see the map below.


View Larger Map

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.