Posts Tagged ‘service dog tips’

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.

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.

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.

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.”

    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!

    Firecrackers And The 4th Of July

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    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.