Posts Tagged ‘west seattle puppy training’

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article as featured on Premier’s blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Counterconditioning your Puppy

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

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

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

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

 

Lesson Learned From Puppy Classes

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

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

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

 

Desensitization Dog Training Techniques Learned in Puppy Class

 

Our Seattle Positive Reinforcement Puppy Classes Can Make Your Puppy Calm

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Support Disabled While Training Your Pet Puppy With Us

SeattlePuppyTrainingClasses

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.

Free Medical Alert Dog Training Advice – Youtube Videos

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