As the holidays wrap up, it's a great time to reflect on your 2018 and resolve to do better in 2019. Here are ten simple steps that will help you and your Service Dog become a better team. Happy New Year! 2019 Service Dog Goals: Check Your Gear Is your Service Dog gear clean, serviceable and still relevant to your needs? Now is a great time to sit in a warm house and clean gear, spruce up those leather harnesses with some saddle soap, and make sure that that really nice backpack doesn't chafe your partner's underarms. Check the fit of collars, boots, coats, and other working gear. Make sure ID tags are up to date. Since you're probably working on taxes or your budget for the coming year - now's a good time to consider if you'll need to replace or upgrade any gear in the coming year. 2019 Service Dog Goals: Make a Service Dog Binder This is more important than it sounds. Include things like a current vaccination record, microchip information. AKC, breeder, trainer, or even rescue information could be included also. A list of all of the tasks your dog performs for you, and a list of all of the commands and behaviors that your dog has mastered could be included too. Other ideas include a current series of photos that show your dog both dressed and from the front and side, in case you ever need them. There are lots of ideas, these are just a few. 2019 Service Dog Goals: Do a Service Dog Skills Check It's a good idea to evaluate your partner's skill set multiple times per year, but a large scale audit is good at least once per year. This is a good time to see if you need to focus your training anywhere specific, or to simply update your list of what your dog knows. Getting video is a good idea too. 2019 Service Dog Goals: Update Your Service Dog's Task and Behavior List Now is a good time to update their Task/Behavior list. Cell phones make it so easy to get good quality video these days too. It's a really great way to log that your dog can demonstrate a skill when needed, just mak sure that there is sufficient lighting and the behavior is visible with minimal cues and distractions. Storing these files on a USB Drive or even a SD Card makes life a lot
The holidays offer ample opportunity to curl up with your Service Dog and catch up on some reading. One of the books on our reading list this year is A Lowcountry Christmas by New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe. This Christmas novel features Service Dogs, a Veteran with PTSD, a family in need of help, and tons of feel-good moments perfect for the season. Learn more about A Lowcountry Christmas during our interview with Mary Alice Monroe. A Lowcountry Christmas Service Dog Book Overview From the inside of the book's cover jacket: As far as ten-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it's the worst Christmas ever. His father's shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can't afford the dog he desperately wants. "Your brother's return from war is our family's gift," his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, family strains darken the holidays. Heartbreak and financial stress threaten to destroy the spirit of the season until the miraculous gift of a service dog leads Taylor, his family, and their community on a healing journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Interview With A Lowcountry Christmas Author, Mary Alice Monroe AP: What inspired you to write a novel centered around Service Dogs? M: When I was volunteering at the Dolphin Research Center in Florida I worked with Wounded Vets. One of them had a Service Dog. He told me how much the dog meant to him and how it woke him from his nightmares. “I love my wife, but I need my dog.” You can bet that line got into the book! One day his Service Dog, a black Lab, walked up to the edge of the dock while a curious dolphin kept bobbing up to look at him. The dog walked closer and closer and finally, they touched each other! It was a tender moment. As a result of that fond memory, I tried to emphasize the bond between a Service Dog and Veteran. AP: What has been your experience with Service Dogs? You mentioned Pets for Vets in the book. Is that an organization you have been involved with? What is unique about their approach in terms of partnering veterans with Service Dogs? M: As I wrote above, I worked with Service Dogs through the Wounded Warrior program. In South Carolina, I researched Service Dog programs in my area and discovered Pets for
In the United States, every Service Dog handler enjoys the right to travel with their Service Dog. However, finding straightforward information about airline policies and requirements, international laws, TSA regulations, security checkpoints, and other commonly encountered situations isn't easy! To help you prepare you for your trip, we've compiled Service Dog travel tips, tricks, hacks, guidelines, and resources.
For your pet, service dog or working dog that has been good all year, treat them with these 10 great gift ideas for a pawsitvely happy holiday! 1.The Limited Edition Grinch Bark Box Bark Box is a subscription service that offers monthly curated collections of all the things dogs love. Delivered directly to your home, each box includes two toys, two bags of all natural treats and a chew. This holiday season they have come out with a Grinch-themed box that is sure to provide your service dog with lots of Christmas cheer. An added plus is that all the treats are made in either the United States or Canada, so you can feel good about supporting businesses close to home. 2. Thermo-Snuggly Sleeper From K & H Pet Products comes the Thermo Snuggly Sleeper. Designed to help soothe the muscles of busy dogs, this bed is tested for safety to exceed USA and Canada safety standards. It warms to your service dog's normal body temperature when in use and uses only 6 watts of power for efficiency. Another plus of this bed is that you can remove the heater and wash the entire cover. 3. Matching Christmas Sweaters Your Service Dog is one of the family, so why not get matching Christmas sweaters? Blueberry Pet has an assortment of sweaters perfect for both you and your service dog. Tip: Get the family all dressed up and snap a photo for your holiday card. 4. Friendship Collar Staying on the theme of matching, FriendshipCollar sells matching collars and bracelets for you and your Service Dog. As a plus, with every sale FriendshipCollar will donate food to shelters across the USA. Tip: Use code SANTAPAWS to enjoy 20% off. 5. Dog Bowl Water Bottle Keep your service dog hydrated on the go with this cool Dog Bowl Water Bottle from Uncommon Goods. Made in the USA, this leak-proof water bottle bottle features an attached bowl that makes it easy for your dog to drink. The excess water also drains back into the bottle to reduce waste. An adjustable velcro strap makes it easy to attach to your backpack, belt or wrist and fits into any standard size car cup holder. A well thought out and practical gift! 6. Harry Barker Dog Spa Day Gift Set This gift made Oprah's Favorite Things list this year and made ours as well. The Harry Barker Dog Spa Day Gift Set comes with a bottle of 2:1 Shea