Service dogs are more than just highly trained companions; they are the unwavering support that individuals with disabilities rely on. However, these remarkable animals, like all dogs, can experience discomfort in certain situations. As responsible handlers, it's essential to listen to your service dog and understand their cues. In this article, we'll guide you through recognizing signs of discomfort in your service dog and how to respond appropriately, ensuring a positive experience for both you and your furry companion. Plus, we'll emphasize the significance of adhering to Service Dog Standards, ensuring the best care for your service dog. Listening to Your Dog: How to Tell If Your Service Dog Is Uncomfortable Dogs communicate primarily through body language, and keen observation can provide insights into their emotional state. Here are some signs that your service dog might be uncomfortable: 1. Freezing or Stiffening: If your service dog suddenly becomes still or stiff, it could indicate that they are unsure or uncomfortable with their current surroundings. 2. Avoidance Behavior: If your dog is avoiding eye contact, turning away, or trying to move away from a person or situation, it might be a sign of discomfort. 3. Excessive Panting or Drooling: These physical cues can indicate stress or anxiety in your service dog. 4. Whining, Growling, or Barking: Vocalizations can be a clear sign of your dog's unease. Whining, growling, or barking might be their way of expressing discomfort. 5. Licking Lips or Yawning: Dogs use these calming signals to communicate their stress or unease. Responding Appropriately: What Should You Do? 1. Observe and Assess: Pay attention to your service dog's body language and the context of the situation. Determine what might be causing their discomfort. 2. Remove Them from the Situation: If possible, remove your service dog from the situation causing their discomfort. Create a safe space where they can relax. 3. Offer Positive Reinforcement: Encourage your dog with soothing words, treats, or gentle petting when they exhibit calm behavior in challenging situations. 4. Respect Their Comfort Zone: Just like people, dogs have preferences and limits. Respect their boundaries and avoid pushing them into situations that cause them stress. 5. Training and Exposure: Gradual exposure to different environments and situations can help desensitize your service dog. Make sure this exposure is positive and at their own pace. Upholding Service Dog Standards: Building a Strong Partnership Service dogs are more than pets; they're dedicated working partners. Adhering to Service Dog Standards is key to our partnership's success. These
New Years is a time for reflection and resolutions Most people think about the usual things: losing weight, learning to live in the moment, etc. but our mission is to encourage disabled individuals who use Service Dogs to leave nothing but an excellent impression. Here are 10 ways to be a better Service Dog team in the coming year. 1) Be polite and make an effort to educate others if you can If you've been partnered with a Service Dog long enough, chances are excellent that you will have run into an access challenge, someone who is rude, secretly (or openly) jealous that you have your dog with you — or just behaves awkwardly toward you or your canine partner. Perhaps they'll ask invasive questions. If you have an invisible disability, they may wonder aloud why "you don't look disabled" or even openly confront you. Chances are they have never met a Service Dog team before. It's possible that they have an image in their mind of what a disabled person with a Service Dog should look like. While having a Service Dog does not also require you to take on the role of Public Educator (and nor does everyone have time, especially when you're tired of being confronted the third time in one day) it's important to leave an excellent impression. Remember, it takes only moment to leave an excellent impression — or to do the opposite. Always remember that you only get one shot at making a first impression. Be aware that your impression upon others, again likely being their first and only interaction with a team, can directly affect your rights later. The impression you leave with the public can directly impact your rights as a team, as well as the treatment you and other Service Dog teams receive in the future from both people on the street and businesses alike. Going further, the impression you leave can directly or indirectly affect change on the laws that govern you in your state or even at a federal level. Be kind, be courteous, and treat others as you want to be treated. You may be in a rush, but the decision to partner with a Service Dog comes with responsibilities, so you should always strive to be a better Service Dog team than you were yesterday, last month or last year. You just want to get out of the store, but taking one
Brace and Mobility Support Dogs are a type of Service Dog trained to provide their disabled handler with assistance moving from place to place. This invaluable service is matched only by these dogs’ ability to also help with other chores and tasks, like opening doors or retrieving dropped items. Due to the unique nature of their work, though, Brace and Mobility Support Dogs have special needs. Read on to learn more!
In early 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOT) updated Service Dog travel rules for Service Dog travel by air. In a nutshell, the new DOT Service Dog rules ban Emotional Support Animals on planes and require all Service Dog handlers to fill out two forms at least 48 hours prior to traveling. One of the new DOT Service Animal forms concerns training and behavior and the other health and wellness. For dogs joining their partner on flights longer than 8 hours, an elimination habits form will also be required. The new updates also change the definition of "Service Animal," for the purposes of flying, to include only dogs. No other species of animal, including miniature horses, will be recognized. Ideally, the new DOT rules will ensure dogs traveling in the passenger compartment of the plane are well-behaved and trained for public access. While there's a little more work required on the part of Service Dog handlers prior to flying, overall, the new process is more streamlined. All airlines will utilize the standardized DOT forms. Owner-trained teams, teams which trained under an individual trainer or organization are all treated the same Owner-trainers (people who have trained their own dog), those who have worked with a private trainer or organization-trained dogs will utilize the same form. The forms do require the name of a trainer, however if you've trained your dog yourself or if you no longer have contact with the trainer who originally worked with you (which is extremely common) you may use your own name or that of another trainer as long as you and your animal can meet Service Dog Standards. Some airlines, like American Airlines, allow electronic submission of the forms, whereas others require the forms to be emailed or brought to the desk. Copies of the 2021 Service Dog travel forms can be downloaded here. The new updates also address and standardize a few other common Service Dog travel concerns. Per the DOT, the 2021 Service Animal Final Rule: Defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained by an owner-trainer, individual trainer or training organization to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability; No longer considers an emotional support animal to be a service animal; Requires airlines to treat psychiatric service animals the same as other service animals; Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal’s
If you partnered with a service dog, one of your concerns likely involves what would happen should you encounter an off-leash or out-of-control dog. Most of the time the other dogs you encounter are generally well-behaved. However, there's always a risk that another dog could distract your canine partner from doing their job — or worse. But what happens if a dog bites you or your dog? Here are seven things you need to know about dog bites. 1. All dogs need to be socialized Of course, an extremely important key to reducing incidents is training, specifically exhaustive socialization with your dog. The more situations your dog is exposed to the better and safer they will perform. That being said, accidents do happen. 2. Evaluate the dog bite and the seriousness of the incident Fortunately, most dog are not serious. However, if blood is drawn it's important to get appropriate medical attention quickly in order to avoid infection which lead to complications later. If a dog bites you, take these steps right away: Wash the wound. Use mild soap, and run warm tap water over it for five to 10 minutes. Slow the bleeding with a clean cloth. Apply over-the counter antibiotic cream if you have it. Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage. Keep the wound bandaged and see your doctor. Change the bandage several times a day once your doctor has examined the wound. Watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, increased pain and fever. Depending on the situation, you may also want to collect the information from owner of the dog who bit and witness information if applicable. Don’t forget to collect the dog owner’s insurance details too. Photos of any injuries and other documentation may prove helpful in the future. 3. You may be entitled to dog bite compensation Depending on the severity of the incident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages due to the injuries sustained, and the pain and suffering you underwent. Hire a dog bite lawyer in Oklahoma City or a city near you to help with your compensation case. 4. Understand about liability Every dog owner is strictly liable for any bites if they knew or ought to have known of the dog's vicious or dangerous nature as experienced in past occurrences. The burden of proof lies with the victim as it's their responsibility to prove that the dog owner knew or should have known of the dog's
Rules exist for a reason and when it comes to service dogs and service dog law, some have come to view them more as "guidelines." Whether it's someone who wishes they could take their dog everywhere or those who deny access to properly trained service dog teams, both groups harm the service dog and disabled community as a whole. Most people love their dogs, and usually, when someone tells a service dog team they meet in public that they'd like to know how to make their dog a service dog, their likely intent isn't malicious or meant to be hurtful. Nonetheless, it's a poorly thought-out aspiration. It's similar to saying, "no offense," before insulting someone. This issue is far more complex than it seems on the surface, especially when it comes to able-bodied people who actually carry out their wishes by faking service dog status with their pets. Read on to learn more about what you're insinuating by wishing for a Service Dog if you're not disabled, how masquerading pets as Service Dogs is not only extremely disrespectful, but also harmful, and some important points to consider about service dog partnership and the service dog community. Service Dog Handlers Are, By Definition, Disabled First, per U.S. federal law and the ADA, Service dog handlers must be disabled. Service Dogs perform tasks that their disabled owners would otherwise have difficulty completing on their own. If you do not have a disability, then you do not qualify for a service dog. Period. End of story. Full stop. There are no exceptions. By expressing a desire for a service dog, you're also wishing for the accompanying disability. For a disabled person, hearing an able-bodied person openly wish for a disability (even if you don't actually say those words) is deeply hurtful. It suggests you don't take them or their disability seriously and furthermore, it makes light of the thousands of hours of training and socialization their partner has undergone to perform his job. From time to time, when disabled service dog handlers or service dog trainers are out in public, they're approached by someone with a wistful look and a story about how their dog would be "just perfect!" for service dog work. They wish they could take their dog everywhere, too, but there's one problem: they don't understand that the right to be accompanied by a fully-trained service dog comes with a cascading pile of problems
What happens if you die? Who will take care of your pet or Service Dog? Nobody wants to think about their own death. Creating a plan for your animals can make the transition easier on your animals and those around you. Do you have a plan in case you become physically unable to care for them — or worse?
With another year nearly behind us, it's time to start looking forward to the new year. The question is simple: how can we better ourselves as Service Dog handlers, owners, trainers, puppy raisers? Setting Service Dog training goals offers an easy place to begin. Good goals provide a concrete endpoint so you know when you've succeeded. They give you a way to focus your efforts and work efficiently and productively towards what you want. Knowing how to set goals can be tricky, though! Many experts recommend utilizing the SMART goals system. SMART goals are: Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-based Basically, SMART goals consist of concrete steps you take within a certain time period to achieve something specific that's quantifiable. An example of a SMART goal for dog training would be "Obtain my Service Dog's Canine Good Citizen certification by Valentine's Day." An example of a goal that does not adhere to the SMART protocol is "Train my Service Dog more." More than what? What counts as training? Does a single repetition of sit-down-stand count, or does it have to be several minutes to matter? Now, if you said, "I'd like to do 90 seconds of obedience training twice per day at least 4 days a week," now you're talking! Goals like that allow you to know whether or not you've achieved them -- there's no guessing and thusly, less stress. It's important to keep the "achievable" part of the SMART goals process in mind. Set goals you can feasibly reach so that you can succeed. When you've achieved the first set of goals, set new ones. It's far easier to start a habit of training for 3 minutes a day than it is for 30 minutes twice per day! Be kind to yourself, your dog, and your capabilities. Step One: Decide What You Want Your Goals to Be Before you can set goals, you need to know what you want to work on. Ideally, your goals involve behaviors or skills you'd like to build or improve in your dog or in your handling. Not all goals have to directly involve training your dog. Maybe you'd like to read a chapter per week of a book on canine behavior or maybe you'd like to take an online course on canine massage. By all means, though, set goals for direct interactions with your dog, too! Consider including goals for exercise and enrichment, too. Chances are both you
Halloween 2013 is tomorrow and with it comes fall festivals, parties and trick-or-treating. While Halloween events are fun and exciting for the entire family, this most spooky of nights also carries many dangers, particularly for four-legged pack members. Before heading out to celebrate Halloween 2013, review our list of precautions to learn how to keep you and your Service Dog safe and your night of frights as trouble-free as possible.
Puppies need exercise and activity. However, growing puppies, especially large breed puppies, should avoid heavy, jarring activities or exercise including lots of twisting and turning. Too much jumping and turning can injure growing bones. In order to preserve your puppy's joint health and structure, avoid these 5 activities. Running on Hard Surfaces Repetitive impact on hard surfaces, like running, can jam a puppy's long bones and prevent proper joint development. While puppies often enjoy wrestling and zooming about, such activities should be age-appropriate and kept to softer surfaces, like grass. Puppies naturally run and shouldn't be limited. However, they shouldn't be forced to run or walk long distances. Jumping Jumping results in huge amounts of force being distributed across growing joints. Young puppies should keep four on the floor as much as possible. Injuries to knees, ankles, hips, or shoulders can result in malformation or lasting issues later in life. "Jumping" includes things like jumping out of the car, off the couch, or in agility training. Frisbee Frisbee involves lots of running, jumping, twisting, leaping, and hard landings, often while in a hyper excited state. As such, full-on disc play should be avoided until growth plate closure can be confirmed. if you'd like to introduce your puppy to frisbee, learn to throw rollers along the ground for them. Treadmilling Treadmilling is the epitome of repetitive activity. It also forces the puppy or dog into a fixed gait or movement pattern. Puppies should avoid treadmilling outside of some very light introductions to moving surfaces. Forced exercise does nothing good for puppies, especially not for their growth and joint health. Walking on Slippery Surfaces Slippery surfaces can cause puppies to splay out, slide, or land in puddled heaps while running. While adorable, this activity isn't safe for developing joints. If you have hardwood or tile floors, consider putting down runners or rugs.