In the past I have posted videos of dogs we had in for our Custom Training. Here is one of those videos:
Along with our Custom Service Dog Training, we offer a program referred to as T.E.A.C.H. (Train & Educate A Canine Helper.) It’s a professionally guided – owner trained course. The dog remains with its owner the entire training duration. The owner-handler attends three weekends of instruction separated by several weeks when s/he works at home with the dog both on the tasks that the dog will perform to mitigate the handler’s disability as well as social compliance / high standard obedience which allows the dog and handler team to negotiate public places without being a nuisance to others. On the final day of the last weekend, we offer the Public Access Test. It demonstrates that the handler-dog team meet the ADA’s standards when they move through public places.
This past weekend, we held the final weekend of our Summer T.E.A.C.H. course. Below are a couple of videos of Nick (a disabled veteran) and his dog Skipper, who attended the class. Skipper has been trained to alert to and interrupt Nick’s episodes/ medical events.
The first two videos are a demonstration of off-leash heeling and the “leash drop” exercise of our Public Access Test.
This next video is the “dropped food” distraction which is part of the overall Restaurant Visit exercise. A “helper” (Robert, my husband, who was conducting the Public Access Test) drops food near close to Skipper after Nick commanded him to remain in a down position. The dog must not trigger on the food. Skipper is a small dog and can be more concerned about falling objects than a larger dog. Nick has done a great job training Skipper to have the confidence required of a Service Dog, despite his small stature. Nick’s medical events typically happen when he is sleeping. When Skipper interrupts Nick’s episodes, he climbs on Nick’s chest and licks his face. Skipper’s size is very advantageous, in this regard.
Along with the Restaurant visit, there are many elements to the Public Access Test, including negotiating through a department store, moving through a busy parking lot, working outdoors in a park-like setting (including any distractions like squirrels, kids on bikes, strollers, joggers, other dogs etc…), acting mannerly when a friendly stranger meets and pets the dog, and loading and unloading safely from a vehicle. Nick and Skipper passed their Public Access Test with flying colors!
Good Job, Nick and Skipper!