How I Trained My Pet Dog to Be My Service Dog

Hello guys it’s Caitlin your favorite service dog trainer! I came across this story in my inbox this morning. I love it! One because it’s accurate and two because it tells a really great story and a lot of people go through this. I see it all the time. So just to actually see this represented in a news story accurately kind of blows me away. Because all the other stories we go over usually are not accurate. They are interchanging a service dog with emotional support animal and therapy dog, and it’s just a hot mess. So let’s take some time let’s enjoy this together and watch their story.

My name is Beth Pratt and this is my service dog Windigo. She’s four years old and I got her when she was eight weeks old so I never intended for her to be a service dog she was just gonna be another one of my pets.

OK unless you guys right here, I get the story all the time all the time when people are coming up there they call me on the phone or they sent me an email or maybe they applied online to the program and this is the exact situation that most people find themselves in. They never expected to start needing a service dog or they’ve been rejected from so many organizations that they need to go ahead and pursue their own needs and take things into their own hands.

But plans change as they so often do because of health. Well I have a disability so it’s a neurological disability I have trouble with strength in my hands and I have trouble with stability. So balance issues and its progressive so we can do like this works.

So Pratt decided to get a service animal in her case a mobility dog.

Beth is crunched for time. Like a lot of people if you find yourself needing something to help you live your everyday life, especially if it’s a progressive degenerative disease. You can’t mess around. You have to take that power into your own hands so that you can get the help you need. Not be on a 5 year long waiting list to hopefully, maybe, get a dog in the next two years.

It would help her balance when walking, pick up her dropped cell phone, purse, or pill bottle, it could help preserve her independence.

All that being said though I do want to add in my 2 cents for my experience as a trainer because later on in this article they’ll be saying stuff about temperament of a dog. But people do the best with what they have and sometimes they can’t always get a dog that’s perfectly temperament tested. Or in the perfect most easy type of dog personality you can have as a service dog. People work with what they have.

Several organizations in Canada provide service animals for people with disabilities or mental health issues but when Pratt applied her plan was brought to heel. I sent in the form but then I got a letter back saying that they weren’t taking applications and that the waiting list was five years. So now they have such backlog that they won’t take application so who knows how long.

That’s gonna be for like so many things that backlog is largely due to the pandemic but there’s also an increased demand for service dogs as the list of service.

That’s the thing I’ve heard too I’ve heard other organizations are or they face struggles during the pandemic with socializing their puppies. I’m not sure how that’s played out with most organizations you know it certainly doesn’t stop dogs from breeding. But I wonder I wonder if it’s affected the quality of the dogs that they’ve been able to get out or applications or puppy raisers I don’t know. That would be really interesting to delve more into.

says they can provide keeps getting longer.

the dogs can do so many things with their seizure left dogs there’s dogs for people with diabetes that can sometimes detect blood sugar lows they do autism dogs which I’m very popular. hearing loss mental health issues. I mean there’s just so many opportunities that people can gain from having a service dog.

If you could afford it you can skip the waiting lists and by a trained service dog.

When Pratt price them she was quoted between 20 and $30,000 but there’s another way.

Well there’s a thing called owner transervice tags so it’s perfectly legal and you can train your own dog to be your service dog. now I don’t know too much about Canadian laws this is from a Canadian news website so I’m assuming this story is from Canada. I don’t know if we have any Canadians in the house but I definitely appreciate comments down below ’cause I’m always interested in learning more about service dog laws throughout throughout the world. so yeah it’s actually there’s no licensing body no certification required all you need is a note from your doctor the vest you can buy on Amazon. but to get a service dog to do the services takes a ton of training and the right temperament for the dog and the owner and then you look online and you look at books and you see what I have to say hold on so I I do both board and train puppies and helping owner trainers with their service stocks. right these are two different categories like they’re so polar opposite and so different from each other and let me tell you why because I currently have a board and train a puppy here with me right now. and he was I would say temperament tested ’cause it’s not quite a temperament test it’s better than a test temperament test. it’s a carrot test CARAT. so it’s a Suzanne clothier carrot test basically it’s very very informative for putting a dog into a job. not just service dog but for like bomb detection or police work or therapy work or just as a pet home or even picking a dog from a shelter. like it’s that comprehensive. so the difference between puppy raising a dog and that’s that’s my standard right if I’m gonna if I’m gonna puppy raise a dog I wanna give the people the best chance possible and have the best experience possible. so that I picked the right dog for the right job the right home for the right disability and there’s a lot of considerations that go into this so that’s one of the big differences between that and me helping somebody that just comes up to me and say hey I’ve been treating my dog for a year or two we’re struggling with XYZ. and the dog might be struggling with these issues because they’re not that perfect carrot profile right. but they can’t afford another dog or they just need help inside the house or they really just need to take their time and go past the normal two years for training to work on these little issues. that mean a lot.

so it’s it’s totally it’s two totally different worlds if you get the dog with the right temperament it’s in in many cases it’s easy breezy beautiful cover girl to train these dogs. at least just for me as a professional because again like I’m training a dog for boarding training versus I’m training the owner to train. this dog who might have some more difficult problem to work through as a team so there’s a lot of different factors and it’s just two polar opposite worlds it’s too poor opposite worlds.

when I joined a couple of Facebook groups of people who have service dogs and you can ask questions and see what other people have done once worked for them and you just work every single day at it highlight Asha how are you good good. to see you too there are so many people in pratt’s position that a new business has sprung up to service them. Natasha Pinsent is a longtime dog trainer who now trains people my business is about helping people train their own dogs to be served pause. here

I love I love how she prepared for the TV interview with the paw earrings.

that’s all stocks back in the day they were training for specific things like blindness even for veterans for PTSD. but now more and more there’s so many people suffering that the waiting lists are so long just to get somebody to train your dog for you. and then give it to you that so many people feel.

I also really like her business name signal service dogs that’s fantastic.

and without hope because it could be years before they even get on a list to talk to somebody about what they need. threatened windigos are taking classes with pitzen but pinson says most people who call her don’t actually need a service dog they need a therapy dog or emotional support animal.

which is true I’ve had a handful of people call they needing assert saying they need a service dog. or they wanna get this with the new deoti restrictions that we all know in the US has happened where you know small animals have to be in a carrier unless a service dog. and there’s now you have to pay to have your animal if like some people are looking to bypass paying that. and one of the big things that I tell them is well what looks like you’re trying what you need is an emotional support animal or what you have emotional support animal and or a therapy dog. and if you’re trying to bypass that fee which I already know they are I don’t have to ask them. I say oh I tell them how long it takes and how much it costs and they’re like oh yeah that’s not what I’m looking for. I’m like yeah so that’s not what you’re getting. it’s not what you’re getting. so that does occasionally happen and I have to like bring them down to reality be like yeah that’s not what we do here. I don’t just give you a paper and you can go fly for free with your dog and I don’t know how they would act. so yeah it’s interesting it’s interesting.

which the differences therapy dogs are kind of like if I’m stressed I’ll touch the dog and the dog will bring me comfort or I bring it to a place and it brings other people comfort a service dog has to perform a task. Pacific to the person so that’s what makes a service dog different for people who rely on service animals they’re a lifeline that keeps other important parts of life within reach we’re at the YMCA and we are about to go to a cyclefit spin class. I mean she housework in my balance until I get to the spin class she also helps him in the change room ’cause I can brace myself against her when I’m standing up or when I’m taking off my coat. but she’s really good. she usually stays in place rests and relaxes and watches what’s going on.

when people see Pratt with windego at the gym or the mall she hopes they respect her privacy and they are space. but she’s also happy to answer questions and help normalize service animals in public I find that I know people a little bit better ’cause people come and ask me about her and we get to talking. everyone seems to know my name and who I am.

I love this because it’s so true that in and of itself for some people can be a huge benefit. it can also be a huge drawback but it’s really amazing to see my clients practice the skill hone in on that skill and they get these I mean they get compliments from the strangers passing along the street and that builds them up. and it makes them feel like they know what they’re doing. and they’ll give again it gives them that confidence and makes them proud they have something to be proud about to that they have worked this hard to you know have this animal for them. and just to see the transformation and the change in the way they hold themselves and the way that they speak. I mean it’s I live for it’s so cool it’s so cool.

 ’cause my dog she also wants to help normalize the do-it-yourself path that she and windego have taken it’s not for everyone or every dog. but Pratt says it can lead to a better life

if you feel like you wanna put the time in that run into it and you feel landscape ability you know and you have the right dog and that being said this is a great note to end on because some people need a boredom train or need to purchase a dog. I think that’s fairly obvious right. that’s that’s pretty obvious because I have had I can spot it pretty early on now where somebody may you know I think they like like they do need a service dog but like there’s just there’s behaviors that are kind of red flags. it’s like yeah that’s not gonna fit in your lifestyle or you’re not gonna be able to maintain the training. right so it’s really good as an owner trainer to have that self reflection like OK have we been progressing yes aren’t we actually staying consistent training every day every other day a few times a week. are we you know going in that direction so uhm you know having that ability to self reflect you know some people don’t have that unfortunately. but at the same time you know that’s when you have to start thinking about OK what are the alternatives. like can we do fund raising can we find money somewhere do we have a friend do we have somebody. right can we get on the news and having an anonymous donor that happens. guys that happens. if you can get your word out in order to fundraise you can get that money fairly quickly. if you have the right channels to help you get the help that you need right it does it does take a community to raise a service dog. so yeah it’s just kind of my two cents on that topic but I think that’s a really good way to wrap it up that’s a really good way to wrap it up CBC News St. John’s I look at the bacon pieces those are big bacon pieces man love it I love it good job bath I love her I love her and want to go well I hope you guys enjoyed that story as much as I did here we go anyways I hope you guys enjoyed that story as much as I did up I haven’t been so super.

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