Friday, March 13, 2020

Service Dog Teams & Corona Virus

Hi my long Time Readers.
The majority of us partner with services dogs are considered at higher risk for contracting the Corona Virus/ COVID 19 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
and as such we must practice self isolation and distance behaviors to protect ourselves. The American Veterinary Association page on COVID-19/ Corona Virus states " If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them." this also means that your service animal and you should practice some social distancing by enacting the following:
These easily accomplished if you have maintained kenneling, tie down and/ or go to place/mat behaviors. If you have not maintained these behaviors it is likely you will experience protesting behaviors in the possible forms of vocalizations, digging/scratching, trying to join you, pacing, restlessness; please stand your ground these will pass. You can also help you dog see the change in patterns as a good/fun thing by offering meals, chews or food puzzle toys in these spaces.
  • Not sleeping in the same bed.
  • Not allowing your dog on furniture with you.
  • Refraining from kissing your dog and/or allowing them to kiss you (hard one I know)
  • Wash your hands/sanitized your hands frequently. Especially before and after touching your dog.
  • Groom your dog after coming inside by wiping down with antiseptic/ antibacterial wipes.
Per a study in the Whole Dog Journal "
“This innovation of cleaning the dogs so they don’t become a vector for transmission is really important,” says Dr. Nyquist. “For humans, it’s washing your hands. This is a way of washing the dogs and making them as safe as possible in a very vulnerable population.”

Reviews/ Ratings Top 5 best antiseptic wipes for dogs
  • Practice Social distance with/ and for your service dog. If you must go out (and your service dog must go with you to accomplish that), do not allow others to touch/pet/kiss your service dog. Use this time to reinforce behaviors many teams let slide over time  such as: staying with in arms length of you when walking; not investigating things around with nose/tongues while waiting; resting under tables/chairs completely out of paths, settling and not fussing with you/ or you with them; not socializing with other animals while out; relieving on-leash in a designated area.
  • Clean your Dog's stuff:
  1. Bowl/ Treat pouches/ food toys Daily -with hot water and dish soap well rinse and dried or put in hot cycle in dish washer.
  2. Bedding -Weekly Hot water and completely dried before replacing. Don't forget to wipe down kennels/crates with a pet safe cleaner (if the dog has been ill or had and accident) or hot water and soap, well rinse and dried.
  3. Toys- these can go into the top shelf of the Dishwasher on sanitizer cycle
  4. Leashes/ Collars/Vests (Non-Leather) These can go through the Washer machine in a laundry bag or (again in the Dishwasher on the sanitize cycle)
  5. Brushes/ combs- clean out hair and put in dishwasher
If you are sick and quarantining, or social distancing  you can set up an indoor/ patio or balcony potty area for your service dog using a an artificial turf potty station, dog litter box, real grass or potty training pads- Here's a link to the top5 best rated ones. I personally used and recommend artificial grass system for service with catch trays as it has the ability to be cleaned easily, doesn't require buying a ton of supplies over and over, and keeps my dog ready for the indoor service animal rest areas when traveling.Teams who have maintained their dog's potty habits training including-
1.Potty on cue
2.Potty on leash

3.Potty where handler identifies (i.e. place and surface)
4.Potty when handler identifies/says
5. Pottying quickly = access to longer break or fun
Are likely to have an easier time with their dogs, and experience less stress over unusual bathroom routines. If you have not maintained these skills or never taught your dog to relieve on cue, on-leash and where you say, then you will need to treat this as you did housebreaking in the beginning. Be aware many adult dogs can and will hold it for a long time when you are trying to change relieving  habits keep to a schedule, offer extra opportunities, don't let them unsupervised if they have relieved, be patient, and reward heavily when they do, finally go where you need them too!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Fading Prompts and lures in training

Whole Dog  Journal unearthed this from their archives this morning. https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/7_5/features/Dog-Training-Tips_5629-1.html?s=FB&medium=soc_082117A
This article includes self assessment  to see which lures/ prompts you and your dog are stuck on and how to fade out needing them.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Two years of Transition

Dear loyal readers and visitors,
After two years of what seems like one endless transition Tanner and I finally feel like we have energy to share our stories and knowledge gained together. In the last two years Tanner and I have:
  • Became a team
  • Lived for a month in a hotel before our new apartment became available
  • Began working for our amateur Summit Assistance Dogs
  • Discovered new apartment really wasn't ground floor accessible and tried to make it work including having friends try to build a ramp
  • Moved in with friends for two months while we look for a new place 
  • Found and moved in to a new minimally accessible apartment where we lived along with some dogs in training and eventually our best friend again for a year and a half
  • Decided with said best friend to find and purchase a house. Which took looking at around 40 houses, putting in seven offers, and a little over six months.
So, again, we apologize for being gone so long, but hope you can understand.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Help Me Win a wheelchair adapted van!

Readers, I am trying to win a desperately needed new fully adapted wheelchair van so that I may continue my work as a service dog trainer. Please see my entry and vote for me from now until 5-31-16. You vote once a day everyday through 11:59pm 5-31-16.Thank you! http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/melissa-mitchell-burlington-wa/