Welcome! I’m Dee the dog trainer. In 2005 I’d just finished teaching an obedience class when a woman approached me, asking if I could help her train a dog to help her with mobility issues related to her Fibromyalgia. We talked, agreed I would evaluate her service dog prospect and, if he had the right stuff, I’d create a training plan for her. He did and that 110 pound mix-breed changed the quality of her forever. And that’s how my career as a service dog trainer began.
That’s my girl, Fig, and me. She’s a registered therapy dog, has her CGC, is my demo dog and assistant trainer. More than anything she’s a joyous example of Happy Lab Syndrome. And she’s always nearby when I’m writing, so we invite you to join us as we explore the amazing – sometimes totally insane – world of service dogs. And please welcome our contributors. They’re living the owner-trainer journey.
If you’d like to know more about me and my girl, visit our website.
Hi there! My name is Allison, and I’m an owner-trainer with a brilliant dog who keeps me on my feet (in more ways than one!). Peabody is training to become a light mobility dog with medical alert capabilities. She is fun, and playful, and absolutely brilliant… and she is also stubborn, obnoxious, and completely insane at times. Our journey together is a complete adventure, and I am so excited to share it with you.
I was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) a number of years ago. This autoimmune disease is different for everyone it affects, and I am no exception. My symptoms are varied, and they change on a daily basis. Peabody is learning how to help mitigate those symptoms for me. And I’m learning how to live with a dog that I’m pretty sure is smarter than me! I hope you enjoy reading about our adventure, and perhaps identify with some of our success and struggles. And maybe even learn something cool along the way as well!
Nicole and Heather
This is Micah’s world. We are his moms, Nicole (Mama) and Heather (Mani), and he just lets us come along for the ride. It is the most terrifying, nerve-wracking and exhausting roller coaster on the planet. But it is our ride and there is no other ride we would like to be on.
Levi (a/k/a Leviathan Snarffleasaurus Chuckles McClanahan Why’s Everybody Always Pickin’ on Me of Bay Breeze) is Micah’s gorgeous Yellow Labrador Retriever Service Dog in Training. We are working with Dee to train Levi to help Micah navigate his world successfully and learn to cope with emotions. In the short time Levi has been with us, we have seen a world of difference in our boy who struggles daily with self-regulation, executive functioning, repetitive behaviors and phrases, negative self-talk and other concerns.
Micah has several diagnoses but Levi will be helping most with his Autism, Anxiety Disorder and Feeding Disorder. Transitions, change of schedule, peer interactions, repetitive speech and lack of hunger drive are the things that most trouble our boy. Levi, (whom Micah named because it means “connected, joined” in Hebrew) even as a pup, is helping Micah tremendously. Eventually, Levi’s tasks will include deep pressure therapy (already happening), interrupting repetitive speech or negative self-talk, alerting to low blood sugar, elopement prevention, post-elopement location, and other tasks as we find necessary. We are excited and grateful to be on this ride – and so lucky to have Dee traveling with us.