Assistance dogs are “empowering people for independence” in more ways than ever before. Thanks to dog training organizations, like Power Paws, the needs of more people are being addressed by training assistance dogs. The contact with a healing companion and help with daily needs combine to enhance each person’s life in miraculous ways.
English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion
Nathan and his companion service dog Sandra (1:52 in the video below), show us how these remarkable Disability Companion Dogs are being taught to sense when a child needs to eat, or take insulin, and then she promptly provides him with what he needs to balance his blood sugar. This is of great importance for Nathan so he can better manage his diabetes. This kind of assistance is life saving on a daily basis.
Power Paws Assistance Dogs Video
(Nathan and Sandra's story are shown in this video beginning at the 1:52 digital time mark)
English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion Training
The specialized training opportunities for Disability Companion Dogs can address challenges, provide the dog with the right training, and teach disabled people (their handlers and their families) how to communicate with their new companion. The goal is to empower people with challenges of mobility, PTSD, fears and phobias, or other limiting conditions. These are just the beginning of what can be accomplished when a dog is given specialized training.
Training is to provide a dog with the knowledge to identify a situation and take an action. This needs to be consistent even in the case when the owner or handler gives a command which is in contradiction with the trained skill. For example; when a guide dog is instructed to cross the street and at the same time the dog sees a car coming he will follow his training rather than the handlers command. This is called ‘intelligent disobedience’ or ‘selective disobedience’ because the service dog has been trained to do things a certain way ‘not cross the street when a car is coming’ and will not follow the handler’s command to cross.
English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion Communication
A bit more specific would be the difference between stepping off of a curb and stepping down stairs. When stairs or a curb are present (in the case of a Seeing Eye dog) the dog is going to wait for the handler to specifically state they are aware of the obstacle. The ‘code words’ for stairs and curb will be different. If you are a recipient of a companion dog it is imperative you learn the language your dog has been taught and consistently communicate with her in her language.
The right skills training (for dogs and their owners) as well as the right dog for the job are keystones to successfully creating new opportunities for dogs and for the people they assist.
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