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Varah Has Found Her New Partner!

We have found Varah’s new partner!  I will now tailor Varah’s tasks to best meet her partner’s needs as we take the time to let them get to know each other and learn to work together. We will do this part of the process slowly so that Varah does not get confused or upset.

Some of you who did not originally train your own dog will probably remember fondly the beginning of the relationship when you first met and began to work with your dog. That is usually an exciting time for everyone!

When it is evident that Varah is comfortable with her new friend, and shows signs of attachment and works eagerly for her, then we will begin the final transfer which will consist of an intense couple of weeks that we all spend together as the human partner is leashed to her new service dog while I supervise and give instructions on all aspects of living with a service dog and utilizing the tasks that Varah is trained to do for her.

So far they are hitting it off well!  🙂



Clips of Varah

I’ll go ahead and post a video and a couple of photos of Varah below. I know they aren’t very good, (my son says I should wait and get better ones) but they are all I happen to have with me at the moment and I want to go ahead and post this now. I’m visiting and working in the Portland Oregon area at the moment and most of my photos are at home on my other computer, but this will at least give you an idea what she looks like….

Varah Getting Drink

Varah Getting Drink





Seizure Alert Dogs

What most people are looking for in a seizure dog is to be alerted to the seizure in advance so actions can be taken to prepare for the impending seizure. The last that I was aware, there was not a way to train a dog to alert to seizures. It’s something that a small percentage of dogs just naturally do, but nobody knows exactly how they do it.

A dog who exhibits this ability generally alerts 10 or 15 minutes before a seizure, which gives the person time to call someone, take medication, or even just lie down to prevent falls and such.

There are tasks that can be taught to a dog to help the person after the seizure has begun, (which is then called seizure response) and many seizure alert dogs are taught some of those tasks, but as for letting you know ahead of time, that’s something some dogs just do naturally.

Some people say that some dogs need 6 months or so of living with a person before they begin to alert to that person’s seizures, but I know that is not always the case.

One woman was to receive a seizure response dog (a dog that provides help after the seizure has begun) from a Service Dog program, with the hope that the dog would eventually alert as well. She was there at the facility, working with the trainer of the dog that was intended for her, and another trainer came through the room with a dog that was meant for someone else who had an entirely different disability. That dog broke away from his trainer and went to her and began interacting intensely with her and resisted being removed. She began having a seizure and the second dog planted himself by her and did not leave her side until the seizure was over. The dog meant for her did not even seem to notice! The story had a happy ending; she went home with the second dog.

One of my clients has a seizure alert dog who not only alerts to her owner’s seizures, but recently charged out of the room to another person who was having a seizure down the hall in the bathroom, and ran back and forth, insisting that her owner come and investigate. How did the dog know?!

If anyone has any more information about seizure alert (or response) dogs, please comment…


Note: If the writing on this blog is too small, hold down your CONTROL key, (it might say “Ctrl”) and tap the “+” symbol until it is large enough for you. This works for most other websites also…   🙂

The purpose of this blog is to provide information to users of Service Dogs and those who think a Service Dog might be helpful to their situation. Feel free to contribute liberally with comments and guest posts with any information, tips and experiences that might be helpful to others with Service Dogs.

I am a dog trainer with 40 years of experience, but I no longer personally train other people’s dogs. Now I coach dog owners who are training their own Service Dogs.

Our coaching covers all aspects of living with your Service Dog. We can begin with any specific issues that you may be having, or if you’re new to Service Dogs, we’ll probably start out with an emphasis on training, both initial tasks that MAKE it a Service Dog as well as those which enhance your relationship with your dog and make him/ her a better companion, although there are many other facets of training, working and living with a Service Dog.  The fact is, we are with this being 24/7, so the better companionship s/he provides, the better, right?

I can assist you with whatever stage you’re at with your dog’s training:

All Service Dogs need to review their tasks from time to time! Tasks that are not used on a daily basis in “real life” situations need to be practiced so as to keep your dog sharp for when they are needed. So, even if you’re satisfied with the training that your dog has received, there are things that should be done to maintain it at that level. I can help you develop a routine to keep your dog sharp on all of his tasks.

If You Don’t Have Your Service Dog Yet:

If you have a disability and have decided that a Service Dog would be right for you, I can assist you with determining if the dog you already own is suitable for the work, or I can help you screen a dog before you acquire it, and then coach you as you train him. I will support you every step of the way!

Expanding Vocabulary and Developing Reasoning Abilities:

Special emphasis should be placed upon increasing a Service Dog’s vocabulary and developing his/ her reasoning abilities.

I will help you learn strategies for successfully relating to your Partner. Although there are general dog training basics that apply, Service Dogs require special handling.

In order to more effectively carry out their jobs, Service Dogs must be given responsibility and permission to think and make decisions on their own.

I will help you guide your Service Dog to learn how to make the transition from just mindlessly following directions to working independently and making good decisions in regards to performing his tasks when the situation requires that he think for himself. I can help you take your relationship with your canine partner to a new level of functionality, intimacy and trust.

I can help you bring out the full potential in your Service Dog to make him or her the best companion and helper that s/he can be.

My Experience:

I am an experienced dog trainer and certified Life Coach. I’ve trained dogs for a variety of purposes for over 40 years, but I now specialize in Service Dogs; My mission is coaching owners to bring their canine partners to a higher standard of excellence.

When I was growing up, some of my relatives raised and trained dogs for the circus (as well as for other purposes) and I loved to spend time working with them. One of my uncles used to brag that he could teach an intelligent dog to do anything that was physically possible for a dog to do, and he certainly did do some pretty amazing things with dogs. (To read a bit more about Uncle Joseph and his circus dogs, CLICK HERE to download my book  : )

I won’t make such a bold claim as my Uncle Joseph, but I will at least say that I’m a very good dog trainer and coach. Make an appointment today to see if you agree! 🙂


By the way, I used a “blog template” to make this blog, so the dogs that are pictured above are not to my knowledge service dogs, but who knows? They could be, since Service Dogs come in all breeds and sizes!  😀

Please comment, question and discus your experiences; feel free to jump in and offer advice! If you’d like to contribute an article on some aspect of training or living with your service dog, please contact me at webmaster (“at” symbol)



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