SD Trainer Academy to Open June 1st
We are excited to announce the opening of new SD Trainer Academy as of June 1st this year. This program is designed to provide the training necessary for individuals to become qualified SD trainers. This program will run under the auspices of our outreach services, and represents our continued commitment to provide credible SD training and certification to teams in all geographic locations.
In 2009, the FSDS piloted the first youth-based training program of its kind, coupling the education of youths with an ability to provide certified SDs to those in need. Over the years, the program has evolved and gained popularity. In January of 2016 this program was expanded to become a community-based training program, allowing any individual with a desire to acquire SD training skills to enroll. Under this model, the program involved completion of didactic education via our online SD 101 course, and 18 months of hands on skills training in the classroom. Additionally, individuals who graduated from our program were eligible to apply for a position with a pathway to advance from Intern (Novice) to Jr. and Sr. Instructor. Thus, this offering represented a pilot program with a plan for future expansion.
This pathway was only available, however, to local residents who had attended our classes. Additionally, students were not permitted to intern with us until their 18th birthday. Another of our goals was to open up opportunities for youths as young as 15, so that they may work to acquire marketable skills during the time that they are in high school.
This model has worked well, but we felt that there were some pieces still missing. For example, a canine training business is just that…it is a business, and students require training to understand some basic rules of set-up and operation. Education on disabilities and accommodation, classroom management, teaching skills at each level and program administration were also needed. Our goal throughout this pilot has been to fine-tune services, and expand to allow individuals to enroll, regardless of our location. In fact, encouraging those in remote locations is critical for us, as these remote areas are currently without any credible SD training services, leaving individuals with disabilities residing in rural or remote locations without access to the training they require.
This program will take the average individual two years to complete. Divided into 4 semesters, there is a requirement for completion of 3 comprehensive online courses as well as 75 hours of hands-on training at each level. Students may elect to stop at any level, but are encouraged to earn all four levels:
- Novice Instructor
- Jr. Instructor
- Sr. Instructor
- Master Instructor
We permit students to complete their intern hours with any trainer in the nation enrolled in the FSDS Outreach Evaluator network. If an instructor in your area is not a member of our network, they may contact us to determine eligibility. Contact a trainer in your area to inquire about an internship.
If you would like more information about enrollment in our Academy, please click here to request information.
This past month our classes combined to take a group field trip to the Pawsability Patch in Glendale, AZ This was a fun way for the classes to connect and socialize the dogs, while teaching valuable skills. Our SDs learned how to work with distractions, accept and navigate new obstacles, maintain a good heel around distractions, and even how to board a boat! See photo gallery for some fun photos.
CB6 Advanced Class – this class is hard at work on upper level SD skills, such as working in public with distractions, “go get help” and “item differentiation”. Kudos to Bill Riley and his SDIT “Sully” for outstanding work this past month. A very special thanks goes out to student trainer Jolie Jendry, who houses and trains Sully during the week. A special thanks also to our sister team of student trainers, Amanda Van Asdall / SDIT Doug and Abigail Van Asdall /SDIT Oliver for their outstanding job in representing the FSDS at the recent Armed Forces Support Group Tournament.
CB7 Beginner Class – this class has completed their basic obedience training this week and is now at work to prepare for the upcoming Canine Good Citizen test this summer. The teams are working on skills such as “greeting a friendly stranger” and “greeting a strange dog”.
Many thanks to CB6 team Sharon Richter and “Nahla” and CB7 team Adam Croner and “Shadow” for representing us so well at the Westbrook Village Car Show.
Free Eye Exams for Service Dogs
For the 10th consecutive year, AVCO and Stokes Rx are sponsoring the Free Eye Exams for Service Animals program. This wonderful program provides free eye exams for service dogs. Registration for exams is open during the entire month of April, and the exams will take place in May. Qualifications can be located on their website, and SDITs will qualify only if they are enrolled in a formal training program, such as the FSDS. Spaces may be limited, so we urge all of our teams to call immediately to schedule an appointment for May. Kudos to AVCO and Stokes Rx for providing this valuable service to SD teams across the nation.
Please visit the AVCO / Stokes Rx web page for more information.
It is Spring! The flowers are in bloom, and animals are coming out of hibernation. This can be an exciting time of year, but also presents some dangers to your pets or SDs. Here are some facts and tips for you to know:
- Many plants can be toxic to animals, most notably Oleander, ferns, ivy, any plant with thorns…and a long list of others. Take inventory of what is growing in your yard. Consider removal of any toxic plant to safeguard your animals.
- Snakes are coming out of hibernation, and Spring is the most dangerous time of year for a snakebite. The snakes are relatively dehydrated, making the venom more concentrated and toxic. Remove tall grass, wood or rock piles, and inspect your yard before you let your animals out to play.
- When out walking, stick to paths, wear proper footwear and never permit your dog to stray off the path to sniff around.
We wish to express our sincere thanks to the following individuals / groups who have generously donated to support our programs and services.
- Westbrook Village Veterans Support Club
- Valerie Schluter
- Thunderbird Automotive
- Thomas and Lois Smith
- Stan Vanpeursem
- Dorothy Ritz
- Sarah S. Lawrence
- Christine P. Falasco
- Nancy Scimeca
- Dwain Carson
- Norman Palmer
- Martin Chorzempa
July 29 – Annual FSDS SD Graduation at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix North, 10220 N. Metro Pkwy. E. , Phoenix, AZ; come celebrate with us as we graduate another class of SD teams and student trainers. Tickets are $50 each and include a catered meal. Contact Gary Noble for information on obtaining tickets, or sponsoring a deserving hero.