Focus for 2018: SD Trainer Academy
As we enter a new year, we turn our attention to a focus area for us in 2018. Next month will mark the 10th birthday for the FSDS, a milestone worth celebrating. Over the past 10 years, our program has undergone some improvements, as we continue to carefully gather impact data and use this information to make those improvements needed to better service our population.
During 2008 we were hard at work to lay the foundation for a unique type of program that would couple the provision of education for those interested in attaining SD training skills with the provision of SDs to those in need. This program was initially piloted in a high school setting, and two years ago we expanded this program to include all interested individuals in the community. Instead of only allowing enrollment to a small handful of students on one campus, the FSDS now has the ability to open our training to all students and adults in AZ who are able to attend weekly classes.
Having accomplished the above, we immediately turned our attention to expansion of this training to individuals across the U.S. This goal will be accomplished by expansion our highly successful online didactic training and tapping into the network of qualified SD Evaluators in our Outreach Network, that we have been building since Sept of 2008. This will help us to achieve our mission of placing qualified trainers in rural, remote regions that are currently lacking qualified trainers or programs to meet the demand for service dogs. Our unique training program fills a gap that has been left by traditional canine obedience training programs in that it teaches individuals to train dogs from early obedience and training up to advanced service dog skills. It also provides critically needed education and training on an array of disability issues, and helps trainers understand how to meet the learning challenges of those with disabilities. SD training is not just about training the dog – it is all about training a well-functioning team.
Each level has been carefully constructed to offer three comprehensive online courses PLUS a requirement that students complete 75 hours of hands-on training at each level.
As we enter 2018, we focus on enrollment of students and building the academy program. As we do, we will continue to gather careful data, and use this data to continue to make improvements in our ability to reach out to trainers and teams across the U.S.
For information on how to enroll in our SD Trainer Academy, please submit a request for information with us.
Beginner Class – our new beginners are hard at work on their basic puppy obedience tasks. This past month Lindsey Carlson and Bentley have made great strides on loose leash walking and focus, while Heather Vedeler and JW have done excellent work on the “touch” command. Titus Springer and Vader have made great gains in working on good team communication, while Scott and Hamilton have made improvements in working on drive. Brianna Espinosa and Eastwood have done a stellar job of working on overall basic obedience skills, and no surprises here as this is the second FSDS dog that Brianna is raising for us.
Advanced Class – the advanced class is fine tuning service dog skills. This past month, the teams all passed the FSDS public appropriateness test which is the final certification test minus the service task stations. This test is given as a practice run for the ultimate test, and all teams are doing a great job and are right on task. Special praise this month to Amanda and Abigail Van Asdall. These sisters are each raising a SD for the FSDS. Kudos also to Daisy Saenz and Indy for improvements on touch targeting and focus.
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Prayers for a Swift Recovery
Miriam Peterman is one of the co-founders of the FSDS. She remains hospitalized at this time, and has asked that I convey her appreciation to all who have been praying for her. We ask that you continue to hold her and her family in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.
It is important to speak with your veterinarian regarding recommendations for “non-core” vaccines. These are those vaccines that are not required, but may potentially benefit your dog. As a SD is out and about the community on any given day, it is important that handlers take additional precautions. Some examples of non-core vaccines that you will want to discuss with your veterinarian include:
- Canine influenza
We also remind all readers to change your dogs toothbrush to a new one on the first day of each month. Poor dentition can lead to kidney problems and other serious issues. Make certain that you brush your SDs teeth regularly with an enzymatic toothbrush designed for dogs.
Our sincere thank to the following individuals and groups who have generously supported our programs in the past month:
- Valerie Schluter
- Armed Forces Support Group Sun City Grand
- Casino Arizona
- Brenda and Sam Webb
- Stu Lofquist
- Larry Winfrey
- Barry MacKean
- Wendy Lawson
March 17 – Armed Forces Support Group Sun City Grand Golf Tournament – Details TBA.
When not actively training or at work, our dogs relax at home and enjoy celebrating the holidays with their families.