Mini-Series Topic #8: Team Assessment
This month we explore the assessment of a potential team for appropriateness. We remind all readers and trainers that simply having a qualifying disability does not automatically imply that someone is a good candidate for service dog (SD) teamwork. In the case of SD training, the focus is on the team, and a trainer must have the skills to assess both team members.
The time to address the issue of team assessment is before the student is formally accepted into the training program. You will find that this is a recurring theme throughout your academy training. Classroom management begins outside of the classroom as does team assessment. This month we discuss the meaning of a SD team, and how this relates specifically to the type of skills training that the team will ultimately require.
What is a SD Team?
- The handler must have a medical condition that meets the ADA definition of disability.
- The dog must be individually trained to do work or perform tasks to mitigate the disability of the handler.
Ensuring Safe Performance of Selected Tasks
Anticipating Needs for the Working Life of the Team
Ensuring that the Dog is Able to Safely Perform the Tasks to be Trained
- a hip x-ray that demonstrates no evidence of hip dysplasia
- fecal parasite testing as negative
- heartworm antigen testing as negative
- up to date on all vaccines
Take Home Points
- Document that both conditions to qualify as a SD team are met prior to acceptance into the program.
- Ensure that the breed selection is appropriate for the tasks to be trained.
- Anticipate disease progression and train all tasks that the handler may be expected to require assistance with for the working life of the team, to the best of your ability.
Advanced class – congratulations to our beginner class on having progressed to the advanced level. Students are at work to master advanced obedience skills in preparation for their public access training. Kudos to Nicole and Maiden Joy and their SDIT “Dakota” for their stellar work with “heel” and “working with distractions”.
We are now accepting applications!
Prospective Recipients – if you are looking to either receive a dog that is already trained, or train with your own dog, the application process is now open. We are looking to start a new class in the near future. Download the application packet from our website.
Student Trainers – have you ever wanted to learn how to train a SD? Do you have teenage children who are looking to make a positive and lasting impact in their community by training a dog for a hero in need? Download the application packet from our website.
Summer Workshops – school is out for the summer and we encourage all parents to sign their children up for a summer workshop. We will be offering workshops in Canine CPR and Responsible Pet Ownership. These are crucial skills for all children who have pets in the home. Parents can drop their child off at our facility without worry and then go shopping for the next hour. Our lead trainer holds a Class I fingerprint Clearance Card and has been properly screened to ensure the safety of your child. We are a child-friendly facility and have an array of interactive hands-on teaching tools and manikins to encourage active participation. Sessions are competitively prices at only $10 per child, and we can accommodate a group size of 12 per session. Contact us to schedule a time.
Come visit us inside of the Metro Center Mall is suite 1072.
- Tues – Fri: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Emergency Preparedness – it is that time of year again when our thoughts turn to preparation for natural disasters. Hurricane and monsoon seasons both begin this month. If you are in an area that is prone to natural disasters, the time to prepare is before a problem occurs. In this edition we provide some practical tips for the safety of you and your service dog.
- Keep copies of all medical records for your SD on your Drive so that they can be accessed from any remote device; this ensures that if you must evacuate quickly you will still have the proof of vaccination records needed for you to keep your SD with you in a shelter.
- Life Jackets – if you are in a flood prone area make certain that you have a properly size life jacket available for your SD
- Food – prepare some portion sized bags of kibble for your dog and have them ready to go if needed; please portion sized bags in zip-seal bags or airtight containers, and place those bags inside of a larger zip seal bag or container.
- Keep all medications for you and your dog in the same location, and have two zip seal bags of suitable size available to package them quickly if evacuation is needed
- Have an evacuation plan for your family that includes your SD, include a plan for how to evacuate the home, and where to meet if family is not together when an evacuation occurs; practice your plan in advance!
- If you live in a multi-story dwelling or in an apartment above the ground floor, have a plan in place for how to evacuate your dog safely – a dog will not be able to climb down a ladder.
Prepare for the worst – hope for the best!
With Sincere Thanks
We wish to thank the following individuals and organizations for their support of our program during the past month:
- Valerie Schluter
- DAV Auxiliary Unit 1
- Sundt Foundation
- Armed Forces Support Group of Sun City Grand
Basic Obedience Training – beginning Saturday May 25th and continuing for 5 weeks, training will be from 1 – 2 p.m. at our Metro Center Mall location; 5 week sessions are $120. Call602-870-2008 to enroll.
Basic Obedience Training – next class starts Saturday, July 13th from1-2 p.m. and runs for 5 weeks. Details are the same as outlined above.
August 4 -10, 2019 is International Assistance Dog Week – stay tuned for information on special events.
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