Thinking Outside of the Box

The FSDS was founded in Feb. 2018 by a small group of professionals.  Established as a “gap program” we set out to identify those areas not addressed by other training programs, and to create workable and cost effective solutions to unmet needs in our community.  As such,there has been no prototype for us to follow as we grow, as we have had to continuously invent solutions de novo.  Our program has evolved over the years.

Perhaps the biggest and most exciting challenge for us has been our mission to create solutions for all Arizonans, and this has required us to keep an eye towards Outreach Education and services. With each new addition of services, we have had to create solutions to meet the needs of both local and remote individuals.

We began with a clear mission and a dream, and by the end of the first year had launched pilots for both our Outreach Evaluator network as well as our local youth-based SD training program.  Today, the FSDS offers the following programs:

Outreach Program

  • Evaluator Network / Outreach Certification
  • Certified Affiliate Program Network

Canine Safety Program

  • Youth Education on SD Etiquette and Responsible Pet Ownership
  • Basic Life Support
  • Advanced Life Support
  • Instructor Training

SD Training

  • Community-Based Training – we now provide both professionally and owner trained services
  • SD Trainer Academy

Our educational delivery system has gone from classroom handouts to online submission forms to a fully developed online curriculum on a recognized educational platform.  In June of 2015 we launched our SD 101 course, and today we have developed a full training academy with a pathway to becoming a master trainer.  We have shifted from a system of FSDS issued credit to formal CEU credits recognized by both the AZ Peace Officers Standards and Training Board (AZ POST) and the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the national body responsible for credentialing dog trainers.

Efforts are currently underway to align our organization with local and state offices that designate organizations as recognized training providers, with a goal of gaining formal recognition as an approved apprenticeship program. Building bridges such as this will permit talented and deserving individuals who are seeking career training but can not afford the cost to qualify for financial assistance. For a program such as our who tends to attract individuals with disabilities, this is of great importance.  We continue to innovate and embrace the support of our community, and look forward to the road that lies ahead.

Classroom News

CB8 -this class has been hard at work on public access skills.  The FSDS has a list of core public access experiences that all dogs in training must be exposed to, and the class is working through this list.  This past month they visited the Glendale Public Library and were taken on a tour by library staff person Lisa Colcord, who helped to arrange for the visit.  Our thanks to Lisa for her hospitality.

CB9 -this class is scheduled to begin on Oct. 20th and we are excited to welcome a new group of students and puppies.

SD Trainer Academy


Bentley, Brian and Lindsey are pictured at far left.

Welcome to our newest student, Lindsey Carlson, who was awarded the AZ Lottery Full Scholarship.  Lindsey is home-schooled, and currently completing high school.  Her career goal is to become a professional SD trainer.  Lindsey has been a part of our youth program, and is currently raising Bentley, who she will award to military veteran Brian Brown once the training is completed.  We are anticipating much success from Lindsey and are proud to be able to provide her this scholarship so that she can achieve her dream of lifetime service to her community.

Graduates: Where Are They Now?

Codding Sept 2018We received a lovely note this past month from military family Dylan and Jasmine Codding. Both are active duty military stationed at Luke AFB.  They came to the FSDS this past year seeking a SD for their chronically ill child.  Dylan wrote to say:

“I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. What you guys have given this family is so much more than we can say. Hunter and Indy are absolutely best friends and are darn near inseparable. She is a wonderful and perfect addition to our family. “

This type of follow up is always appreciated, and helps to serve as a constant reminder of the profound impact that a well-trained and skilled SD can have on families.  We wish them many happy miles ahead as they continue their journey through life together.  Our thank sto all fo our supporters who helped to make this gift possible.

Wellness Tip

Giardiasis is an infection that can be transmitted from dogs to humans.  It is caused by a parasite known as Giardia, and it attacks the intestines causing diarrhea, and if untreated weight loss, dehydration and permanent intestinal damage. It can be transmitted to humans through contact with feces or saliva.  Individuals with disabilities who have a weak immune system, young children and elderly are particularly at risk for acquiring this infection from household dogs. When shed in feces, the parasite forms a cyst, affording it protection from the elements and the ability to survive for months.  This can easily be transmitted to other dogs in the household through sharing of food and water bowls.

If your dog develops diarrhea, it is important for you to contact your veterinarian immediately to seek a diagnosis and treatment.  If the problem has been identified as Giardiasis, it may be necessary for you to clean your yard to remove any cysts that were deposited in the soil, and prevent reinfection.  A dog that steps on a cyst and brings it inside on their paws after going potty, and then licks their paws can easily become infected.

Consult with your veterinarian about steps that you can take to clean your yard and your floors indoors to prevent the spread of this illness.  If a human in your home develops symptoms after a known exposure, it is important to communicate this information to your physician, as they will be unlikely to suspect Giardia absent knowledge of an exposure.  Always wash your hands thoroughly after any contact exposure.

With Sincere Thanks

Our heartfelt thanks go out to the following individuals and/or groups who have generously supported the FSDS during the month of September:

  • Valerie Schluter
  • DAV Auxiliary Unit 1

A big thank you goes out to Lisa Colcord from the Glendale Public Library for helping to arrange a field trip for our current class to their site.  It is important that all SDs receive training on a variety of public experiences that recipients are likely to encounter prior to graduation.  A trip to the library is part of our new requirements, and we appreciate the hospitality of the library.

Seeking Assistance

We are seeking the assistance of a real estate professional to advise us as we turn our attention to a goal of securing a dedicated facility space.  If you have experience in this area and would like to serve as an advisor to assist us in the planning stages, please contact us.

Job Posting

We are seeking an individual with experience as a program auditor and knowledge of canine training for per diem work as a program auditor.  Travel, food and lodging will be paid, and auditors are paid at a rate of $400 for the day of the audit.  For more information, please contact us.

Upcoming Events

Oct. 20th, 2018 – New SD Training class to begin.

Photo Gallery

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