Working Service Dogs at DragonCon

My friend Emilia sent me photos of this great PSA at Dragon Con this year. Dragon Con is an enormous pop culture convention annually in Atlanta, GA, with attendance of about 80,000 guests. They have a lot of service dogs working at the convention.

Because many people still don’t know how to let service dogs do their job without interference, Dragon Con posted a PSA on their internal feeds so that attendees with service dogs could enjoy the event as much as everyone else. Continue reading

It’s Here! Social, Civil, and Savvy, for Puppies 

Social, Civil, and Savvy

The new puppy and socialization book is ready to launch! This book is written for the puppy owner who wants to raise a pup to prevent behavior problems in the future, as well as for the adopter of an older dog who didn’t receive the best socialization as a puppy.

Social, Civil, and Savvy: Training & Socializing Puppies to Become the Best Possible Dogs is available in paperback, in ebook, and is coming soon in audiobook. It’s already receiving enthusiastic feedback, and I hope it will help puppies and people everywhere!

Puppy Socialization: the Physical

I have been a terrible pet parent, and I have not been spamming the blog with puppy photos and puppy stories. I apologize, I’ve been crazy busy, and in the end it’s more important to spend those extra minutes with the puppy rather than writing about her.

But today I’m going to officially spam about the puppy.

Meet Undómiel, who is 12 weeks old now and already gi-normous. Her paws are dinner plates. She’s going to be bigger than Laev.

I went to Denmark to pick her up, so she could fly home in the cabin with me. Continue reading

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival – a Call for Posts

This entry is part 20 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival graphic. A square graphic, with a lavender background. A leggy purple dog of unidentifiable breed, with floppy ears and a curly tail, in silhouette, is in the center. Words are in dark blue in a perky typeface. I’ve been given the opportunity to host the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, a collection of relevant blog posts on the topic of service dogs and their people.

This edition of the ADBC will go live on December 16, 2014. This round’s theme is:

Perceive.

This is an official call for posts! If you’d like to participate, write a post on service dogs, interpreting the theme “perceive” in any way you like. Continue reading

Training & Gaming at Gen Con

This entry is part 19 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

Mindy joined me at Gen Con this year. Because you can’t buy that kind of socialization experience. What is Gen Con, you may ask? Well, “Gen Con, LLC produces the largest consumer hobby, fantasy, science fiction and adventure game convention in North America. Gen Con, The Best Four Days In Gaming!™”

(Actually, I think it’s the world’s largest?)

A girl in a wheelchair is accompanied by a Golden Retriever wearing a service vest and carrying a plushed terrier on his back, dressed as Sir Didymus from the film Labyrinth.

Mindy wasn’t the only service dog at Gen Con. Here’s an assistance dog appearing as Sir Didymus (from Labyrinth).

It’s a gaming (and SFF, miniatures, film, etc.) convention which takes over much of Indianapolis each year. I posted on Facebook that Mindy wasn’t impressed by the 60,000 people, but that was an exaggeration; this year’s actual count was 56, 614 attendees. But of course, most of those people came more than one day, so turnstile attendance was 184,699. The con runs five days, but Mindy attended only three, including the two busiest. And she was a rock star. Rock star, I tell you. Continue reading

Fireworks Without the Freak-Out

This entry is part 18 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training
Fireworks on the beach on the Fourth of July. ...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So it was the Fourth of July this past weekend, Independence Day, with all the challenges that brings for pets and their people.

I was traveling with Mindy, the guide dog in training, and we did fireworks. With flying colors (terrible pun intended). Continue reading

Puppy Goes Hiking

This entry is part 17 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

Just a fun post of a day out with Mindy!

We went hiking at Turkey Run State Park. Mindy wore her Gentle Leader, which we don’t generally use but which she’s supposed to be desensitized to, just in case it’s ever needed in the future. I figured the best way to desensitize her is to put it on just before something really fascinating and fun, so this is her second walk/hike with it. She’s already used to it, because who can fuss about a (properly-fitted) Gentle Leader when we’ve got a whole woods to explore? Continue reading

Puppy Training on a FitPAWS Donut

This entry is part 16 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

So apparently I forgot to publish this blog post — sorry!

Set the Wayback Machine for a few months ago, when Mindy was small enough to use this size FitPAWS Donut. The weather was too bad (sub-zero Fahrenheit) for puppies to play outdoors for long, and this was not only a great energy burn, but an important skill development for a dog expected to handle lots of surfaces and challenges in her career. Continue reading