By Rita Guinta, Volunteer Creative Writer ~ Healing Companions, Inc.
Meet Charlotte and Rosie, her psychiatric service dog in training. They are a new team with Healing Companions who have been together a little over a month. But Rosie already means the world to Charlotte and has had a positive impact on her life. Charlotte says, “Rosie tugs at my arm to get me out of bed to go for a walk. She makes me feel safer and more independent.” This is more important than might be readily recognized for Charlotte lives with the symptoms of anxiety and experiences panic attacks which are both invisible disabilities. She has been deemed by a mental health professional to need a psychiatric service dog and Rosie has been evaluated and fits the criteria by Healing Companions to have the potential to be trained as a service dog. This distinction is based upon age, intelligence, temperament, trainability and other qualities. Given the way Charlotte says Rosie makes her feel, Rosie’s off to a good start for being a loyal psychiatric service dog.
But Rosie has a long way to go. Her service dog training will consist of two separate tiers: Basic and Specialized Training. Basic training involves all the obedience training that non-service dogs receive such as sit, down, stay, etc., but she needs to perform these with distance, duration and distractions. It includes more lessons such as “pick it up,” “go to your mat,” and “tuck your tail.” Rosie must also learn not to shake in public places. Anyone who has ever had a dog knows that basic obedience training takes time. Specialized training involves Continue Reading →
If I told you that you could help both people and dogs, at the same time, for FREE, would you do it?
Of course, you would. All good-hearted people would.
And like most people, you love to shop. So, why not make your shopping about more than just getting stuff? Turn your shopping into an activity that improves people’s and dogs’ lives.
Here’s how it works. Choose any or all of Healing Companions supporters below. And every time you shop, they will donate money to Healing Companions.
We will use that money to give abandoned shelter dogs good homes AND train them to become psychiatric service dogs. In their new forever homes, the dogs will be helping people struggling to live with mental illnesses.
by Rita Guinta, Volunteer Creative Writer, Healing Companions, Inc.
My name is Cyndi and I appreciate this opportunity to share my story about my psychiatric service dog in training (PSDIT), Sage. She’s a beautiful, young, black Lab that came to me from a family that didn’t have the time to provide for her. They decided the best thing to do was rehome her. So, the family explored finding a non-profit that trains service dogs because Sage had the skills, temperament, trainability and potential. I cannot thank Healing Companions (HC) enough for bringing us together.
Now, Sage and I are just beginning our journey because dogs are not born service dogs. They are trained with highly advanced skills to be service dogs and to mitigate the effects of their handlers’ symptoms. Sage needs more of the individualized training HC tailors to a handlers’ needs. That’s me; I’m Sage’s handler. Continue Reading →
We are so thrilled with how smoothly this adoption has and continues to go thanks to the support of so many folks. We hope you enjoy the photos taken by Elizabeth Adams. We are indebted to Will Zaslavsky, Dog Behavior Specialist, at Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village. He immediately contacted us and pulled Rosie so we could find the perfect home for her. Rosie had a wonderful temperament and ability to be placed as a potential psychiatric service dog and she is such a fast learner. Rosie is an amazing young pup that adapted with ease and grace in her new apt. with Charlotte. She is a very fast learner and a joy to train.
I have talked about the importance of being crisp in training. Crispness provides clarity to our dogs which in turn reduces frustration and allows our dogs to feel confident in their situation. I want my dogs to know when they are working, when they are relaxing and about to work, and when they are not working at all -at which point I want to see them sleeping.
Sleeping in public? Yes, dogs sleep in public perfectly well – if they know that is expected! And how does one communicate when it is time to sleep? When dogs know nothing else is going to happen and when they are crated with reduced stimulation (covered) then sleep comes naturally, because that’s what dogs do when nothing is happening!
Crispness in training allows dogs to conserve their energy. It naturally teaches them to sleep when the time is right for sleeping.
But there’s more to it. In addition to giving you a crisper performance when you are working and helping dogs sleep when there’s no reason to be awake, crispness provides huge emotional benefits as well. Specifically, crispness allows a dog to be mentally calm – clarity provides that. And the opposite of mentally calm? Continue Reading →