Cindi started lessons with me because her service dog, Zoe, would only retrieve toys, and she wanted her to retrieve her keys. Here’s what she said after Zoe’s first lesson with At Your Service:
1 day after Zoe’s lesson:
“I have Zoe down to a little piece of cloth picking it up and bring it to me. I decided to put it on my key chain and she brought it to me. Then I put another small one on my phone and she took a couple of times to bring it to me but after a few times she is doing it now….she brings both of them to me now I am going to move out to the deck that has a few more detracting things and see how that goes….I’m very hopeful
2 days after Zoe’s lesson:
“I went to a ecotarium today with my brain injury group in Worcester. I showed a couple of my friends what Zoe had learned and I told him I was unsure on whether or not she actually do it in a place with a lot of people around and I threw my keys down with the little cloth on the keychain and I’ll be damned if Zoe didn’t pick it up right and gave it to me as if we are sitting at home. I am shocked how fast she learned excited elated and shocked.
Cynthia Hinckley from Bright Spot Therapy Dogs here…..
I’ve been meaning to email you since I attended your talk at AA several weeks ago. I thoroughly enjoyed your talk and all the information you offered the group. I feel very fortunate now that I have a highly qualified person I can refer folks to who email me asking about getting or training a therapy dog for themselves or other family member, when they really need a service dog.
Just the other day, we were holding a Bright Spot Therapy Dog event at Western New England University where a woman asked me about therapy dog training for her autistic son…. happily, I was able to refer them to you.
Nice to hear that you will be offering classes now at AA. That’s terrific!
All the best,
[Note: AA here stands for Animal Alliances. Not the other well-known AA. -Sharon]
The suggestion of a cheap bath mat or towel that we could gradually cut smaller has been very helpful. I appreciated that each SD Foundations group class began with working on that– it has become semi-default for hitch while away from home. The time in classes/ homework exercises on zen while standing or moving were next level for us. Look at That has been very effective with both dogs and people, and “Watch me” has become a good indicator of whether he’s “in the game”. I’ve appreciated your encouragement to add tactile cues for hitch. I think these are going to be instrumental in advancing public access skills. The cues I came up with in class were much too awkward, but I’ve come up with new ones to re-cue.
In general, I appreciate your consistency in pointing out mistakes I don’t notice while doing them. while I had familiarity with all of the above concepts that aren’t SD specific, it’s frequently hard for me to notice errors in the moment. This was particularly helpful for missed “clickable” moments.
The location isn’t very convenient for me geographically, but I liked the space itself, and your classes were well worth the trip. I really appreciated the expectation that the dogs pause and wait at the entryway. I also appreciated your clear instructions during orientation on how to take your dog to their spot without getting in another team’s space. If you had some classes further south it would mean I could come more frequently. But, again, they were well worth the trip.
Look at That has been very helpful in him being more calm about both upsetting as well as over-exciting things. (Caroline Moore and I actually talked about how Look at That worked miracles for both Hitch and Albee 🙂 )
This is a fantastic resource. Thank you so much Sharon. I did some more desensitization with the “lotsa treats” approach this morning and she was actually wagging her tail when I showed it to her! Still got ears back on the putting it on part but she shook it off immediately once it was on and we went out to play so I have hope that being consistent with lots of fun and rewards shall help change that attitude. I’m going to work on the new coat training later today. 🙂
In case it wasn’t clear I really loved working with you and look forward to continuing to work with you again in the future. Kyrie is already so much farther along than she was when we started and, more importantly, happier. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!