From our trainer Jackie, who is working with Carmen, who suffers from PTSD, anxiety, and panic attacks due to sexual assault, and her SDIT, “Ollie”.
SDIT Ollie recently joined SDE with handler Carmen. Ollie is a 5 year old Lab/Shiba Inu/Shar Pei mix, and yes, he is an interesting blend of stunning. Ollie was assessed for his capability to become a Service Dog for his handler, Carmen, who suffers from PTSD. Ollie already has passed the Canine Good Citizen Test, so has his basic commands down well. Ollie is very in tune with Carmen. The new team will begin working on more public exposure and re-enforcing Ollie’s current training.
Carmen and her SDIT for PTSD Ollie had their first session today. Carmen brought family members that she lives with to the training so that they could learn the do’s and don’ts related to Service Dogs. Additionally, we wanted Ollie to focus solely on Carmen despite distractions and despite the familiarity of others in the home. Carmen worked with Ollie on sitting and waiting at the end of every aisle. The younger children provided various distractions that Ollie had to work on ignoring. We worked on anticipating possible problems. For instance, Ollie is already has previous training and is in sync with Carmen. However, with a new role in her life, I encouraged Carmen to provide more hand signals and verbal feedback in advance regarding what tasks she wanted Ollie to perform. Ollie also worked on “leave it”, “stay”, and “recall.” The new team made great progress!
Carmen and her PTSD SDIT Ollie had their second session today. Again, Carmen brought a family member to continue to educate the family and to continue to work on Ollie’s ability to deal with focus and distractions. This session occurred at a local restaurant, which was only Ollie’s second time in an eating establishment. We continued to work on having Carmen providing continuous feedback to Ollie regarding what she needed from him and letting him know when he was on task. Ollie did great with “leave it.” He was very alert to everyone and everything around him. Carmen will continue to work on recognizing Ollie’s nonverbal communication to her. Ollie already has some natural alerting but will require some redirection in how to perform these tasks, and Carmen will begin working on noticing these behaviors more. Ollie responded very well in the eating establishment although he did get a little antsy when people walked by. Carmen and Ollie will continue to work on re-enforcing his commands in public settings.