Category Archives: MST



Emmett, our trainer in Austin, helped this wonderful pair pass the Public Access Test! Randi suffers from Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, MST (Military Sexual Trauma), and Migraine Headaches that leave him physically paralyzed.

The PAT was held at Home Depot in Georgetown, TX.

Emmett writes:

Wounded warrior Randi and her now Service Dog Gunner (Gunnerson) did AMAZING on their public access test! Randi served in the Air Force and after some time began training with Gunner. He is an incredibly bright Yorkie and is ALWAYS focused on Randi. The highlight of their public access test was Gunner demonstrating his “leave it”. Randi threw out a few treats, commanded him to leave them and walked Gunner through. He did not so much as sniff at them! Gunner also did exceptionally well on the obstacle course we created from the carts at Home Depot. He sat and greeted a stranger with ease as well as kept composure when his leash was taken. Randi and Gunner’s dedication was very apparent. Congrats to this team! You have done phenomenal! We will continue to work on disability related tasks.”

The following were perfect:

Dog did not try to leave vehicle until given release command.
The Dog waited in the vehicle until released.* Yes
The Dog waited outside the vehicle under control. Yes
The Dog remained under control while another dog was walked past. Yes

Relative heel position, not straining or forging.
The Dog stayed in relative heel position. Always
The Dog was calm around traffic.* Yes
The Dog stopped when the client came to a halt. Always

The Dog waited quietly at the door until commanded to enter.* Yes
The Dog waited on the inside until able to return to heel position.* Yes

The Dog was within the prescribed distance of the client. Always
The Dog ignored the public, remaining focused on the client. Always
The Dog readily adjusted to speed changes. Always
The Dog readily turned corners–did not have to be tugged or jerked to change direction. Always
The Dog readily maneuvered through tight quarters. Always

The Dog responded readily to the recall command–did not stray away, seek attention from others, or trudge slowly.* Yes
The Dog remained under control and focused on the client.* Yes
The Dog came within the prescribed distance of the client.* Yes
The Service Dog came directly to the client.* Yes

The Dog responded promptly to the command to sit. Always
The Dog remained under control around food–not trying to get food and not needing repeated corrections.* Yes
The Dog remained composed while the shopping cart passed–did not shy away, show signs of fear, etc.* Yes
The Dog maintained a sit-stay while being petted by a stranger.* Yes

The Dog responded promptly to the command to down. Always
The Dog remained under control around the food–not trying to get food and not needing repeated corrections.* Yes
The Dog remained in control while the child approached – child should not taunt dog or be overly dramatic.* Yes

If the Service Dog jumps, turns, or shows a quick startle type reaction, that is fine. The Service Dog should not show fear, aggression, or continue to be affected by the noise.
The Service Dog remained composed during the noise distraction.* Yes

The Service Dog is unobtrusive and out of the way of patrons and employees as much as possible.* Yes
The Service Dog maintained proper behavior, ignoring food and being quiet.* Yes

When told to drop the leash, the team maintained control and the client got the leash back in position.* Yes

Another person can take the dog’s leash and the dog’s partner can move away without aggression or undue stress on the part of the dog.* Yes

The Service Dog stayed in relative heel position. Always
The Service Dog was calm around traffic.* Yes
The Service Dog stopped when the client came to a halt. Always

The Service Dog waited until commanded to enter the vehicle. Yes
The Service Dog readily entered the vehicle upon command. Yes

When the Service Dog did well, the client praised the Service Dog. Always
The Service Dog is relaxed, confident, and friendly. Always
The client kept the Service Dog under control. Always
The client was prepared with proper working materials and equipment in case of an access confrontation (laws, etc.). Yes

Were there any unique situations that made any portion of this test not applicable (write comments below)? I marked “yes” for dog waited until exited the vehicle but Randi physically removes him to keep his joints in the best shape (it is a very high truck). That’s the only “non-applicable” part.



From our super trainer, Brenda, who performed the Public Access Test with Wounded Warrior Denise and her now Service Dog, lab mix Sandy!!! Denise suffers from diabetes, PTSD, and needs medical alerts due to her struggles with the wheelchair and resulting difficulties.

“We performed the Public Access Test at Denise’s home, the supermarket, and Church’s Chicken. Denise and Sandy performed “controlled load and unload into a vehicle”, “approaching the building”, “controlled entry through a doorway”, “heeling through the building”, “six foot recall on lead”, “sitting on command” (mostly), “downing on command” (mostly), “ignoring noise distractions”, “restaurant etiquette”, “off-lead leash drop”, “dog taken by another person”, and “controlled exit” (mostly).

There was a bit missing during the “Team Relationship”, because Sandy received a grade of mostly for being completely relaxed and confident, and completely under control, but otherwise they did fine in this category.

Due to the fact that both Brenda and Denise use wheelchairs, they did not load into/out of a traditional vehicle; they took the bus. However, Brenda has seen Denise load/unload with her provider’s truck and the VIA Bus where Sandy performed the tasks perfectly!

Awesome job guys!!!!!

Vietnam Era Veteran and her SD

From our loving trainer, Brenda, who is working with Denise, who is a Vietnam Era Veteran with PTSD due to MST while on active duty, and her SDIT, Sandy.  She is currently in a wheelchair, and sometimes can walk with a cane.  Brenda writes:

At this session, Denise and Sandy nailed down all the basic commands! Sandy was a bit stubborn with learning “down” at first,  but was doing great by the end. We worked a lot on directions working with the wheelchair –right, left, back up, and turn around, so that Sandy knows where to go or be carefully situation when we go out in public for training.

At our next session, we met near the bus stop and took a bus to HEB. We walked around practicing Sandy’s ability to adjust to heeling in next to the wheelchair in all different directions. I am so impressed with how much Sandy has learned since our last session! Denise has been doing great work with her!  Sandy was very patient while Denise and I browsed around HEB, and caught on quickly not to sniff food or people. We went to Jack In the Box to restaurant train. Once we got Sandy under the table, she stayed under and laid down to take a nap while we ate. Sandy does not ever beg for food. When the bus was too tight of a squeeze for Denise to turn around in with the wheelchair on the way home, we discovered that the perfect way for them to board was Denise going in backward, and Sandy following her onto the bus!

Denise and Sandy

From our wonderful trainer, Brenda, who is working with Denise. Denise is a Vietnam Era Veteran with PTSD due to MST while on active duty. She also got hurt in basic training, which over the years led to her being in a wheelchair. She can walk and stand for short periods, but not much more.

“Denise, her SDIT, Sandy and I spent the first half of the session with Denise showing me all the things they had been practicing since our last session. Sandy is now doing exceptional at “sit”, “down”, “sitting back up from down position”, and “watch me with verbal and hand commands and without treats”; “waiting” for her treat when she does get one; she is “heeling” perfectly either next to Denise or just in front of her wheelchair. Sandy is now much better when she sees a dog or cat – no longer barking, and Denise can get Sandy’s focus back easier. I gave her some suggestions to fine tune her training even more. Denise needs Sandy to be able to go on the bus with her, so to prepare for that, we practiced with my wheelchair-accessible van. I was inside, lowered the ramp so Sandy would know to “sit/stay” while it’s lowered and get used to the sound, and then Denise would give her the command to “load”. She caught on quickly, so we will go on the bus the next session.

At the next session, we worked on public and bus training. This was Sandy’s first time on a bus and in the store. Sandy waited patiently for the ramp to come down and wasn’t bothered by it! I entered/exited the bus, first backwards to help coax her while Denise told Sandy to unload. She was very nervous and unsure the first time, but did much better on the return trip. She laid down and was perfect on the ride! At HEB, Sandy and Denise entered perfectly. At first, Sandy was a little distracted by the people and smells, but by the time we left, she wasn’t paying much attention to anyone or the food. She mostly stayed where she was supposed to and will do better navigating as she learns “left and right”. Denise is starting to work on that with her.

I dropped something loudly while I was rolling behind them to create a distraction. Sandy glanced back to see what the noise was, but didn’t stop walking! She was very patient while Denise looked at things and waited in line. I was very impressed for Sandy’s first time in HEB and on the bus! She is quickly catching on to what is expected of her and I anticipate her being even better when we work on it again this weekend. They are such a pleasure to work with!