Category Archives: New Mexico

Flying With a Service Dog: 5 Required Skills – Anything PawsableAnything Pawsable

Great information about flying with your Service Dog. Of course, for Service Dog Express clients please remember  to fill out the Airline Assistance form under “Members” on our website when you have booked your flight so we can call the airline on your behalf and make sure everything will be smooth ahead of time.

Flying with a Service Dog requires your dog to have great manners and some basic skills. Here are some behaviors that will make your experience smoother.

Source: Flying With a Service Dog: 5 Required Skills – Anything PawsableAnything Pawsable

Barbara and her beloved Beast

From our wonderful trainer in New Mexico, Michelle, who had her first session with Barbara, who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and severe PTSD, and her SDIT, “Beast”.

Michelle writes:

I met with Barbara today for an assessment of “Beast”, who is a beautiful blue American Bully. Beast is a gorgeous, stout 1 year and 3 months old boy.

Commands: Beast had been taught his commands in the following languages: German, Russian, and English. It is outstanding. He tends to watch for Barbara when she walks away from him, will move to a “sit”, then lay back down upon her return. They have an amazing bond. Beast is definitely not in a hurry; he wanders the yard checking on the safety of his people and dog family.

Temperament: mellow, loving, gentle, and has been carefully raised around Barbara’s 4-month old son, her female Rottweiler, and her 4 year-old blonde American Bully.

Outings: Barbara’s family takes Beast everywhere they can. At church, he lays down on the floor and does not draw attention to himself, and interaction with the children is a treat only if mom says it is OK. He absolutely loves children. He is welcome at Walmart without his vest, and does spectacularly.

Medical: When Barbara has an episode of anxiety, all 69 lbs of this Beast sits on her chest immediately, making her relax and come out of her panic attack.

Confrontation: When out, Barbara gives commands when being approached by other dogs, causing Beast to submit and lay down. However, if her sister is in accompaniment, then he will back up and protect the younger of the daughters.

I know that Barbara is lucky to have Beast as her companion. He is the epitome of a perfect dog!!!! I know this team will be an asset to the world of Service Dogs and education that any breed, if trained well from a young age and with careful precision, can become a Service Dog.

Suzy and SDiT Jake

From our trainer Michelle, in New Mexico. She is working with Suzy, who suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in her left leg, which is going into the right foot now.

“I met with SDIT Jake and handler Suzy yesterday in Alamogordo, New Mexico. We spend the approximately 30 minutes just reviewing items that needed to be handled and gone over as an overview. Our last meeting was before Thanksgiving 2014.

Jake is now 9 months old, and is a handful at times. Since there was a 2 month hiatus, we worked on regaining Jake’s focus and “leave it”. I am happy to report Suzy’s husband is now back from deployment, and readjusting at home with the family and Service Dog.

During my observations, I noticed Jake not listening to Suzy, but instead, following her husband Ted and watching him. I believe that Jake will do fine, he just needs to be reminded that he has to focus on Suzy first. I reminded Suzy that she needs to reinforce that bond between her and Jake. Jake may be focusing on Ted to make sure all is okay with him after his deployment.

Jake knows when he is working the vest is on. He is a little timid of the new laminate flooring that is being laid down in the house. Since he had an episode where he slipped once, he really does not like walking on it or on the floor in the kitchen. We began using baby steps with positive rewards for his movement into the other rooms with the laminate flooring. (Was cute, like watching a dog on an ice skating rink).

When we stood in the kitchen, Jake would not enter, and was good about listening; however, Jake believes it is okay to scavenge for scraps when the kids get up from the table. Although he prefers to not enter the kitchen, Suzy would like for him to be able to escort her through the kitchen into the laundry room. She is going to work on the invisible barrier for the kitchen when the kids are eating, and making sure all leftover scraps are cleaned up.

Jake has had accolades of praise from the doctors and physical therapists when he joins Suzy at appointments. The staff even ask first if they may approach! After working on “leave it”, and trying to get him to refocus on Suzy when Ted walks in and out of the room, we ran Jake for about 15 minutes, and he did great. Lots of encouragement for him to “bring” and “give” the ball. It was very rewarding when Ted gave Jake a can of soda and he “brought” the soda to Suzy (in a round-about way) – but it is definitely a start!
Suzy is now back to the grindstone, and working with Jake. I am excited to report that he will begin official training for his CGC, even though we know its not required; this will begin in March.

WOOHOO!!!! Great job Suzy, keep up the awesome work. I look forward to seeing how Jake does when he begins his “Puppy training.”



Abby is a 2 year old deaf Dalmatian, who Michelle (also our trainer in New Mexico) has trained as her Service Dog using hand signals to perfection. Abby absolutely LOVES when that vest goes on and they go to work! Michelle has mobility and severe pain issues, and Abby’s bond with Michelle is so close that Abby can sense every time Michelle is in pain. She offers Michelle light mobility, and helps to calm her when her pain reaches unbearable proportions by alerting and snuggling. Abby can tell when Michelle is getting weak or sick even before Michelle realizes it.

Michelle drove all the way from New Mexico to have her dog properly evaluated by me for the Public Access Test. We did every single command in the test, and Abby was perfect. She went under at the restaurant, loaded and unloaded safely, can sit, down, sit/stay, down/stay, walk with dropped leash and stay in a perfect heel, is not fazed by visual distractions, and perfectly navigated through Target by a shopping cart, just in a heel, was able to have me take the leash while Michelle moved 20 feet away, and did meet and greets with children, male and female adults – everything. And she does it all with hand signals and leash work. Abby THRIVES at this – the attention she drew from shoppers was overwhelming – and she loved every minute of it!

Toward the end of the session, Michelle started looking pale. Abby immediately changed her focus to Michelle and I noticed Michelle’s color. Indeed, shortly after that, Michelle began developing a severe migraine. At that point, Abby was by her side, focused on Michelle, applying deep pressure and comforting her. Abby was the one who let us know her handler had had enough! (the test had already been passed).

Michelle has done an absolutely amazing job training Abby. She could have easily given up because training a deaf dog is obviously much harder than training a dog that can hear – but Michelle has worked tirelessly with Abby – never pushing her past her limits. Abby is gentle, takes treats delicately, and clearly defies any negative stereotypes about Dalmatians and their ability to be Service Dogs. You should see the joy on Abby’s face when that vest comes out – and the joy she feels is palpable when others ask to pet her. She even automatically goes into a “down” when a little child wants to pet her.

Abby and my Service Dog, Bonnie, loved being reunited. They met over a year ago. Michelle and her boyfriend Nate had a wonderful visit. I am so proud of the two of them!!

Again, congratulations to Michelle and dear, sweet Abby!  Laurie

Suzy and SDiT Jake

A great update from our client, Suzy, in Alamogordo, NM, who is training with Michelle and SDIT, Jake!

“Well, as you know from pictures last night, we finally got Jake’s vest! Today we went to Walmart and he did great. Between him just stepping up and getting his vest on, and heeling beside the cart, we didn’t have a single problem. I did have to remind Jake to keep his focus every now and then when people walked too close, and he saw another SD in the store. He even did a cover without me asking! The only problem was loading up into the truck after we were done. I’m going to start working on that more. Now unloading – he’s a little exuberant about. So I will also work on making sure he waits and is full control before he unloads – always with my hand on his leash. He is going to be a great asset to me when he’s fully trained. After my husband gets back and I’ll have a second person to assist me for safety reasons, I’ll be able to do some stay training in public.”

Unbelievable kindness

Unbelievable kindness. Ken, a Wounded Warrior who has Service Dog “Mozart”, does this amazing artwork. He is donating proceeds from the sale of it to help wounded warriors get funding for Service Dog training with Service Dog Express!!! THANK YOU KEN!!!!!

Helping Veterans suffering from PTSD the oppurtunity to adopt  service dogs to assist in their rehabilitation at no cost
Helping Veterans suffering from PTSD the opportunity to adopt service dogs to assist in their rehabilitation at no cost



“I arrived to meet Shauna for her test with SDiT Kilo. From the very beginning, Shauna had control over Kilo, and prevented him from jumping and allowed me into her residence. We then went to Petsmart since I had SDiT Abby and puppy Aspen with me to assist with distractions.

Once in the vehicle, Kilo seemed a little excited, but then he settled down and rode well in the car. Kilo waited for his commands for entering and exiting the vehicle.

Shauna was then able to walk with Kilo both with and without his leash, and he did awesome! Shauna had a moment where she started to lose her stability, and Kilo went to her right side pushing on her leg to help her stay balanced. VERY NICE WORK!!!! She never had to hold onto his leash. Kilo was then placed in a down and stay, and Shauna even walked away and around the corner and recalled him, and he came without hesitation and went right into a sit position. Nice work.

Upon going to eat, Kilo laid at the counter until Shauna was ready to go sit down. Upon getting a table, he laid right at her feet. Upon completion of his PAT, Shauna encouraged a young boy that it was ok to pet Kilo. The little boy was scared since he had never been around dogs before. They both did great. Kilo was very gentle.

Nice work to the newest SD Team, Shauna and Kilo!”


Look whose adopted beautiful Nelly!

Look whose adopted beautiful Nelly! Nelly was rescued and fostered by Cherry Jenkins of In Dog We Trust!! Jason traveled all the way from El Paso to meet Nelly! Our trainer, Michelle, in New Mexico, will be training him.

Jason is a Wounded Warrior who served for 12 years. He suffers from PTSD, TBI, frequent migraines, flashbacks, night terrors, and anxiety. Let’s hope wonderful Nelly will be his best companion to help him as a Service Dog for all his troubles!!!

Beto and his SDiT Osito

From our trainer Michelle, who is in New Mexico.

“I had the pleasure of meeting with Beto and his SDiT Osito. Beto is a Vietnam Veteran with memory loss, diabetes and agent orange.

Training went well and we worked on making sure Beto knows how to hold the leash to prevent Osito from running off when the team works together. Osito also worked on “Leave it.” He does that perfectly! While working on Sit/stay and down/stay, not so much. I have learned from watching this team that SDiT Osito needs to be at Beto’s feet in case something happens with Beto’s medical condition, as Osito is extremely bonded to Beto. SDiT Osito has also learned when Beto says “Medicine” he comes and alerts Beto to take his meds! This is awesome, as it was a concern in the beginning.

SDiT Osito does alert to Beto’s diabetes – low and high! Good work team! I believe that with the new training, Osito will be ready for testing within the next 2 visits. He is a perfect little dog, and is still getting used to his vest – he is adorable.

Great work Team…. Keep up the work and training!