Category Archives: Wichita Falls



Chelsea suffers from PTSD, anxiety, and hypervigilance. She also suffers from anger issues, and major depression,(recurrent, moderate).

Our Wichita Falls Trainer Barbara writes:

Chelsea and Athena stated they were ready for the PAT test. I agreed! We began in PetSmart, and walked past a busy dog training class. Athena ignored all the dogs, children and people in the class and continued with Chelsea, keeping her focus on Chelsea. Men, women, and children with and without hats were in PetSmart and Office Max, and did not affect Athena in any way. Athena always checked the rows as the team passed them, and when they stopped, Athena was looking behind or to the side of Chelsea – wonderful vigilance!

Chelsea asked a young lady to pet Athena, and she remained in the “sit” position and waited for her pat under the head. A new trainer at PetSmart (Robert) came and offered assistance, and we used him as another person to pet Athena. Athena remained in place and had one bark, to which Chelsea told her “it’s okay” and Athena relaxed, quieting down and allowing Robert to pet her. (Robert had squatted down within arm reach to Athena and he was looking away from her). This was a good thing, as Athena is usually more comfortable around women.

Athena and Chelsea did very well in Office Max, and managed to heel perfectly through the items in the isles as well as in tight areas, weaving in and out of them. Different men (employees) approached Chelsea to offer their assistance, and Athena was perfectly behaved.

At Taco Bell, a small child around 3 or 4 yrs old came up unnoticed behind Chelsea. Athena had an appropriate “grumble” alert, and Chelsea checked behind her to find the child taunting Athena. Chelsea told Athena “it’s okay – I’ve got it”, and Athena calmed down, put her head on the floor and rested. Chelsea went to pick up her order and returned to the table with Athena. Athena again went under the table, facing Chelsea so she was able to watch people coming up behind Chelsea. The child again began approaching Athena. I advised Chelsea about what was happening, and we called for the child’s father who was at the opposite end of Taco Bell. The father came and got the child and walked away.

Athena never moved and remained quiet after the initial alert on both occasions. Athena did not have any further grumbles or barks.

During the PAT, Athena gave “covers” very well when needed. Athena leans in on Chelsea’s leg and sits on Chelsea’s foot.

Location of where PAT took place: PetSmart, Office Max and Taco Bell in Denton, Texas.



Athena did not try to leave vehicle until given release command.

Athena waited in the vehicle until released.* Yes
Athena waited outside the vehicle under control. Yes
Athena remained under control while another dog was walked. Yes


Relative heel position, not straining or forging.

Athena stayed in relative heel position. Always
Athena was calm around traffic.* Yes
Athena stopped when Chelsea came to a halt. Always


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


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


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


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


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


If Athena jumps, turns, or shows a quick startle type reaction, that is fine. Athena should not show fear, aggression, or continue to be affected by the noise.

Athena remained composed during the noise distraction.* Yes


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


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


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


Athena stayed in relative heel position. Always
Athena was calm around traffic.* Yes
Athena stopped when Chelsea came to a halt. Always


Athena waited until commanded to enter the vehicle. Yes
Athena readily entered the vehicle upon command. Yes


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


Army Wounded Warrior Rosamaria and “Gunnie”.

From our trainer Barbara in Wichita Falls, who had her initial intake and assessment with Army Wounded Warrior Rosamaria and her SDIT, English Bulldog, “Gunnie”. Rosamaria suffers from PTSD, major depressive disorder, chronic anxiety, anger issues, night terrors, and panic attacks.

Barbara writes:

“The first session was at Rosa’s home. I performed an initial intake and assessment of Gunnie as a potential Service Dog.

Environment: I met Rosa and Gunnie at her home on a cool day, 32 degrees with a slight breeze. Rosa lives on the third floor of an apartment complex. Initially, I met Rosa and Gunnie in the parking lot of their apartment complex. Gunnie was walking on a harness and pulling in front of Rosa.

Initial Focus and Demeanor: Gunnie was more interested in me than his surroundings, and gravitated toward me. Gunnie was sometimes distracted by his surroundings, but quickly changed focus. Gunnie makes eye contact voluntarily and holds it for a few moments. Gunnie was relaxed, calm and had high energy.

Touch and Handling: Gunnie allows petting under his chin and is okay with gentle full-body touching. He accepts full-body massage-like pressure. Gunnie is comfortable with mouth handling, stroking, lifting lips to look at teeth, and I could safely put my hand in his mouth. Gunnie did pull away without teeth touching skin.

Response to Distractions: Gunnie did fine with people at a distance and basically ignored them. Rosa shared that Gunnie has alerted to strangers at night, and keeps his eyes on them until they are no longer in sight. Gunnie has no problems with any man, woman, child or other dogs. He does startle to loud noises, but recovers quickly. Gunnie whines at other dogs wanting to play with them. Rosa shared that cats are a definite NO NO for Gunnie. Gunnie goes to PetSmart and has no problems with people, children and dogs.

Trainability: Gunnie is totally food motivated and willingly followed through for sit, stand, down, watch me, heel, and he kept his focus on myself and Rosa, whoever was training.

Final Focus and Demeanor: Gunnie is more comfortable and focused on me especially with treats. Gunnie gave eye contact more easily now while in the home. Gunnie has been walking on a harness.

What extra tasks were worked today? We discussed buying items from Active Dogs through Service Dog Express for a discount, and Rosa stated she had a few items picked out. I encouraged her to send that information to SDE to receive her 18% discount. We also discussed using a prong collar and treats to help Gunnie to learn to heel in the correct position. Rosa stated that he pulled more initially, and was doing better but they haven’t really worked on it recently. Rosa heeled with Gunnie in her apartment with treats and Gunnie stayed with her and in heel position most of the time. We also discussed using one word commands; Rosa hasn’t decided which to use; sit or up.

What improvements were made since last session? Rosa stated Gunnie did not like going into the down position. Gunnie gave wonderful downs for me without hesitations along with treats.

What area(s) need attention? Figure out commands, keep them one word, and use consistently.

What homework was given for the next session? Work on Sit, Stand, Down and add the Stays. Work on correct heel position (Gunnie’s front leg in line with Rosa’s left leg) and don’t forget to play. Practice at least one hour a day.

What a beautiful team – and Gunnie is fantastic!! Rosa would like for Gunnie to help her break her panic attacks and flashbacks and help to calm her. She shared that Gunnie naturally leans on her legs or sits between her legs and leans one way when she is experiencing anxiety. We will work toward helping Rosa and Gunnie fine tune this skill to help Rosa the best way possible.”

First session with Wounded Warrior, James

From our trainer, Barbara, who had her first session with Wounded Warrior, James. James does not yet have a dog to work with, but we will help him find one. James was a rescue worker on 9/11 at the Pentagon while in the Army, and suffers from fear of crowds, panic attacks, depression, PTSD, night terrors, and has several triggers – especially anything that is burning reminds him of burning flesh and jet fuel. September is his most difficult month.

Barbara writes:

“Today’s initial intake session took place at James’ apartment in Irving, TX. We reviewed and signed the Service Dog Express contract, reviewed the Service Dog Express training manual, and discussed James’ needs and expectations. We talked about the items which would need to be purchased for the Service Dog and the veterinary care responsibilities.

Although it was difficult for him to talk about, James bravely shared that burning smells triggers the smell of jet fuel and burning flesh from 9/11. James is not able to handle being out in crowds, and this severely affects family outings. He also is triggered being around people of certain ethnicities; not trying to be prejudicial, but after tours in Iraq he constantly has the feeling of people out to kill him. James wants a Service Dog to alert him to his triggers and help him get in a safe spot to help deal with crowds so that he can stay at family outings. He would also like his Service Dog to help him with his night terrors and interrupt them, which would help his sleep. James’ wife is very supportive of James needing and getting a Service Dog. They have also discussed this with their 6 year-old daughter, explaining the difference between when the Service Dog is working and when she could play with the dog.

We discussed locating a dog for James. They have been in contact with a Rescue, “Operation Kindness” and the Irving Animal Shelter. He has also searched the Service Dog Express website to look at the Available Assessed Dogs. He understands the need for having any dog he is interested in needing to be assessed for temperament and trainability for Service Dog work.

We discussed rotating our appointments once a suitable dog is obtained and possibly meeting in Denton – it also depends on weather this time of year. Currently, James is working nights, and hopes to move to the day shift soon. In the meantime, we will begin our search for the best Service Dog for James!”