Catt and Baron

From our dear trainer, Catherine, in Virginia – and update on her own Service Dog, beautiful Baron!!!


Service Dog Express's photo.

My Service Dog, Baron, is nearly 11 months old now, and after much debate with myself about when was the appropriate time to neuter him, I decided to

do it as soon as possible. He was neutered last week. I was an absolute disaster the day he was there; my childhood dog passed away during a routine surgery years ago, so I just was so worried about Baron.

I have discovered I am a very overprotective momma when it comes to Baron. Ever since my wonderful dog, Duke, recently died of a very aggressive brain tumor at such a young age (2), I worry (sometimes a little too much LOL) over Baron. At not even a year old, the vet receptionists all know my phone number when it pops up on their incoming calls! But he’s perfectly healthy!

Baron and I have continued our training since he passed his Public Access Test some time ago, and the number of commands he knows is astonishing to me. We’ve been invited to speak again to some of the Companion Animal classes here at Virginia Tech and I’m very excited about that!

Baron has helped me so much through my struggles with my health. As you may remember, I have chronic Lyme disease as well as a couple co-infections. I’ve had my PICC line in for about 3 months now – I believe it’s getting removed in a week or so – and have been on a lot of medications. I’m FINALLY starting to feel better!!! So thank goodness for that. One thing that has come up through all this is that I was originally diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or Dysautonomia) after doctors examined me, because I had a lot of instances where I would be totally fine and then I would fall over unconscious. Baron alerts to it! So, since I’ve had him, I’ve been able to either leave class or sit down so that when I drop, it’s not in a public or dangerous situation. In the last month or so there has been some debate on if I actually have POTS or if these are mini drop seizures. Still debating that, but either way Baron keeps me very safe from them!

So now on to list the massive number of commands he knows:

– Sit/Stay
– Down/Stay
– Here (our version of Come)
– Heeling – both on and off leash
– Load Up
– Let’s Go – getting out of the car
– Drop – drop it
– Cover – front and back
– Get It – pick up and bring whatever I point at (literally anything, including a piece of bacon I made him retrieve without eating…I’m a meanie I know)
– Under – going under table, chair, etc.
– Focus – eye contact
– Interrupting anxious behaviors
– Waking me up from night terrors
– Alerting to my “drop episodes”
– Pull – helping me up stairs or hills
– Lay – deep pressure therapy
– Place – go to your bed
– Tug – open pull doors/cabinets or pulling doors closed
– Close It – closing doors/cabinets
– Light – turning lights on (we haven’t learned turning them off yet)
– Push – pushing button for elevator or handicap door
– Get _____ – he knows the difference between Phone, Book, Meds, Keys, Leash
– Hold – he likes to carry things for me LOL like grocery lists. He’ll just carry it around wherever we go
– Back Up – backwards heel
– Out – get out of whatever room he’s currently in
– Put it – point at table or wherever and he’ll put his object on it
– Take it to ____ – heknows me and my mom so far
– Shake
– Rollover – by far his favorite command ever; if I’m trying to teach him something new and he doesn’t know what I’m asking he just rolls over!
– Around – run around me in a circle
– Bang – play dead

As you can see, there are a LOT of commands LOL! He loves to learn new things though and he is such an absolute joy to train. There are of course some fun commands in there, too, because he has to have something to show off to the kids we speak to.  Anyways, that is my update! I’ll attach some pictures of Baron too! In one of them he is wearing his “doggy pajamas”. Yup you read that right!! Baron blew out his entire undercoat in November and didn’t grow one back…he’s odd – what can I say. He’s a shorter-haired Golden Retriever and he also has very thin hair. So he gets cold – he has 3 pairs of doggy pajamas (I only have pictures of the one) that he has to wear some days when it’s below a certain temperature. Otherwise, he refuses to go outside and if I force him out, his teeth chatter and he shivers. I think he’s actually a giant chihuahua, but that’s just me LOL.

Catt & Baron