CONGRATULATIONS TO HEIDI AND HER NOW SERVICE DOG, Labrador/German Shepherd mix, BRYNN!!! THEY PASSED THEIR PUBLIC ACCESS TEST!!!!
Our trainer, Sue, has been working with Heidi, who suffers from anxiety attacks, crowd anxiety, dissociation in public and in times of high stress/PTSD exacerbation, memory deficits resulting in difficulty maintaining medication schedule, and depression symptoms.
Brynn passed every part of the Public Access Test – just had a little bit of difficulty doing quick turns – but soon adjusted.
We had another training session after the test when Heidi returned from her vacation to address a little bit of pulling issues at Costco. We tried the Head Halter in to try to curb Brynn’s pulling as the Martingale did not work well and a prong collar worked sometimes but needed to be replaced with a different tool. The Head Halter worked automatically! At Costco, I showed Heidi how to work on finding store anchors and safe zones to calm Heidi down from perceived threats and increased anxieties due to triggers. I showed Heidi how to use Brynn as a buffer by automatically placing Brynn in a cover between other humans or carts at places like checkout aisle intersections, and for Heidi and Brynn to be more alert to humans that are coming from right or left side, so that the client can also try to take routes without human traffic.
As homework, we also discussed new exercises to try for 3 weeks to have Brynn start reminding Heidi to take her medications. We also discussed starting using non-verbal (hand gestures) to train Brynn to do instant “covers”, in a heel position from the front, back, and sides.
Brynn no longer pulls on the leash! Heidi can go shopping at Costco in short sessions now that she knows how to find her anchors and safe zones. Brynn did awesome on the vacation with family and horses!