An update from trainer Sue, who is working with 6 year-old Rachel who has severe PTSD, and her 6 year old Brindle Greyhound mix, Piper. Piper has been raised with Rachel.
“Piper is a well-trained companion dog, as Rachel’s grandmother showed and trained collies for AKC Conformation and started obedience training with Piper as a puppy.
Piper knows sit, down, heel, cover, come, load and unload, waits and does not cross the front door threshold. She gets along with men, women, other dogs, cats, kids and strangers. Rachel’s mother, Rebecca, takes Rachel and Piper for walks and Piper automatically heels on Rachel’s left side and has been trained to obey Rachel’s commands. When Rachel gets stressed out and distraught, Piper immediately sits or lays with her to allow her to hug her until she is back to normal. Piper sleeps on her bed so that Rachel does not have nightmares. Piper puts the other two dogs that live at the house in check (in a mom dog way) when they are getting too crazy. They have a male Lab/Great Dane mix 2 year old and a 6 month old male Pit-bull/Lab mix puppy.
Rachel has many triggers. She has PTSD and has screaming fits, will freeze and tense up, shuts down and won’t communicate and even will go run and find a dark place to hide when there are loud noises, knocking, sirens, raised voices, fire alarms etc. Rachel can go to PetSmart and PetCo where Piper can go, and Rachel has no episodes as she has Piper there to comfort her. Rebecca cannot take Rachel to Walmart or HEB without Piper without having to leave because Rachel has an episode. Rebecca has to go to school to help comfort or pull Rachel out of her freeze/hiding trances. The school had a fire alarm last week, and Rebecca got called to the school as Rachel ran and hid and would not come out.
Piper seems to only need to refresh her obedience commands, sit stay, down stay and do an automatic sit when you stop walking. I left Rebecca with homework this week to work on these three things.
Rebecca and Susan (her mom) have requested my assistance in helping them get grant funding and would like me to be Piper’s trainer. I think they may be eligible for “SIP” to help them fund vet care and dog training and service dog equipment for Piper. They know that eventually they will need to start training another dog that can step in to be Rachel’s Service Dog when it is time to retire Piper as a Service Dog, but hopefully, that will be sometime down the road. Piper is almost at the point where she can pass her PAT.”