From our wonderful trainer, Jackie, who is working with Wounded Warrior, Duane. Duane suffers from PTSD, anxiety, and he can’t bend over well do to osteoporosis in his spine and a recent hip replacement. Duane had some initial sessions with one of our trainers, then due to logistical issues, was transferred to Jackie to continue training with Duane’s SDIT, “Apache”! Jackie has had two sessions with Duane so far. She writes:
“Veteran Duane and Apache met with me as their new trainer today. Apache is training to be Duane’s Mobility and PTSD Service Dog. This was Apache’s first training session out in public. Duane worked with Apache on” heeling” through aisles at Home Depot while handling distractions very well. Apache also learned to “sit-stay” at the end of every aisle on command! Duane and Apache will continue to work on this so that Apache will automatically sit at Duane’s side at every aisle, street corner, and upon stopping. We also took Apache out to the home and garden section, where Apache had to learn to follow Duane’s commands including “leave it” with an environment that is more full of smells and more similar to a natural “freedom environment” (ex: backyard, park).
At our next session, Duane and Apache completed their training session at HEB (the local grocery store). Duane and Apache had to integrate the skills of “heeling” and “sit-stay” at the end of aisles in a new and much busier environment. Duane got to practice navigating Apache through very crowded aisles, keeping Apache focused on Duane despite all of the appetizing smells and curious people! Apache responded very well to Duane’s directions, and completely ignored all the foods (even the fresh meat!). Duane and Apache practiced waiting at the Pharmacy so that Apache could get used to the small space, the busy environment, and just being out and waiting patiently in public. Apache will need to continue to work on this, as he was very curious by all of the people and took a little while to relax and get comfortable. All in all, they are doing wonderfully!