Every Dog Has It’s Day
“Every dog has its day dog, when the big dog throws him a bone. One moment in the sunshine, when your ducks line up in a row.” – Toby Keith –
The lyric quoted above fits my next story so fitting its eerie. I am currently training a German Shepherd puppy named Toby.
I received an inquiry about a week ago. I heard desperation on the other end of the line and began to stop what I was doing to listen more attentively. A mother, was looking for help for her adult daughter, who was in need of emotional support, comfort, and stability. “My daughter adopted a puppy about 30 days ago and we found a trainer but she doesn’t certify service dogs, do you do that?”
We spoke for about thirty minutes and agreed to meet so I could evaluate little Toby to be sure he had the right temperament and stamina to go through the training to possibly become a psychiatric service dog.
The morning we were due to meet I received another phone call from the Mother, she was frantic and in tears. Her daughter had a breakdown and decided Toby was too much responsibility for herself and took him back to the Denver Dumb Friends League the night before.
After explaining to the Mother, what my plans were and how I can help, she gave her daughter a call and convinced her to call me. Meanwhile, the Mother followed my advice and contacted the Denver Dumb Friends League and explained the situation and asked that Toby be held. Her daughter did contact me and once I explained that Toby would be staying with me for 12 weeks and doing training through the most difficult times of puppyhood, she agreed to go get Toby and meet with me as scheduled.
They arrived for their appointment, Mother, Daughter, and Toby. I observed body language, interactions, obedience for a 12 week old puppy, and did my standard temperament test. Toby is one of the most stable balanced puppies I’ve ever observed. He has the “gift”. This first week he has proven that he is up for the task. He’s been on a field trip daily since his arrival, is understanding that wearing his training vest means he must act responsibly in his surroundings and when it’s off he understands that he can be a “dog” but still has to behave with dignity and have manners.
Toby has been enrolled into Denver Dog Works psychiatric service dog program, he will undergo 12 weeks of intensive training with my staff and I. Toby will then return home to his handler and participate in weekly training sessions for the next 12 weeks and then begin his public access training and polishing his service commands. Toby will be learning approximately 60 verbal commands of which 20 commands will have had signals.
Follow Toby through his training program, I will be writing this article weekly giving you updates.
Michele is Denvers Dog Training Examiner, a certified canine trainer at Denver Dog Works and the co-host of the Dog Doctor Radio Show.