The training of our dogs is performed on a daily basis by an excellent group of trainers. Trainers work with our dogs in three different phases: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. Dogs in the beginning phase train in basic obedience, socialization, and kennel manners. The intermediate phase introduces public access training and going out to places with trainers. They also start their task training, learning commands such as block, cover, and brace.
When you encounter a service dog team during travel, the best thing you can do is respectfully admire them from afar. You may be tempted to pet the dog, but remember – the dog is working and should not be distracted. Keep in mind that you do not know what disability the handler may have. Distracting a service dog could cause the dog to miss a cue that his handler may be going into a medical emergency.
When our warriors are out in public with their dogs and families, so much is going through their minds. They want to enjoy their time out, but they are also focused on things they cannot control. It can sometimes be a challenge in certain places or situations to have a dog. So many things can happen, but you can help by making sure you understand the things you should not do around them.
Do Not Talk to the Dog While Ignoring the Warrior
There is one question that all puppy raisers are asked: how can you raise a puppy just to give it to someone else? It is a hypothetical question, and here is how we answer it. We don’t close our hearts off - that is impossible. We don’t claim it will be easy – it is not. One thing we certainly do, however, is just accept the experience for what it is. We know from the beginning that this isn’t about us. We are choosing to surrender to the cause. Throughout the experience, we try our very best to care for the dog without getting too involved. But, that doesn’t happen.
Most of us have experienced the soothing comfort that an animal can bring. One minute we are down in the dumps, then with a quick lick to our face, a dog makes us smile. It makes sense that dogs can help ease the symptoms of PTSD, but how exactly?