By: TJ Smith
Published: Monday, October 17th, 2016
Service Dogs and Boise, Idaho go hand and hand thanks to Companion Training. Did you know that Companion Training has been training highly skilled Service Dogs locally since 1997? Boise is such an amazing place to live, play and work. Everyone here at Companion Training absolutely loves serving our community here in Idaho.
Over the years we have mastered and specialized in many different categories. Of service dog training. Because we are passionate about helping improve people’s lives, we have developed techniques and systems in producing the most amazing Mobility Dogs, Psychiatric Service Dogs, Diabetic Alert Dogs and Service Dogs for Children on the spectrum.
Although we could go on and on about the Service Dog categories that we love to train, this article could become a bit long to read. After specializing in Service Dog training for so many years, the fact is that we can help with most any goal you have for your own Service Dog needs. Simply call us and set up a consultation and we can help tailor everything to your specific needs. Let us help you with our years of experience. If suitable, we can help you choose the breed and training plan that will excel far beyond your expectations. We look forward to helping more friends in Boise and the surrounding areas of Idaho.
Service Dog Specialist
By: TJ Smith
Published: Thursday, August 18th, 2016
Service Dogs that help with autism, diabetes and even anxiety disorders can be incredibly life changing. But how do you know if a Service Dog is right for your child? The answer to this question definitely takes some soul searching and lots of research.
As a Service Dog specialist, it has been inspiring to see the benefits that my clients have experienced in incorporating a Service Dog into their lives.
I’ve seen teenagers on the spectrum make great strides in their communication barriers; I’ve seen the calming results of a young child having the pressure therapy of their dog while in a hospital setting. Some of the main reasons these dogs make such a difference is the intense partnership that can be formed between the child and the dog.
Here is a very short list of just a few of the benefits a service animal can provide:
Anxiety & Social Disorders:
One of the most overlooked benefits of Service Dogs is the improvement to family dynamics, reduced family stress and the therapeutic benefits to both the child as well as the parents.
As you are researching the benefits to whether a Service Dog is right for your family. The best advice I can give you is to find a highly experienced Service Dog Specialist to consult with. Take the time to sit down and have a meeting with the specialist to discuss the pros and cons to getting a Service Dog. Your specialist will help you assess whether a Service Dog will be helpful in your unique situation. This is one of those categories in life where experience cannot be overlooked. The name of the game is quality results; otherwise what could have been a monumental lifestyle improvement can turn into a horrendous mess.
If you have read through this article then you are definitely dedicated to finding the best solutions to help your family. As a Service Dog Specialist in Boise, Idaho I can help you map out the game plan on how to get the perfect Service Dog for your needs. Simply contact us when you’re ready to take the next step.
Service Dog Specialist
By: TJ Smith
Published: Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Companion Training will be doing a series of blogs for the month of October on the many various types of Service Dogs. The reason there are over a dozen different specializations for Service Dogs is because dog’s have such a powerful and specialized sense of smell. Have you ever wondered just how powerful and precise your dog’s sense of smell is? What type of service dog would your dog be best at? Keep your eyes out as we dive into the world of canines and their sense of scents!
The Canine Nose
A dog’s nose not only dominates their face, but their brain, as well. In fact, a dog relies on their sense of smell to interpret the world, in much the same way as people depend on their sight. Although this contrasting world view may be hard to imagine, know that your dog interprets as much information as you do. However, they do much of this by smelling an object or animal, not by staring at it.
Born to sniff
To gain more respect for your dog’s olfactory ability, compare it to a person’s nose. Inside the nose of both species are bony scroll-shaped plates, called turbinates, over which air passes. A microscopic view of this organ reveals a thick, spongy membrane that contains most of the scent-detecting cells, as well as the nerves that transport information to the brain. In humans, the area containing these odor analyzers is about one square inch, or the size of a POSTAGE STAMP. If you could unfold this area in a dog, on the other hand, it may be as large as 60 square inches, or just under the size of a piece of typing paper. Though the size of this surface varies with the size and length of the dog’s nose, even flat-nosed breeds can detect smells far better than people. The following table shows the number of scent receptors in people and several dog breeds.
Your dog’s nose has a pattern of ridges and dimples that, in combination with the outline of its nostril openings, make up a nose print believed to be as individual and unique as a human being’s fingerprints. Companies even register nose prints as a way of identifying and helping to locate lost or stolen dogs, a system that is now being used around the world.
Look Forward to next week’s Blog!
The dog’s nose is quite possibly their most powerful organ; it is certainly one of the most dynamic of all animal systems, with activities that range from basic smell detection, to sensing fear, to memory, to emotions, to mate- and pack-selection, on to a genetic history carried from one generation to the next. Stay tuned as we continue this month’s series of blogs on the various types of Service Dogs there are today!
By: Companion Webmaster
Published: Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
Make a donation to the test family, to help them train a dog for their child (name) with autism. This family works in Boise, Idaho and needs a little help to pay for the training of their service dog.
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By: TJ Smith
Published: Monday, August 11th, 2014
Animals have long been used to provide unique services for individuals who need specialized assistance in some way. In addition to providing such basic services as security and protection, animals have been used to provide emotional and psychological comfort and support to people. Service Dogs have proven to be incredibly effective in ways that other approaches have not, and these animals can make a profound difference in the lives of so many individuals and families in need.
The increasing incidence of autism spectrum disorders has resulted in an increase in therapies designed to treat this condition. A recent development has been the training of Service Dogs to specialize in working with persons with autism spectrum disorders. Proponents of “Service Dogs” assert that these dogs can support the unique challenges of persons on the spectrum.
Service Dogs provide a “calming presence” that “can minimize and often eliminate emotional outbursts.” Some advocates believe that such dogs can provide “focus through which the child can interact with other children. This helps increase the opportunity for the child to develop social and language skills.” Burrows, et al. (2008a) believe that Service Dogs can positively influence children with autism in the areas of arousal and sensory stimulation, improving concerns in these areas. In addition, dogs can function as a “transitional object,” allowing the child with autism to first bond with the dog, an easier creature with which to do so, and this may eventually increase bonding with humans.
As with many strategies and treatments when it comes to autism therapy, one must ask about the evidence of effectiveness of Service Dogs. Literature has been released that describes two primary positive outcomes:
· Enhanced physical safety and security
· Enhanced social, learning, and emotional improvements
When reviewing the literature for research on the effect of autism dogs, there are many testimonials and case studies. Most of the research done on this topic consists of qualitative research, involving interviewing as the means for collecting data.
Studies show support for the notion that Service Dogs provide increased physical safety and security. Forexample, Burrows and Adams (2005) and Burrows, Adams, and Millman (2008a) reported that parents consistently claimed that the dogs prevented children from bolting and running away. Parents relaxed more during bedtime knowing that the dog would alert them should the child with autism leave the bed or exhibit some other potentially dangerous behavior. Because of the dog’s ability to physically prevent the child with autism from behaving in a dangerous way, parents felt more in control and calmer. Parents reported immediate satisfaction and reduction in concerns about safety issues.
Some parents noticed new skill development. For example, after being with their dogs for a period of time, some children began regulating walking pace and developing improved motor skills and control. Burrows, et al. (2008a) found that some of their participants began learning dog-care tasks (e.g., feeding the dog by taking lid off food container; putting food in bowl; putting bowl on floor; commanding dog to eat).
Additionally, motor skills improved in some children who learned to pet the dog. The authors also found that, according to parents, the children exhibited decreased anxiety, were calmer, and engaged in fewer tantrums and other disruptive behaviors. Some parents even reported improved bedtime routines, and that the children in general appeared happier.
Using a different approach; researchers investigated the impact of such dogs on the mood and social abilities of children with autism. The researchers systematically varied three different conditions consisting of a simple toy, stuffed dog, and real dog. They found that the participants demonstrated greater positive mood and “focus” on the environment when in the presence of the Service Dog.
The reason that Service Dogs are often effective in helping treat and look after children with autism is that they have an uncanny ability to bond with people, including children, on a deep level. While many children with autism have trouble articulating themselves, this is not necessary with a dog. This type of connection, when paired with proper Service Dog training, is what makes dog treatment for autism so effective.
Service Dogs are consistently showing promise as an effective autism treatment method in children. However, like many treatment methods, there is still ongoing research and as with most healthcare treatment options, a service dog is no guarantee for improvement in condition. However, it can be an vital, remarkable, and cost-effective solution to a number of difficulties for a child with a disability. The key is to evaluate the situation as carefully as possible, keeping expectations realistic and conditions flexible.
Service Dog Trainer
· Burrows, K. E., & Adams, C. L. (2005). Evaluating the benefits of service dogs for children with autism spectrum disorders. Retrieved on October 21, 2001 at www.cnaf.net/documents/NationalServiceDogsStudy.pdf
· Burrows, K. E., Adams, C. L., & Millman, S. T. (2008a). Factors affecting behavior and welfare of service dogs for children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 11, 42-62.
· Burrows, K. E., Adams, C. L., & Spiers, J. (2008b). Sentinels of safety: Service dogs ensure safety and enhance freedom and well-being for families with autistic children. Qualitative Health Research, 18(12), 1642-1649.
By: TJ Smith
Published: Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Have you ever seen someone with a Service Dog out at the mall or downtown and wondered what it does? Service Dogs can help people out in a variety of ways from acting as a detection system for a diabetic with blood sugar swings, to fetching their medicine out of the cabinet if they face mobility impairments. The training of Service Dogs can take a long time and is often very involved due to the extraordinary level of training they complete. Puppies sometimes start training at eight weeks old as they begin to familiarize themselves with their surroundings and learn commands.
Companion Training® provides the nation’s “gold standard” testing system for Service Dog behavior. Our Public Access Test® establishes the criteria for a well-mannered Service Dog. It does not test the Service Dog’s task-oriented skills—such as opening doors or carrying things to help its hander—but concentrates instead on the Service Dog’s behavior in public. They also undergo task training which is specific to the disability of the person they will be assisting.
Service Dogs trained by Companion Training® wear blue vests and assist with a range of daily tasks that may be difficult, painful or impossible to perform for their handler. Below is a list of the top 10 behaviors that a Service Dog and their handler should display while out in public:
Service dogs assist people who have health challenges such as mobility impairments, chronic fatigue issues, balance problems and many other health challenges. Please notice we do not use the word “disabled”. We train Service Dogs to help people improve their “abilities” not focus on disabilities. At Companion Training® our motto is “Choose ability, not disability”!
Companion Training offers Service Dog training in Boise, Idaho. We also help people with their Service Dog needs from all across the country. Get started today by scheduling a Consultation with one of our professionals by clicking on the “Contact” link above.
By: TJ Smith
Published: Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
It has long been suspected that man’s best friend has a special ability to sense when something is wrong with us. With a dog’s sense of smell being vastly better than a human’s and new research being brought forward we’re learning that dogs can provide a screening method for lung, breast, prostate, and multiple other cancers. How are dogs doing this? First you have to understand that dogs can detect odors at concentrations as low as one part per trillion, identifying scents with the human nose you have six million sensor receptors dedicated to smell – dogs however have 250 million.
One of the first notions that dogs could smell cancer was put forward in 1989 by two London dermatologists, who described the case of a woman asking for a mole to be cut out of her leg because her dog would constantly sniff at it, even through her trousers, but ignore all her other moles. It turned out she had malignant melanoma – a deadly form of skin cancer. It was caught early enough to save her life.
The scientific basis of the ability of dogs to detect the odor of cancer is believed to be linked to Volatile Organic Compounds produced by malignant cells. Dogs with their incredible sense of smell can detect the minute odors produced by the malignant cells, which is now understood to be associated with many cancers. There have been hundreds of studies published on the dog’s sensitivity and specificity at detecting early stage cancer. Most of the research points to accuracy levels well above 90% for the early detection of cancer.
Compelling evidence is showing that cancers hidden beneath the skin can be detected simply by dogs examining the odors emitted by the skin, urine or in the breath. Right now breath samples are being used to prove that dogs can detect cancer, and through this study scientists and doctors are trying to come up with a Breathalyzer test that works as good as the dog’s nose. So far, the only ones that can smell cancer in early stages are the dogs. There are many great benefits to dogs detecting cancers such as low cost, non-invasive screening, and the ability to be over 90% accurate.
Dogs smell like we see. We walk into a room and see the room; a dog walks into the room and smells the room. As more studies continue it is incredibly to think of what a difference dogs could make, providing quick, painless and early cancer detection in humans. It is the cancer researchers’ hope that in the future dogs can help detect cancer from the comfort of a doctor’s office.
By: TJ Smith
Published: Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Man’s best friend can truly be your child’s best friend, according to recent studies on the interaction between dogs and children with autism. Reports from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state that approximately one in 88 U.S. children will develop an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is characterized by significant social, communication and behavioral difficulties. Many parents of individuals on the autism spectrum wonder about the potential benefits of Service Dog assistance or have heard about the profound impact Service Dogs can have on children with autism from another parent. Whatever prompts you now is the time to look into the amazing benefits a Service Dog can have not only on your child with autism but your whole family.
For many children with autism, social interactions with strangers can be awkward and anxiety-inducing. But if the stranger is a gentle golden retriever puppy with huge paws and a quiet snore, something remarkable happens, anxiety disappears and conversations start. There are multiple studies showing that Service Dogs consistently change the lives of children with autism for the better. Service Dogs are a wonderful addition to families with children who have autism and can even accompany children when they are away from home, helping to keep them calm and comforted. Service Dogs Benefit Children with Autism by providing:
The Service Dog acts as a physical anchor for the child with autism. The dog is trained to stop on command thus preventing the child from entering into potentially dangerous situations and thus giving time to intervene.
Independence and Public Outings
Families are able to pursue activities together that may have been difficult in the past due to concerns for the child’s safety, difficulty in coping with new environments or managing the child’s behavioral outbursts and anxiety in public settings. The Service Dog allows the child to walk more independently of the caregiver and acts as a constant companion to the child. The child can assist with the daily care of their service dog, thus furthering opportunities for independence, and a sense of responsibility for another.
Service Dogs may help modify behavior by providing a calming influence, allowing the child to cope with transitions between places, activities, and changes in routines.
The Service Dogs are seen as bridging the social gap between children with autism and others by providing opportunities for communication and assisting with the integration of children with peers and the public.
Pets quickly become a treasured member of the family, offering love and companionship. For a family that includes a child with autism, the rewards can be even greater.
By: TJ Smith
Published: Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Science and studies have shown that dogs that have been through Diabetic Alert Dog training have proven to be highly effective. Recent scientific research completed, provided information on a study where 17 Diabetic Alert Dog owners were monitored and paired with Diabetic Alert Dogs that were trained to alert owners of low blood sugars. Trained alerting behaviors included; licking, pawing, jumping, staring, vocalizing, and even fetching a blood testing kit. The researchers relied on the Diabetic Alert Dog’s owners to share information about how effective the dogs were at keeping the owners within healthy blood sugar ranges. According to the study, all 17 of the Diabetic Alert Dog’s owners said they would not change their decision to get a Diabetic Alert Dog based on the perceived health benefits they experienced, which included:
At the conclusion of the study researchers pointed to the value of the Diabetic Alert Dogs, for increasing glycemic control, client independence, and consequently quality of life and even reducing the costs of long-term health care.
Why should you consider a Diabetic Alert Dog?
Medical science has made amazing advances in diabetic detection and treatment in the last fifty years, in many instances drastically raising and even eliminating lowered life expectancy projections for people with insulin-dependent diabetes (also known as type 1 diabetes, juvenile diabetes mellitus, sugar diabetes and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes). Tools like diabetic ID bracelets, diabetes insulin pumps, finger-prick blood glucose testing kits, and real-time continuous glucose monitoring have drastically reduced instances of long-term diabetic complications in the insulin-dependent community.
However, most of the available hypoglycemic alert equipment relies on accurate and continuous input from the diabetic, which is only effective when the diabetic is awake, alert, and thinking about it. In addition to human and mechanical errors, there are many factors which can mitigate the efficacy of these tools. These range from temporary inattentiveness (such as when the diabetic is sleeping or concentrating on something else for a period of time) to medical complications such as insulin resistance or hypoglycemic unawareness. In cases with diabetic children, a child’s potential inability to unerringly recognize and effectively communicate blood sugar changes can be a major stumbling block for caretakers trying to manage their disease.
The danger here is that blood sugar can drop rapidly in anyone using insulin therapy, resulting in disorientation, confusion, temporary mobility impairment and a whole host of other compromising symptoms. If left untreated, hypoglycemia can even result in unconsciousness, coma or death in as few as twenty minutes. High blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia, is not as immediately dangerous as hypoglycemia, but can take a terrible toll on a diabetic’s health over a period of time.
A Diabetic Alert Service dog will alert a diabetic to an impending shift in their blood glucose levels, giving them plenty of time to ascertain the gravity of the problem and take the necessary precautions or treatment. Diabetic Alert Dogs will alert in any location, under nearly any circumstances, and even wake their diabetic partners up in the middle of the night if necessary. This early alert to shifts in blood sugar is a huge relief to diabetics and parents of diabetics struggling to identify such changes before they result in uncomfortable symptoms and eventual debilitation, an invaluable tool in a diabetic’s efforts to achieve and obtain optimal blood sugar levels and in many cases a life-saving warning.
Why Companion Training®?
The advanced training your Diabetic Alert Dog receives through Companion Training® is tailored specifically to your unique needs:
By: TJ Smith
Published: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
The best part of summer is all of the great outdoor activities you can do with your friends…especially man’s best friend, your dog. Whether it’s planning trips to the lake or outdoor summer barbecues make sure you keep your canine protected and healthy. No matter what your plans are for enjoying the great Boise, ID weather with your four legged best friend keep your dog safe from the scalding sun’s rays.
Like people, dogs exposed to too much sun can end up with a sunburn and like yourself it’s best to protect your dog from the scorching sun’s rays than to deal with the aftermath of a day of sun exposure without proper protection. A sunburn will appear on your furry four legged family member as a bright pink or reddish tone on the skin and can also include hair loss in the affected area.
The ear tips, bridge of the nose, around the eyes and abdomen are all sensitive areas on a dog’s skin. These areas have thinner hair and are more exposed. If your sun-worshiping Fido loves to catch a nap or lay out with their tummy basking in the rays be sure to apply sunscreen to their exposed underside areas. Other areas to be aware of are their noses, earflaps, and any shaved or bare batches.
Believe it or not there are sunscreens out there that were specifically created for your pooch! However, if you’re in a pinch you can also use Baby Sunscreen (That does not contain Zinc Oxide). No matter the brand of Sunscreen it should be fragrance free, non-staining, and contain UVA and UVB Barriers similar to SPF 15 or SPF 30. (Sun Protection Factor (SPF) has not been rated for animals, and because of this, SPS of animal-specific products should be labeled as “comparable to” their human counterparts, according to FDA requirements.) It is recommended to use at least 1 tablespoon of SPF for each body area treated and remember to reapply sunscreen to your dog every 4 to 6 hours or after a long time in the water.
Bottom line: Never use sunscreens that contain zinc oxide on your dog.
*Important: Zinc oxide is effective as a sunscreen for humans, but it’s toxic for dogs. If ingested, it can damage your dog’s delicate red blood cells, causing them to explode. The resulting anemia can be severe and require a blood transfusion.
Treat sunburns with an all-natural remedy. After a cool bath, apply Witch-hazel to the sunburned areas. A natural antioxidant and astringent, Witch-hazel cools down sunburn and inflamed areas. Simply use a cotton ball and apply witch hazel to affected areas several times a day. Or you can use a 100% pure Aloe Vera gel to sunburn spots, since it is non-toxic. For sunburned noses, break open a vitamin E capsule, squeeze out the oil, and dab it onto your dog’s sunburned snout once or twice a day. An antioxidant with healing properties, vitamin E also prevents scarring. For severe burns, you’ll need antibiotics. Open sores and bad burns need an antibiotic ointment, so visit your vet immediately if this occurs.
Summer is the time to relax and enjoy the heat. With summer, dog owners are excited to take their Fido along during their summer jaunts by taking a few simple precautions, you will help protect your dog and you will both have a lot more fun under the strong summer sun’s rays!