A "How To" blog for anyone training their own assistance and service dogs. (Using text, photos and videos)
From selecting and socializing puppies, to basic and advanced service dog tasks and generalizing the behaviours.
The head instructor for Vancouver Island Assistance Dogs is now offering web-cam training sessions for anyone outside of the Vancouver Island region. There is a reasonable cost involved. This is a great chance to improve your skills, problem solve, use Donna as a sounding board for creating a training plan or to keep your training on a regular schedule. Basic behaviours to complicated task help!
All you need is a web cam with mic and high speed internet and some space in front of your computer.
Do you know how to read your (assistance) dog's communication?
90% of dog and human communication is
non-verbal and most of that communication is very subtle. How you respond to
those signals can strengthen your bond and improve your relationship. Learn to
read the early signs. Discover the most recent theory of dog social structure
and how their communication skills are key to keeping peace in your dog's daily life.
Pre-register at Nanaimo Parks & Recreation 756-5200 or
Here is a link to the proposal for the updated Guide Dog Act (legislation).
If the proposal is accepted, 'the Act' will now formally include specific kinds of assistance dogs, some types of therapy dogs (for Residential Tenancy Act-renters would be able to have a certified therapy dog) and retired guide dogs (as well as traditional guide dogs). Yay!
What it does not mention (so far) are diabetic dogs, psychiatric dogs and owner-trained dogs.
If you want to be able to certify your owner-trained dog, you'll want to get involved and at the very least, write a letter to the Solicitor General's office in BC and let them know how much your dog assists you in living life.
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Corporate Policy and Planning Office
PO Box 9283, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9J7 Phone: 250 387-0306
Fax: 250 387-2631
There are long wait lists for program dogs and not all programs will train a dog for all disabilities. (Psychiatric for one). Sadly, if this goes through as is, you will not be able to certify your owner-trained dog, no matter how much s/he helps you. At present there are only three organizations who do certify owner-trained dogs in BC. Get involved so you have at least these.
All posts are numbered and named by topic to help make it easier to find what you are looking for. Look on the right hand side of this blog under Archives and click on "2009".
As new posts get old, they are numbered and moved into the series where they fit.
In Canada, any costs incurred to care for and maintain a service dog are allowable as a deduction IF the animal is provided by a person or organization whose main purpose is to train such animals. Things such as costs for certification, annual local licencing fees, food, grooming, veterinary bills, (especially for routine checks, vaccinations) etc. In BC, these dogs must be certified to qualify. Does this mean owner-trained dogs do not qualify? This is a grey area and one to ask your income tax person about.
¶ 52. The costs of acquiring and the care and maintenance (including food and veterinary care) of an animal qualify as medical expenses under paragraph 118.2(2)(l) as long as certain conditions are met. These costs must be paid on behalf of a patient who is blind, profoundly deaf or who has a severe and prolonged impairment (see ¶ 1 above) that markedly restricts the use of the patient's arms or legs. The animal must be specially trained to assist a patient in coping with his or her impairment and the animal must be provided by a person or organization one of whose main purposes is the training of animals for this purpose. The patient's reasonable travel expenses incurred for the purpose of attendance at, and reasonable board and lodging expenses incurred for the purpose of full-time attendance at a school, institution or other facility that trains persons with the same kind of impairment in the handling of such animals will also qualify as medical expenses."
Here is a letter I recently received updating me on the process! Sometimes one piece of information is all that is missing. Congratulations to Carla & Banjo!
I have included a link to her in case other's need this information.
Back in September, you E-mailed me with information about how to certify owner-trained service dogs.
I e-mailed both places. Helping Paws got in touch with me right away.
Diana, from Helping Paws http://www.helpingpaws.ca/ is absolutely wonderful. I made an appointment to test my dog, had to cancel twice due to medical circumstances. She totally understood, and we finally made it to Creston.
She took my dog Banjo and I through town, in and out of stores, walking by distractions, saw what he does for me (pick up things I drop, open and closes doors, etc) and was happy to tell me that Banjo passed. A week later we received Banjo's sevice dog certificate from the BC government.
I take him everywhere now, Walmart and other stores, restaurants, my bank... everywhere. And it is wonderful to have him with me, and also my husband, who had a stroke and is also disabled. We are finally getting out of the house.
I can't thank you enough for sending me the e-mail to Helping Paws, it has changed our lives so much to have a service dog, that can help us out in public, too. Both my husband and I thank you so very, very much.
I follow your web blog all the time, there are still lots of tips for Banjo to learn! He is doing great, what a help he is.
Thanks again .
And a WOOF from Banjo :) "
If you have ever seen the show "Sue Thomas FB Eye" about a deaf woman and her hearing dog, here are two sites you will want to see!
The first is a video about the real Sue Thomas. (Too bad it's not closed captioned.)
The second is about the actress Deanne Bray who plays Sue on the TV show. You'll be interested to note that the real Sue shows up at least twice in the TV show , playing a character called Deanne (interesting name switch) and is with her hearing dog Grace (Sue's real hearing dog). The man who plays Troy on the show is Deanne Bray's real husband and is also deaf in real life. Check out Deanne Bray's (the actress) biography!