Service Dog Training in Denver – And How FetchMasters Is Helping
Service Dog Training in Denver Just Got a Little Easier
Historically, FetchMasters has considered service dog training in Denver a niche to avoid. There are four reasons for this:
First, our specialties are high-performance obedience, positive gun dog training and solving leash reactivity problems. We don’t like to jump into things we lack expertise in.
Second, Denver already sports a few highly qualified service dog training companies that have the knowledge and resources to handle any service dog needs.
Third, there is a trend in Denver (and I suppose elsewhere) in which many people want their dogs to have service dog status. They mostly want their dogs to accompany them in places dogs otherwise would not be allowed, and they use loopholes in the law to get away with it. Not only is this an ethical quandry, but it has negative effects on both people in public and legetimate service dogs (… good topic for another article, maybe).
And Fourth, we see lots of people going to shelters and adopting completely unsuitable animals to train as service dogs. This often is a lose-lose-lose situation for owners, dogs and trainers. Not overly interested in those odds.
But There Is a Legitimate Need FetchMasters Can Help With
When going through many of the well-known service dog organizations, the wait and expense of obtaining a well-trained service dog can be formidable — sometimes impossible. So, many people in need of service dogs try to find their own dogs and fund their own training. While potential barriers to success exist for do-it-yourselfers, selecting the right dog and getting good initial training help increases the odds of success.
FetchMasters recently began forging a relationship with Ian Haugen, a service dog trainer in the Denver area. Ian (also an avid outdoorsman) has long supported FetchMasters’ push towards training hunting dogs positively.
Recently he visited the FetchMasters Ranch just east of Denver to have a look at our location and offer some advice on a service dog we are assisting with.
As Ian himself uses an electric chair, he is able to better understand the needs of those confined to one — on an experiential level rather than just an academic level. His insight was excellent, and the training exercises he provided us with are already bearing fruit at FetchMasters.
As we push forward with our effort to be of more use to the service dog niche, Ian will be consulting with us as necessary, and we also will be referring out task-specific training needs to him.
But I thought FetchMasters didn’t train service dogs!
While FetchMasters historically avoided the niche, we have occasionally assisted do-it-yourselfers in need of solid obedience training for their prospective service dogs. We strictly focus on training a high degree of impulse control and solid heeling so that dogs can walk nicely beside their owners’ wheelchairs or electric chairs. From there, we refer need-specific tasks to those better qualified to train them.
We also trained the service dog of a retired police officer (Randy Olsen) to be a hunting dog. Some people said it could not be done, yet … it’s done.
We feel that focusing on what we do best (in this case obedience and heeling) falls nicely into FetchMasters’ wheelhouse. It also offers a cost effective way for people in need of service dog training in Denver and the surrounding areas to obtain a strong fundamental obedience skills from their dogs.
In order to help us assist more do-it-yourselfers, our very generous client Craig Haverland donated an electric chair to our cause. This allows us to offer our working-grade obedience and wheelchair skills to more people in need. Thank you, Craig. Much appreciated.
A Couple of Important Notes on Service Dog Selection and Training
- If you are considering acquiring a dog not specifically bred for service work, we recommend not doing this alone. Ian Haugen (and perhaps other legitmate service dog trainers in the area) are happy to help you select a good candidate.
- If you need to fund and/or participate in your dog’s training, FetchMasters is happy to talk to you about the obedience and wheelchair elements of the training. We have an excellent reputation in those areas and can help you build a strong foundation for your dog’s ongoing training. From there, Ian will be glad to assist you in task-specific training for your animal.
Feel free to contact us for more information.