Here at Pawsitive Squad we want to help young people, whatever their disability, train their own dogs to become assistance dog or home helper dog to help improve the young person’s life.
Having an assistance dog can have a profound positive impact on a young person’s life by:
Improving club and school attendance
Reducing hospital admissions
Enabling the young person to participate in activities they couldn’t previously access
Reduce distress & isolation
There are lots of ways an assistance dog can help improve a young person’s quality of life and help to mitigate the negative impact their disability has on their lives. For us it’s also about far more than that. We empower our young people to play an active role in the training of their assistance dog because we know that engaging with the training process can have a significant benefit to a young person’s confidence & self-worth. Training their dog can add much needed structure, routine and achievement. We’ve seen young people who are losing their abilities due degenerative diseases who felt they would never achieve anything new again constantly smashing training targets with their dogs, rising up their training levels, training new tasks and behaviours and developing a real sense of pride while doing so. For those young people engaging in our assistance dog training is giving them back what they thought they had lost.
We are here to help to train and assess your dog to become an assistance dog no matter what the young person & their family’s needs are. This includes:
- Young people with profound & multiple learning disabilities. We can teach you to train your dog to respond to switches, vocalisation & ACC, train your dog to become a motivator for therapy and to perform tasks to assist the young persons parents/ carers such as recovering toys every time they’re dropped, notify the carer of the young persons head drops forward etc.
- Neurodiverse young people with conditions such as Autism/ASD, ADHD, ODD, PDA, developmental speech disorders, Tourette syndrome etc & young people with mental health difficulties & intellectual/learning disabilities. We can support in training you to teach your dog tasks to help with sensory and emotional overload, anxiety & distress and road awareness.
- Young people with rare/genetic/complex conditions. We are successfully supporting young people with conditions including muscular dystrophy, Autoimmune diseases, Ehlers Danlos & Down Syndrome. For young people with rare or complex conditions we create a tailored training plan to enable us to best guide them and their dog through training. Where we do not have pre-existing knowledge of the condition, we always take the time to communicate with the family to discuss the young persons needs and difficulties to ensure that the training we are recommending is likely to be safe and achievable for the young person. Where possible and with the family’s permission we also try to work with the team supporting the young person to ensure we are working on the same path as the rest of their support team.
- Young people with physical disabilities. We are able to teach you to train your dog loads of helpful tasks to enable young people with physical disabilities to live more independently including picking up dropped items, helping with getting undressed, opening doors, loading and unloading the washing machine, pressing switches and so much more!
- Support young people with fragile medical conditions through medical alert & response training. We can teach you how to train your dog (if they’re capable of doing so) to alert to a scent or behavioural cue to acute medical episodes such as hyper/hypoglycaemia, epileptic seizures, environmental allergens, fainting etc and respond in a variety of ways such as finding or attracting help, pulling emergency cord or pressing emergency bracelet or lying beside the person and refusing to allow them to stand up till the episode passes or fetching medical equipment.
- Supporting families where a young person & another member of the family have additional needs (the other family member does not need to be under 25 or have the same needs as the young person). In some circumstances (not all) we can train your dog to support multiple members of the household. For example we can train your 1 dog to perform physical assistance tasks for a mother and autism assistance for the child or any combination as long as this works is not conflicting, works safely for all family members AND the dog has sufficient play and down time to ensure this level of work wouldn’t have a negative impact on the dogs health and wellbeing.
For more information on our assistance dog program please click here to read our assistance dog handbook.