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Canine Companions for Independence is a nationwide non-profit organization that has placed 4,000 assistance dogs with handlers since 1975. Jennifer Pottheiser: Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) was founded in Santa Rosa, California in 1975, and the first service dog was placed in June of 1976. JP: I found out about CCI when they were holding their annual Paws for the Holiday photo sessions with Santa at a local vets office. JP: As a puppy raiser, I will spend 18 months preparing my CCI puppy for life as a working dog.
CCI puppy raisers go on an outing to Newark Airport to expose their dogs to the sights and sounds they may experience once becoming working dogs. JP: By the time recipients arrive on campus to be placed with their dog, the canines have spent 6 to 9 months training.
The second three-month semester finishes the commands the dogs will need to know such as pull, and light-switch. JP: Canine Companions for Independence has strict guidelines and requirements for their working dogs.
In Part 2 of this interview, Jennifer will explain the roles of service dogs, skilled companion animals and facility dogs.
To help us close out National Assistance Dog Week is an interview from Jamie Toliver, a certified instructor from Canine Companions of Independence who gives us insight into what her job is like and how rewarding it is to help provide a more independent life for those with disabilities.
I have been with Canine Companions for a little over five years and I’m currently a certified Instructor for Canine Companions for Independence.
There is no better feeling than to help a someone feel more independent, to feel like he or she is able to roam their surroundings, such as a college campus,  alone.
I wish there was more awareness about dog behavior and canine communication. I think many pet owners think they’re doing the right things for their dog’s emotional wellbeing, when in fact they might be hurting them. The upcoming Hearts & Heroes gala in New York City will feature guest speakers who have recieved trained service dogs from Canine Companions for Independence. Canine Companions for Independence is preparing for the Hearts & Heroes gala in the northwest region. The Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) non-profit organization, which has paired service dogs with people with disabilities in need for 40 years, is preparing for its annual Hearts & Heroes gala for the North-East region at the Grand Hyatt in New York City on Thursday evening.
The service dogs are all Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and crosses between the two that are bred at the CCI national headquarters in Santa Rosa, Calif. The goal is for the dogs to help the people with disabilities become independent in their everyday lives, said Bentzinger. CCI's evaluation protocals are extremely stringent; only four out of 10 dogs (40 percent) make it though the entire process to get paired with people with disabilities, explained Bentzinger.
Kevin Tinsley, another Hearts & Heroes speaker, is looking forward to sharing his daughter's experience with the attendees.


Registration is closed for the event, but those who want to donate to the program can do so here. Canine Companions for Independence instructor Sarah Birman unleashes a service dog-in-training into a room after giving it the search command. Doctors from the Department of Veterans Affairs say that the benefits of service dogs working with the physically disabled are well-documented.
An attempt to study the correlation in 2011 was suspended because of dog bites and later was canceled over concerns about the health and training of the dogs.
The VA and several new groups, including Canine Companions, launched a second iteration of the study in December. The service dogs have five specific abilities based on commands they receive from their owner.
The fourth command is “sweep.” The dog will enter a room or house and sweep it for people or intruders, alerting the veteran by barking. Emotional support dogs are not trained for specific tasks but are AKC-certified and provide comfort and companionship, Fallon said. After the veterans receive their dogs, study teams will visit the veterans in their homes quarterly to check the safety of the dogs and the veterans and to assess their impact. Veterans such as Raible say they know the answer to the question posed by the VA, because many physically disabled veterans with service dogs also suffer from PTSD.
Cila said that service dogs help veterans stay active, get them out of the house, and if the veteran is missing a limb or bears the scars of war, they are no longer the center of attention when they enter the room. Each service dog is trained for 2 years before placement – at no cost to the handler. The apprenticeship lasts for approximately three years with the culmination being the Assistance Dog International Certification practical and written exam.
In addition, assistance dogs can provide relief to family members, caretakers, and peace of mind that the recipient will be able to get through those closed doors or looked at positively because of his or her dog. Many service dog organizations will provide on the job training for animal training, but gaining exposure and experience with people with disabilities will really give you a leg up.
In those two weeks we’re able to help them understand how to properly manage and care for a dog.
Dogs that don't make it are donated to hospitals, rehabilitation centers and criminal justice systems. Matt Raible trains with Jason, his third service dog through Canine Companions for Independence Inc., a non-profit that trains and provides service dogs. Half the veterans will receive service dogs and the other half will receive emotional support dogs. He applauded the VA’s efforts, which could pave the way for more struggling vets to get service dogs.


The study will determine whether a service dog is the answer for vets diagnosed with PTSD or whether other wagging tails will do. Canine Companions for Independence has its own breeding program at their National Headquarters in Santa Rosa, California. It is during this semester that the dogs begin to work around the wheelchair and learn the retrieve command. During training, the dogs are screened to see if they truly have what it takes to become a CCI assistance dog. While I’ve had experience with training animals and working with dogs, I did not have the specific skills required to train assistance dogs, which has been a lifelong dream job of mine. The degrees on our staff vary, but each person brings a unique skill set to the team and is able to use their educational background to benefit the organization. I hope to use my scientific research background to assist with the number of studies that Canine Companions conducts in collaboration with a number of educational institutions. We spend two weeks in a classroom setting together and I have the opportunity to know each of them on a personal level and then get to place them with the dogs that I worked hard to train.
When we started the two week course, I saw a young lady, with low confidence and self-esteem and who was very dependent on her mom for many of her tasks. Humans are schooled in the art of giving commands while the dogs learn how to respond to orders from new special needs owners. He said the dogs have given him independence while he deals with his ongoing medical issues, have helped him connect with people and have kept him physically active.
The Northeast Regional Center in Medford, Long Island has graduated over 650 Canine Companion Teams, made possible by over 175 active puppy raisers. Those that do prepare for Team Training, where the dogs are paired with a recipient and both human and dog are trained to work together. At the end of the two-week period the service dogs are handed off to their disabled owner for good in what is always an emotion-filled "graduation" ceremony. Besides his physical disabilities, Raible says the dogs have helped him with post-traumatic stress.
While it costs close to $40,000 to breed, raise and train a CCI working dog, the canines are provided to their recipients at no charge.
And I am even more proud of the little Lab that will be constantly helping her to become more independent. Canine Companions is now working with the VA in a new comprehensive study to determine if the dogs benefit veterans with PTSD, the first study of its kind.



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Comments to «Canine dogs for independence»

  1. sex_ledi writes:
    Does not involve biting that.
  2. Narin_Yagish writes:
    Case your mother and father gave you a dollar for any accidents or expenses ensuing from socialization.