Bath Time for Kumbah

Everybody gets a bath with Johnson’s Head to Toe Baby Wash before they go home from boarding at Grapevine K9 Dog Training for that fresh “new puppy smell”.

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Kumbah the Presa Canario First Walk with Tim Frazier

Until today, 130 pound Kumbah thought a walk was him towing his owner along on the other end of the leash while he charged about full speed to investigate anything that tickled his fancy.

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A Lion at Grapevine K9

Sometimes we just have fun; at the expense of Wallace’s dignity.

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Rescuing Bruno

Bruno FrazierMeet Bruno, the newest pack member at Grapevine K9.

I adopted him today from the Grapevine Animal Shelter and Adoption Center where has lived for the past two months after being picked up on the streets with no collar or ID.  The shelter is nearing capacity and if folks don’t adopt some of the current animals  soon…well, some hard decisions will have to be made by those folks, so please help them out if you can.

Bruno is now microchipped and spending one more night in a kennel for neutering at Northwest Animal Hospital in Grapevine.

Tomorrow afternoon his world will change forever, when he comes to his forever home with a nice big yard, two other pack members, daily exercise and training regimen, and some of the best dog food on the planet, Merrick’s Buffalo Sweet Potato Recipe.

Once Bruno recovers from his little operation, he will undergo Grapevine K9 basic and advanced obedience training, and then start accompanying me as I make my rounds conducting dog training sessions all over the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area.

I’ve visited Bruno for the last couple of days at the shelter and he has an outstandingly friendly temperament and loves people and other dogs.

What a Service Dog Is and Is Not

serviceanimalsI’m frequently asked to give training estimates for converting family pets into service dogs. And I always turn them down.

There are a multitude of dog trainers who will claim they can train your dog to be a “service dog”, and most of them are either ignorant of the regulations and legal requirements to title a service dog or are outright scam artists.
Service dog training can easily take two years or more, and requires an immense investment of time and money. Training dogs that are part way through their lifespan as service animals is typically a poor investment due to the few years of life remaining for the animal once the training is completed and official certification is obtained.

For example, if your dog is already four years old when you begin service dog training, and his/her total life expectancy is around 12 years, your dog may be six years old or more by the time you achieve a certification title. From that point, you have about six years of use left as a service dog, and in order to maintain a service animal you have to start over with training another dog within four years so it is ready by the time your first dog retires or moves on to the great pet resort in the sky.

We love our dogs, and many of us would love to be able to take our dogs with us everywhere we go. Many people assume that getting a service dog certification is the ideal way to gain government mandated privileges to take their dog into restaurants, on commercial airline flights, into hotels that otherwise ban pets, etc.

If that’s your reason for wanting your dog trained as a service dog, you are “barking up the wrong tree”.

Service dogs are animals that are medical necessities for people who have conditions that would otherwise limit there ability to leave their homes or engage in normal self reliance. They are dogs with specific jobs, to alert their masters or master’s caretakers of impending seizures, prevent anxiety, help persons with conditions like autism cope with social challenges, etc.

Seeing eye dogs are service dogs. Imagine the training time and expense that goes into one of those!

servicedogClaiming service animal status for a dog that is not a certified service dog is typically a violation of the law in most jurisdictions, and can be punishable by fines and even incarceration.

If you or a loved one have a dog that is relied upon for emotional support or other needs that do not rise to the level of the requirements for a service dog published by the ADA, you should check your state and local regulations regarding therapy or assistance animals.

Click here to read an excellent booklet from the ADA National Network that details the requirements for service animal designation, along with descriptions of other types of assistance animals such as therapy dogs which are not “service dogs” under the ADA regulations but may gain you access with your dog to some areas and businesses that allow these types of qualified dogs but otherwise ban pets.