The public access test (PAT) is an important part of training your own service dog. It is not required, but many people choose to take it so that they have proof of training, and simply so they feel they know their dog is ready to be a full service dog. PSDP has a PAT that we created designed for every type of service dog. Here is a link to the PSDP PAT:
Before last year’s convention, I tried a practice PAT and found we could not pass the heel portion (a “j” in the leash is required), nor the walking by food on the floor portion. I vowed to train Hestia up to the standard and take the test this year.
So to set the scene, there were about 5 teams taking the test, and two teams proctoring the test. All of us taking the test were in various states of nervous wreck about our dogs passing the test.
Allison with Ruby was the main proctor of the test, and boy was she great. We started off in the meeting room, and did all the obedience portions of the test. Allison calmed us down when we got flustered, and helped us remember to breathe.
Next we went to Svendgaard’s Lodge next to the veterans hall. We used their elevator. It was funny because through a quirk our PAT for several years had in it that the dog should not consume anything from the walls of the elevator. Well, someone had spilled something on the floor and walls of the elevator before we got there! Elaine and I had a good laugh about that.
From there we headed to the hardware store a block or so down. The pups did a great job in the hardware store. We all took turns pushing a basket, and walked up and down aisles, and generally had fun in the store. The hardest part of the test was when Allison hid a treat in one of the aisles, and we had to go down that aisle and ensure our dog did not try to eat the treat, without us knowing where the treat was hidden. I was very proud of Miss Hestia for passing that!
For the final portion of the test, we went to Birkholm’s Bakery. On the way we stopped at the restroom and did steps in and out of the restroom area. Birkholm’s Bakery is awesome. They have some gluten free items that they prepare every day! I got a princess waffle, which is probably something like oats and sugar, fried, and dipped in chocolate. It was VERY tasty!
Throughout the whole test, Hestia did a very good job. I was worried because the first day we were here, she kinda lost her brain. She hadn’t quite found it all by the time the PAT rolled around, but she had recovered enough of it that she was able to pass. I had to walk her in a circle twice, and had to stop to reset heel 3 or 4 times total during the entire two hour test.
I was SO happy to see her pass the PAT. I know it is not required, but I really do like having it. Today at the end of the convention, we all got certificates. Normally I don’t display these types of things, but this certificate is very very pretty. I think I am going to put it in a frame and hang it up on the wall.
The convention went great. I enjoyed meeting every person and every pup that attended. We learned a lot, practiced some intense interactions with the general public, and had a lot of fun. I even got a milkshake! YUM! Also, I won the large dog raffle basket which had a Peeps bunny toy in it! I am in LOVE with the Peeps bunny. I might even keep the toy for myself instead of giving it to the dogs. Bun-Lamb may have competition!
Tomorrow morning we have the farewell breakfast at Birkholm’s again. Then relaxing. Brad filled up 2.5 memory cards full of pictures and video, so it will take some time getting through it all. But I was able to snag a photo of us accepting our PAT certificate! Fred told me what to say from his website on how to certify your own service dog:
So that is why my hand is raised in the picture! The pictures shows me, a woman with long curly brown hair, a brown skirt and a 70s shirt with a small black and white service dog wearing a Hufflepuff vest. The tester, Allison, is next to me. She is a shorter woman with short dark hair and a pretty floral shirt. Oh yeah, and she has a beautiful service dog who is a Golden Retriever.