Service dogs on the town with Dr. V


On the left, Mick is a man with long grey hair in a grey shirt.  He is pushing Barbara's wheelchair.  Barbara has short grey-blond hair and a pink shirt, and is accompanied by her Golden Retriever Tripper, who wears a blue vest.  In the middle, Veronica has long curly brown hair and wears a light blue lacey dress.  She is accompanied by Hestia, a small black and white dog with a smushed nose wearing a purple vest.  On the right is Phyllis, a woman with grey hair in a bun and a pink checkered shirt.  Phyllis is accompanied by a giant white Great Pyrenees named Avalanche.  The teams are standing outside of TJ Maxx.
On the left, Mick is a man with long grey hair in a grey shirt. He is pushing Barbara’s wheelchair. Barbara has short grey-blond hair and a pink shirt, and is accompanied by her Golden Retriever Tripper, who wears a blue vest. In the middle, Veronica has long curly brown hair and wears a light blue lacey dress. She is accompanied by Hestia, a small black and white dog with a smushed nose wearing a purple vest. On the right is Phyllis, a woman with grey hair in a bun and a pink checkered shirt. Phyllis is accompanied by a giant white Great Pyrenees named Avalanche. The teams are standing outside of TJ Maxx.

Do you have a service dog* or service dog in training and want to prepare for a public access test, brush up on a few things, or just go for outings and discuss service dog issues with other service dog users? If so, you can attend Dr. V’s monthly service dogs on the town meetup style class—all disability types are welcome! The class meets the first Wednesday of every month at 3PM in locations in and around Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Each 1.5 hour class will start with an outing to a store, mall, or other place of public accommodation where we will practice public access behaviors and various items on the Psychiatric Service Dog Partners’ Public Access Test (PAT).

Then we will go to a place with seating, such as a cafe or restaurant, and the dogs will practice waiting calmly while the handlers will discuss the training that happened that day, and service dog issues such as public access challenges, the general public, service dog struggles, or etiquette.

Occasionally we will do more specialized outings, like trainings at the Charlotte airport and riding public transit. Whenever people are ready, Dr. V will proctor the PAT as needed.

A prerequisite for this course is passing the Psychiatric Service Dog Partners’ Service Dog in Training Manners Evaluation (ME) or a similar evaluation by Dr. V. This is a basic manners test where you are allowed to use treats and force free training to show that your dog is comfortable and safe enough in public to go out as a service dog in training. To schedule an ME, or to discuss any special circumstances, email Dr. V at DrVeronicaMorris @ gmail.com (take out the spaces).

Dr. V recommends going to Courteous Canine’s out on the town class to learn and reinforce basic behaviors in different pet friendly contexts. Dr. V’s service dogs on the town class perfects and builds on these behaviors in no-pet environments.

While Dr. V is the main organizer of each class, we highly encourage the attendees to actively offer training and other suggestions and help each other during class, too. The only requirement is that all training methods and equipment must be force free (no prong collars, shock collars, harsh verbal or collar corrections, etc). People making the transition from older training methods to positive training methods are welcome and Dr. V is happy to assist with this.

The class costs $5 per team per session, with a portion of the proceeds to be donated to PSDP. Caregivers do not need to pay. Scholarships may be available for those who cannot afford this fee.

There is an email group and a facebook group for people interested in the class. Every month, the location of the class will be announced on these groups. Students can talk with each other via the groups, make suggestions on where to have training classes, or what to focus on. To join the email group email Dr. V at DrVeronicaMorris @ gmail.com (take out the spaces). To join the facebook group, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/2210653472558384/ .

Scarlet with Gigi, Veronica with Hestia, and Lizzy with Kitten at the airport in baggage claim. Scarlet and Veronica have long brown curly hair, while Lizzy has long blond hair. Gigi is a miniature black poodle wearing a red vest. Hestia is a small black and white Japanese Chin wearing a turquoise vest. Kitten is a small black and white Japanese Chin wearing a purple vest.

*A service dog is a dog trained to do work or tasks to assist their handler with their disability. This is different from a therapy dog, where the handler does not need to have a disability, and the dog helps others.