West Palm Dog Trainers Get Contract with American Humane to Train Pups4Patriots
For over 100 years, American Humane has worked with the U.S. military providing many life-changing programs including:
- Helping veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury obtain lifesaving service dogs
- Supporting military families in need with healing therapy animals
American Humane's Pups4Patriots program rescues qualified shelter dogs and trains them for the injured veterans. The training standards, designed to maximize the efficacy of the service dog as a treatment method, was developed by a Scientific Advisory Committee of scientists, veteran experts, mental health professionals, animal welfare specialists, veterinarians, dog trainers, and other key advocates.
Jake’s is extremely proud to learn that a couple of our valued customers and highly recommended trainers has been selected to train dogs in this Pups4Patriots program! Marti Hohmann and Ben Probst (West Palm Dog) are currently training Liberty Bell, Sadie, and Caleb.
Liberty Bell was rescued by American Humane as an 8-week-old puppy. Sadie and Caleb were surrendered to the couple. There is a fourth dog on her way from China – a female Lab rescued from the meat trade. All these dogs are typical of the type scouted for service in that they are rescued from homeless situations and are usually Golden Retrievers, Labradors, or mixes of the two. As Robin Ganzert, President & CEO of American Humane, says, “their lives are saved just as they are saving their veteran’s lives”.
American Humane opened its southern headquarters at Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach, Florida. Robin Ganzert had made that decision as soon as she took over the leadership role for the non-profit. She believes there are a lot of local people interested in serving American Humane’s mission. She acknowledges that there are obstacles in the way of veterans getting the service dogs they need: waiting lists are long, the application process is daunting, and the intensive compulsory training cost can be upwards of $30,000. She is hopeful that the Pups4Patriots program will allow more veterans to get the PTS service dogs they need.
Jake’s: With such an overwhelming process to obtain a service dog through an organization, do people sometimes try to train their own dog for service?
Marti: Yes, but there’s a lot they need to know about the process, and there can be a lot of disappointment. We strongly discourage people from purchasing a puppy or rescuing a dog on their own and hoping for the best! Not every breed is suitable for every life task, and some dogs just don’t have the temperament or physical strength to be of service.
Jake’s: Are certain breeds recognized as more suited to providing service?
Marti: There is no nationwide certification or standard, but some breeds are better suited to certain tasks. For instance, a retrieving dog can easily be trained to get things off the counter or scoop it up from the floor, handing it to a disabled person.
If the person suffers from PTS and desires a screen between themselves and others when out in public, any large dog can do this. It’s called “Blocking” – the dog aligns its body perpendicular to the person to create space.
If a person has balance issues and will rely on the dog for bracing, a large, sturdy dog like a Labrador, Golden Retriever, or Standard Poodle will be best suited.
Jake’s: Do you train dogs for service, apart from working with big organizations like American Humane?
Marti: Yes, Ben & I work with private clients, too. We advise people who work with trainers to ask that their dog be evaluated at 6, 12, and 18 months. If selecting a dog from a shelter or rescue, they should ask the trainer to help with the selection.
The person should be prepared to practice in public to get their dog ready for public access. Most dogs practice from puppyhood through early adulthood (18-24 months). By graduation, they should be able to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen exam, the AKC Urban CGC exam, and perform tasks accurately and quickly to improve the person's quality of life.