Monday, July 11, 2016

Happy birthday!!!

Well, It's been a year since Jackie's most recent litter.  All the pups are doing fantastic!  This litter has landed jobs in all kinds of places!

Henry---This beautiful, settled black lab is still with us and continuing his training to be a Diabetes Alert Service Dog (DAD) for some fortunate individual. He loves to play, snuggle, and most of all WORK! He is such a problem solver, and loves to be out in public.



Chester---Such a sweet boy!! He is in Wyoming being a fantastic companion/therapy dog for an older couple.  Like his brother, he is such a fantastic boy and bringing much delight to his people.

Daisy--Petite and smart, she is also in Wyoming devoting her life to a lady she was placed with about a month ago.

Remington--This hard worker is in Canada being trained as a narcotics, explosives, and cash detection dog.  Her trainer has glowing reviews for her, work ethic and intelligence!

Fun to look back and see where these dogs have gone and how they are thriving!

Henry & Chester

Daisy & Remington

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Service dog rights

As we have placed more and more dogs with clients,  questions involving a service dog's rights are constantly popping in our email, social media, texting, and voice messages. That's great! It means people are wanting to know the right way to do things, and are trying to stay informed. So, we decided a post with FAQs and answers would be a fantastic idea!  There will also be links to more information at the end.

These questions and answers are taken from the ADA website ( and our good friend at

Q1 What is a service animal?
A: Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do
work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be
directly related to the person’s disability.

Q2 What does “do work or perform tasks” mean?
A: The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his
blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained
to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is
trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure.

Q3 Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?
A: No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a
person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not
qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have
laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check
with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.
       Q4 Are service-animals-in-training considered service animals under the ADA?
        A: No.Under the ADA, the dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public
       places. However, some State or local laws cover animals that are still in training.
       (Be sure and check with your state on these laws!)
Q5 Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as service animals?
A: No. Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has
been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry.

Q6 My city requires me to register my dog as a service animal. Is this legal under the ADA?
A: No. Mandatory registration of service animals is not permissible under the ADA. However, as stated above, service animals are subject to the same licensing and vaccination
rules that are applied to all dogs.

Q7 Are restaurants, bars, and other places that serve food or drink required to allow service
animals to be seated on chairs or allow the animal to be fed at the table?
A: No. Seating, food, and drink are provided for customer use only. The ADA gives a person with a disability the right to be accompanied by his or her service animal, but covered
entities are not required to allow an animal to sit or be fed at the table.
 Q8 Do apartments, mobile home parks, and other residential properties have to comply
        with the ADA?
       A: The Fair Housing Act is the Federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities
      in residential facilities. For information or to file a complaint, contact the       U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.  
      Well, that hopefully answers some questions you may have had, if you have more 
      please go to and look for the links button.  Also, you can go to the 
      ADA website or call toll free at 800-514-0301. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Curbing Destructive Chewing

The problem of chewing is prevalent in many dog owner homes.  Dogs, especially puppies, LOVE to chew.  For most puppies, however, they are not just being destructive, but trying to ease the pain of teething.  Providing them with safe, quality, toys they enjoy, will greatly diminish the temptation of your favorite slipper, the leg of your suede couch, or the garden hose.  

There are many different toys on the market, some that are durable and some that fall apart in the first week.  We love the Kong brand.  These toys will provide a challenge even for the most avid chewer.

For Christmas, we bought beef knuckle bones for our six month old pups.  You can pick them up at your local butcher for a reasonable price.  The dogs LOVE these!!!!! While we unwrapped presents,   we had a pup on "place" with one of these knuckle bones.  He stayed there for three hours!! He never even looked at all the tempting presents and paper flying around him.

A note on bones, you should never offer your canine friend cooked bones.  Cooking makes the bones brittle and more apt to splinter and cause choking.

Another reason dogs may be destructive, is an excess amount of energy.  A tired dog is a good dog.  ten minutes of ball retrieving, a good fast walk, or a jog may help your dog to quit destroying your home.   If you still are having problems after trying these, you may have a dog that doesn't fit your life style.  I know that might be a hard one to hear, but dogs have been bred for different purposes.   A husky was bred to run all day pulling a sled, while a shit-tzu is much happier sitting quietly in your lap.

Before you get that adorable lab mix your friends are giving away, think about your life style and how much time you will have to devote to him. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer and Service Dogs

With summer already here the heat is quickly rising!  Although we can put on cooler clothes, our service dogs are stuck in their beautiful coats. Because of this, we need to keep in mind ways to keep our dogs cool.  Especially if the service that your dog is performing for you includes scent work.

Unlike us, dogs don't have sweat glands and can only lose body heat through panting.  Keeping our dogs hydrated is imperative.  There are many different travel bowls/bottles that make watering your pup easy. Also, at home you might think about getting a wading pool if your dog loves to play in the water.

Another thing to keep in mind during summer is asphalt and concrete.  They get HOT!!! Next time you are in a parking lot and the temperature is above 85-90 degrees feel the asphalt with your bare hand or foot. This will give you a feel of what the dogs are dealing with on their poor paws.  Perhaps that is why your pooch doesn't want to get out of the car!  It BURNS! One way to deal with this if you are a passenger, is to have the driver drop you off at the entrance of wherever you are going.  This way you can greatly minimize contact with the hot asphalt. 

However, this may not be an option for you.  Many service dog websites carry dog booties.  These can be perfect for you and your dog to handle the summer heat.  Your dog may need some time to get accustomed to wearing them, and you may need to do a bit of training with him.  But it should help to take care of that hot asphalt on those paws.

                                       Stay cool and enjoy your summer!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Devoted Dog- Part 3, Training Weekend

Jason's large family headed north and joined our even larger family for a weekend of training, fellowship, and fun!

Upon seeing each other again, Timber happily rolled over and welcomed a good tummy rub from Jason.  She let him love on her awhile, but then she was right back at Jeremy's side.
Our daughter taught Jason how to make his own hands-free paracord leash.

What was intended to be a weekend to teach Jason how to scent train Timber, turned out to be a wonderful Type 1 Diabetes Retreat for both families.  Both of our families have lived with diabetes for several years and have established habits and routines.

I've been to Type 1 support group meetings and have many friends who also deal daily with the disease.  But to spend almost three days living together with another Type 1 family was an enormous blessing.  There was time to discuss so much that a family living with this condition deals with everyday that no one else can quite understand-- emotions upon initial diagnosis, transitioning primary care from parent to son,  watching them make mistakes, the scary lows and troublesome highs, managing supplies, and of course what to eat.  And cooking together was just fun!

Another highlight was seeing my son not be alone in his battle.  For once, he wasn't the only one in the room who had to check his blood and give a shot before he could enjoy popcorn with his movie on the big screen. Watching the boys compare numbers after a meal of Dreamfields pasta and enjoy a scrumptious Samoa cookie that was practically carb free (with no artificial sweeteners either) was just plain fun for this Mama.

Saturday morning, Jeremy gave Jason a step-by-step instruction on scent training.  After doing a session with Timber, he brought in Henry, our nine month old DAD-in-training to demonstrate.  This gave Jason a visual of what he was hoping to accomplish with Timber.

That afternoon, the dads, boys, and dogs went to town to work on Public Access.  Although Timber has good manners, it's important that the family be trained what to expect of her in public and how to handle certain situations.  Lunch out, a stop at the meat department of the grocery store, and some ping-pong at our Rec. Center provided great opportunities to work on what to expect of her in public settings.

 On Sunday morning, after a last scent training session between Jason and Timber, the families said good-bye.  The devoted little dog jumped into the mini-van and rode away with her new person.

Here are links to the other parts of Timber's story. Part 1 part 2.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Major Success

 Some of you may remember Major from earlier posts.  He is a DAD (Diabetes Alert Service Dog) in California that we placed back in January. Right off the bat, he and his partner were working easily together and fast building a relationship. During placement, one of the things we trained him to do was to unlock and open the inside door and the outside screen door.  Our thought was when Marie, Major's handler, had her hands full, he could open the door for her. Another option was in the event of an emergency, Major could open the door for EMTs that might need to get inside. We took a video of Major just after he was trained to open the doors.
About a month ago, Marie fell and broke her hip.  This training came in handy as Major was a big help through this.  But enough of us writing. Marie wrote up her testimony and sent it to us. So read on! 

Last month, while picking up the balls and the Chuck It that is
Major's most favorite thing to do, I moved my foot to the left, didn't
lift it up enough, and caught it on a large pebble. I fell, tried to
catch myself, to avoid re-breaking my knee and ankle. I did that, but
broke my hip instead. Since I was out in my gravel driveway in the
country, I had to get back to the house on my own. 

As I started dragging myself to the house, I remembered I had something I didn't
have before, a new companion. His name is Major.  He is a English black
Labrador trained to be a Diabetic Service Dog. But he is turning out
to be so much more!

He nosed open the front gate for me. He then licked me all over the
face every time I stopped. At first I thought it was because he loved
me, but then I realized it was because he was trying to make sure I was
not going to stop or pass out!

We got to the house and he pulled open the front screen door and
helped me push open the front door. He would have gotten my cell phone
for me, but my land line is right by my front door. After calling 911,
I laid down and waited.  After assuring himself I was not passing out,
Major laid down and put his head on my stomach while we waited for
the ambulance. 

When it came, Major barked a little , unlocked the screen door and let them in. He then lay down and hoped for a tummy rub. He followed my transport to the ambulance, climbed in and again
lay down and put his head on my stomach. As we rode to the hospital,
the EMTs were amazed! I kept telling them, "That's my boy!" like a
proud mama. 

At the hospital, he followed quietly along with my bed and
sat quietly next to it when we stopped. My sister Maria
showed up and took Major out potty, where he peed on command. He was
sent home with her, not because he was not allowed to stay, but because I
wasn't able to have someone stay with me full time to take him out to
relieve himself. He got to stay at his litter sister Dropje's house
for the week! Dropje lives around the corner from my sister's.

He now walks carefully along side my walker and knows the words "slow
down" too.

Now, If that wasn't enough for him to do for me, this past Tuesday we
had another adventure. I was driving us to my primary care doctor for
a post surgery check up. On the most curvy part of the trip, my accelerator stuck and my brakes didn't work!

Good thing for my watching detective shows! I put it in neutral, hit
the brakes. Nothing. Did it again. Nothing. Finally, I stood on the
brakes, in neutral, pulled to the right side of the road and figured I
could slow down by side swiping the cement pile-ons. Luckily, the car
slowed some and I was able to shove it into park and turn off the key.

Major kept licking my face from his seat in back of me. I'm sure he
was proud of me and happy to be alive too like I was!!
So, that is the latest in the adventures of Marie and Major.

Hopefully there won't be any more like them......ever!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Timber- Part 2, Training Begins

Timber, the five year old, heeler/shepherd out-of-service Service Dog, came to Cody for a spell to see if an old dog can learn (or relearn) new tricks.

Immediately identifying Jeremy as her "person", Timber faithfully followed him everywhere.  We actually intended for her to be handled by our Type 1 son, since her future placement would be with a boy similar in age.  But, Timber had already locked onto Jeremy and was very uneasy when out of his sight.  So NOT a lab!
Although she would do scent training sessions with our son, she would quickly find Jeremy as soon as she was released from "school".

Initially, we encountered a difficulty when scent training Timber.  Unlike our voracious labs that devour anything, this little doggie wasn't the least bit interested in kibble.  Hmmmm. . .how to scent train when doggie isn't motivated by the treat?  Find a BETTER treat!  Thankfully, I soon discovered Timber loves cheese.  And to motivate her even more, Jeremy used small raw meat scraps for their sessions.

Armed with his training tin and raw meat, Jeremy set out to see if Timber could learn the scent.

Let me interject for a moment. . . have you ever watched someone else's kids for an extended period of time and realized how unlike your kids they are?  That's how training Timber was.

All of our labs LOVE their scent training sessions.  Once they figure out the "game", they put their nose to the tin exuberantly until the training bag of treats is gone, and even then they still want to play.  After a few rounds of the game, they get into the habit of "checking you" to see if they can find that smell.  That's how the process develops.

Not this girly.  When presented with the tin, she eventually came over and gave it a sniff-- barely.  She liked the raw meat treat, but only enough to poke her nose at the tin about five times.  Then she was done.
After a few weeks of multiple training sessions per day, Timber was not making progress on the scent.  In all of their sessions, Timber never came and "checked" Jeremy looking for the scent.  Jeremy concluded that likely, Timber had not been a DAD; her temperament suggested that she was better suited as a PTSD dog. 

We had to consult with Sherry and let her make the decision.  After thought and prayer, we jointly decided to approach the situation from a different angle.

Since Timber was so focused on her "person", perhaps if Jason learned how to scent train, eventually, Timber would associate his lows with the scent game he played with her, and alert him when low.  This is, of course, the process of scent training.

For our labs, food is the motivator.  For Timber, devotion is her motivator.  It was worth a shot.

Stay tuned for Part 3 to find out with us how Timber's story ends. . .or begins!

Here is the link to part one of Timber's story

Friday, May 13, 2016

Simply training

To many people the idea of training their own dog is an overwhelming and intimidating task.  It doesn't have to be!!  This post will be mainly geared towards an owner with a young puppy.  However many of these principles apply to all stages of dog training.

First of all ask yourself:
  • What do I want my dog to do for me? 
  • What are the boundaries that I am going to set for my dog?
  • How much time am I going to set aside for my dog each day?

 What do I want my dog to do for me?
There are many different tasks that a dog can do. In fact, unlimited!  Dogs are amazing creatures that love to learn and please their master.  You need to determine what tasks and tricks you are going to train your new friend to do. A great starting point is basic obedience-- sit, stay, down, off, heel, and come. There are many books dedicated to just dog tricks.  Your local library is a great place to look for new training ideas.  The Internet is also overflowing with fantastic videos and articles on dog training.

Once you have gotten your desired tasks down on paper be sure to go over them and check that you are not setting yourself up for failure with too many tasks.  Remember a young pup can only learn so much!

What are the boundaries that I am going to set for my dog? 
Many dog owners have voiced their frustration to us concerning their dog's annoying, and sometimes destructive bad habits.  This however is rarely an issue with the dog, but the owner.

Dogs crave boundaries.   Determine the boundaries you are going to set for yourself and your dog.  Will they be allowed on the couch?  They better not be counter surfing! Will jumping be tolerated?   After writing these rules down on paper, go over them with everyone who will be living with your dog and contributing to its life.  Rules only work if everyone understands them.

Next, you have to MEAN WHAT YOU SAY!!!  If you tell the dog no, then mean no!  But as soon as he responds you your correction, lavish him in praise so he understands what he wasn't supposed to do. If he isn't allowed on furniture, then begin enforcing that as soon as he comes into the home.  Remember, what you allow your dog to do as a pup, he will try to do as an adult.

How much time am I going to set aside for my dog each day?
A healthy balanced dog will not be spending all of its time in a kennel or crate.  Manners don't come naturally to every dog.  Puppies will need regular training and exercise sessions each day.  Schedule at least a couple times a day to spend time pouring into your dog.  If you are training a pup, it may be a wise idea to give him a good exercise session about twenty minutes before you are planning on a training session. This will help in taking a bit of that excess energy out before you are wanting him to focus on training. 

Another great way to teach manners, (especially concerning leash manners) is to just have the puppy attached to you on leash for a time throughout the day.  This can look like: attaching the pup to you via a leash during house chores, having him in a "down" while you are eating a meal or working at your desk, and including him in just about whatever your life consists of.  Although this can be a bit inconvenient at times, it will pay off immensely if you consistently are requiring of him the same manners and obedience each time you work with him.

Training doesn't have to be hard. It can be one of the most enjoying times of your day.  Dogs just have a way of making you smile.  So don't put it off any more! Go and train!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mothers Day Icy!!

Exactly a year ago we were blessed with Chillbrook Black Ice out of Chillbrook Kennels in West Virginia.  Upon arrival at our kennel in Cody Wyoming, Icy was quite taken aback by the perpetual activity going on around our kennels.  With six kids, several dogs, and visitors aplenty, it was a bit different than she was accustomed to.  However, after a few weeks this sweet girl settled in quite comfortably. Our plan was to add her into our breeding program, as we thought that she would pair quite nicely with our stud dog.  Waiting until she turned two, we bred her three months ago with our stud dog Chillbrook Dream Lover (Bailey). 

What a fabulous mother Icy has turned out to be!  Hating to be away for long, she is constantly attending to their needs and making sure they are properly cared for as only a mother can.

 She is a great reminder of how critical mothers are in their children's lives.  Not only do moms bring us into this world, they dedicate their lives to the raising, loving, and cherishing of their kids. George Washington says it well...

 "My mother was the most beautiful person I ever saw. All that I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her."  

Thanks to all the moms out there!  It's definitely one of the toughest job under the sun!!!  

 The hand that rocks the cradle is the one that rules the world! 


Friday, May 6, 2016

Timber, Part 1

Can an old dog learn new tricks?  We'll see.

A few months ago we had an interesting inquiry.  A woman from a nearby town contacted us about a service dog that she had "inherited" so to speak.  It seems that Timber, a Blue Heeler/Australian Shepherd mix,  had been "working" for a veteran who had passed away.  Through a series of connections, Timber came to live with Sherry*.   Sherry had been fostering the dog for several months, but really desired for Timber to be serving in her given capacity as a service dog, although it wasn't clear exactly what service Timber performed.  She asked us to evaluate Timber as a Diabetes Alert Dog, because Sherry suspected that's what she was.

When Timber arrived, it was clear she was a Service Dog.  Her obedience was precise and she was completely tuned into her handler, following her every move.  However, when presented with the scent of low blood sugar, she gave a cursory sniff, but didn't get excited about it as our labs do.  Regardless, we agreed to work with Timber to see if she could develop or redevelop her nose for diabetes.

A word about Timber before proceeding.  This medium, reserved, white and black dog is so different from our lively, gregarious labradors.  Although she has an exceedingly sweet disposition, she is a one-person dog.  Once she decides who that one person is going to be, she establishes herself as a permanent shadow.

Sherry knew of a family with a Type1 teenage son in Colorado that she would like to see Timber serve, if indeed she was a DAD.  Both Sherry & Timber and a Duty Dog's team paid a visit to the family to see if it was a good match.

Timber picked Jason*, the T1D as her person. Good start.  And Jason, of course, fell in love with this devoted little dog that dutifully followed him everywhere during her weekend trial.

It was decided that Timber would come and spend a few weeks with Duty Dogs and work on scent training.  And so, Timber found herself north in Wyoming once again.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Growing up!

Puppies have been growing SOOOO fast!!!!  Last Sunday they turned four weeks old, and really turned a corner in their maturity.  We are beginning to see personalities showing in different individuals and they are really beginning to look like little dogs!!  Super excited to see how this litter turns out, they are looking fabulous so far!

Growing up is such hard work!!

I know it's in here somewhere!

I'm watching you...

Future shed dog?


Papa Bailey loves his puppies!


Coffee and cream...

I've got the ball!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring Babies

Springtime means new life and babies.  On Sunday, Duty Dogs welcomed a new litter of puppies.
Icy, the dam

We've been eager for this breeding between Chilbrook Dreamlover (Bailey) and Chilbrook Black Ice (Icy).  Dog breeding is a wonderful study of genetics.  In order to get chocolate and yellow pups, both parents have to carry the gene for each color (remember the Punnett Square from high school biology?).

Bailey, the sire

Our other Mama dog, Jackie, does not carry the gene for yellow, so all of her litters have only produced black and chocolate. 

 BUT, Icy carries the gene for all three colors, so we finally have some Bailey Juniors!
Puppies started arriving on Sunday afternoon, catching us by surprise.  We weren't expecting them until the end of the week.  Although it was Icy's first whelping, thankfully it wasn't ours.  We knew how to jump into whelping mode and quickly got the new Mama situated in the whelping room.  Her first pup, a black male made his appearance shortly after 3:00 and the last, a yellow male finished up the pack five hours later.  No complications to report from this whelping.  WHEW!

The final tally was seven little bundles of sweetness-- three blacks (2 male/1female), three yellows (2 male/1 female), and one chocolate female.

As we expected from this sweet tempered dog, Icy took right to being a Mama.  She's so devoted to her pups, it's hard to get her to come out of the whelping box to take a "break" and get a stretch.  Mother and babies are doing fine.

Puppies will be available at the end of May.  Contact us if you're in need of a pup to train for service work.  But you better hurry-- they're going fast!

Monday, April 4, 2016

A MAJOR Event Part 2- "Placement"

So, what does "placing a service dog" look like?  After 20 months of training, we certainly don't just knock on the door and say, "Here's your dog.  Have a good life!"  Ridiculous!

Fortunately, Marie lives within an hour's drive to our California home.  This allowed us to take Major for several "sleep-overs" and weekend visits prior to his official placement.  Because of that prior experience together and time spent in Marie's home, this final placement visit was accomplished in a weekend.

Jeremy, Hannah, and Major flew from Wyoming (our present home) to California on a Friday afternoon.  Major did a fantastic job on the flight, especially considering that they first had to fly to Minneappolis (so much for direct flights!).

On Saturday morning, they arrived at Marie's house in the morning for a day of training and "transferring of the leash."  The agenda was to sharpen the new dog/handler team in the area of Public Access.  So, the crew hit the road and went shopping!

First stop was the grocery store, followed by the hardware store to pick up some supplies to make an elevated dog bed for Major.  The team did great together.

Of course, all that shopping makes you hungry!!  The ONLY option for lunch was a Becker favorite-- In 'N Out Burger.  A protein-style burger is a fine choice for a diabetic, BTW.  Major behaved perfectly tucked away beneath the table, dreaming of french fries but sampling none.

After lunch, the crew returned to Marie's home to debrief while Jeremy assembled Major's "place" (his elevated bed).  Hannah went over the "Owner's Manual" we had compiled for Marie-- a reference spot for training tips, service dog laws, traveling protocol, and such.

Feeling very satisfied by the fruit of the day, Hannah and Jeremy left the new couple alone for the evening.

On Sunday, the crew reunited and spent the morning at Marie's church.  This generous, caring body had supported Marie in obtaining her service dog through their generous contributions.  They were very eager to see the team together, finally!

Another lunch together and some final wrap-up back at the house proved that this new team was well on their way to success.  Jeremy and Hannah departed, but were on-call to return should any needs arise.  None did.

In the months ahead, the new team will develop their special rapport and style and Duty Dogs will be just a phone call away to help trouble-shoot any issues that come along.  That's our job.

(This post was written in conjunction with Part 1, but got lost in drafts!)