12/15/2016 DONATION: Train a Dog – Save a Warrior
The Git-R-Done Foundation recently made a donation to TADSAW, Train a Dog – Save a Warrior. This wonderful organization trains service dogs for our veterans. They also make an effort to train shelter dogs, that way they are SAVING TWO LIVES, NOT JUST ONE! Read more about TADSAW below or click HERE to learn more.
The ‘Train a Dog – Save a Warrior’ (TADSAW) program makes it the responsibility of the Dog Trainer to use positive reinforced training methods during the training period with the Veteran and dog. TADSAW wants to assure that the human-canine bond will build and strengthen over the training period of 15 to 25 weeks, and continue after the last lesson, the TADSAW Public Access Temperament Test (PATT). However, many people do not realize that a Service Dog is in-training every day that the Team goes out into the public, long after the final lesson. From obedience training, to specialized tasks being taught, to learning how to interpret and proactively respond to the dog’s body language, are all parts of the TADSAW program, and is the responsibility of the Trainer.
A majority of the Trainers are graduates of Dog Training programs, such as Animal Behavior College, Starmark Training Academy, Karen Pryor Academy, etc., obtained training certificates from short courses, or have several years of professional experience. Many of the Trainers are AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluators and/or are Testers for Therapy Dogs, such as TDInc, Therapy Dogs International, APDT C.L.A.S.S. (Canine Life and Social Skills) program, etc. The major focus is that the program is based on positive re-enforced training methods and techniques, because a Dog should not be worried about alerting the veteran to an impending medical condition or situation. This behavior may result when a negative enforced training technique is employed.
The typical training lasts from 15 to 25 weeks, based on 1 or 2 sessions per week or 3 sessions every 2 weeks. If the veteran has a personal dog, the Trainer will evaluate and assess the Dog’s temperament,
The only cost to the veteran is their time, effort, commitment, travel and gas to attend training and be part of a Service Dog Team. Additional out of pocket expenses for the veteran needing a dog would be the usual and customary cost of dog food, training treats, collars, leashes, food/water bowls, bedding, toys, etc. Dogs from shelters are required to be neutered/spayed, heart worm negative and up-to-date vaccinations, in order to be in the program. TADSAW only works with shelters that DO NOT charge an adoption fee, as not every dog selected will become a Service Dog and may have to be returned as a great companion dog prospect, and the process of training would start all over again.
The TADSAW program is very unique in that the veteran is trained to be a Dog Trainer/Handler under the supervision of the TADSAW Dog Trainer. The veteran learns all of the obedience skills necessary for the dog to behave appropriately in public or anywhere else. The veteran learns how to train the dog to perform the necessary tasks associated with improving the Quality of Life of the person. During this process, the veteran is taught how to read the dog’s body language and proactively respond to the alert, based on olfactory communication and recognition, being displayed in order to alleviate or lessen the effect of the PTSD episode, TBI pseudo-seizure, etc., rather than responding to the crisis situation after it has taken hold of the individual.
The TADSAW philosophy is “Together you train to hone your skills and Bond as a Team.” Another unique TADSAW concept, based upon Military training methods, is ‘Plan – Prepare – Engage’, prior to attempting the objective, in order to increase the probability of successfully completing the mission.
From July 2010 thru December 7th 2016, TADSAW, INC. has provided over 8400 applications to individuals, accredited 621 TADSAW Service Dog Teams (M:471 // F:150) including 76 Vietnam War Veteran Service Dog Teams, and has over 750 Teams currently in-training, or ready to begin, through-out the United States and Puerto Rico. This means the Quality of Life for over 1300 veterans and shelter dogs, their families, their neighborhoods and their communities has changed for the better.
A 2014 Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, Masters’ Thesis survey based on TADSAW Service Dog Teams reported a 22.9% decrease in the severity of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms of the wounded warrior, Active Duty and Veteran, when measured over the 12 to 15 week time period from pre-training through the administration of the Public Access Temperament Test