Monday, October 7, 2013

Owner Train a DAD with Accountability!

Meet Rebekah Wright
When looking for an organization/trainer to work with, you must have confidence in the person you are dealing with. You want to know they will follow up and be there for you throughout the process and lifetime of your dog. Rebekah Wright has the reputation for doing just that.
I was advised to call her over a year ago through a FB email from someone who saw our son's Facebook page.
Rebekah was HELPFUL, organized, and answered any and every question of mine. She even asked her own; i.e. "What is your goal for your son? Do you want a public access dog or just a night alerter...? Things like that.
She is located in Colorado Springs, but her work with families and DADs is known and available all over the U.S. (I had the pleasure to contact one of her clients and have shared below.)
Highland Springs Pet Services, LLC has been around for approximately 2 ½ years.

Wright has previous experience training Service Dogs, but started working with Diabetic Alert Dogs by imprinting her first litter of Australian Shepherd puppies on low blood sugar scent. She found this very successful and all those puppies have gone on and done well with their placements. 

Rebekah has a heart for people with invisible disabilities, and finding the right dog to work for them.. She explains, "I hate seeing dogs that were bred to work, sit around all day doing nothing.  I am constantly amazed by their ability; abilities that weren’t allowed to shine through before.  The more time I spend with Diabetic Alert Dogs, and Service Dogs in general, the more I am pushed to continue on. Wright also desires to collaborate more with trainers. 
"There is a HUGE need for DADs and SDs.  I want to help as many people as possible get a DAD or SD into their home."    
As big a task as that seems, Rebekah focuses on one family at a time. She helps people Owner Train and offers local DAD and SD training and/or remote learning.
Wright loves seeing a dog in training “get it," plus the smiles and signs of hope from families impacted by TYPE 1 diabetes. 
Though her program does not offer fully trained DADs,  families that come to Rebekah with a dog already in mind are evaluated to see if that dog may be suitable for Service Dog work.  If there is no dog in mind yet, she assists in acquiring the appropriate candidate.  Wright then trains weekly with the handler and dog to get them to the point of being a fully trained Diabetic Alert Dog Team. 

She also breeds on occasion and imprints her litters with low blood sugar scent. Rebekah then places the best candidates as Diabetic Alert Dog Prospects between 8-10 weeks of age. Wright has placed 5 DADs as of yet, and is currently helping train 4.
Each owner trained team must pass a Public Access Test to be considered a fully trained team. They will need to annually "re-certify” through Highland Springs Service Dogs by completing the test over again.

Rebekah acknowledges that, "Not everyone is an appropriate candidate for owner training.  It depends on the handler’s lifestyle and whether they can put forth the time, effort, and money for the next 18-24 months to reach their end goal."

When evaluating which dog to commit to, she looks for drive and temperament. Rebekah claims,
"A DAD prospect needs to be confident, but not full of themselves, still looking to their handler for feedback.  They also need enough drive to not give up too easily but not turn their frustration into aggression." 
Start to “finish” for being placed with with one of Highland's DADs is 18-24 months. During this process clients aren’t sitting ducks. They are actively involved in training their DAD daily with Rebekah's full support. Time may deviate only due to former training the dog has, and how quickly the team learns. 
Price Range: $1,500-$3,000 for an imprinted puppy (Range depends on the pedigree of the parents). Up to $6,000 for owner trained. Pricing varies by amount of time it takes and location of team.
Click here for Rebekah's placement story:

editor's note: "With Rebekah Wright, you can't go Wrong!" Yes, I had to. Share your questions below!

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