Friday, November 8, 2013

A DAD is a Best friend fur-ever!

Linda Cree, RN, CPT of BFF Dog Training has been working with dogs since she was a child. Linda started training dogs as an adult for fun on the side while working as a RN. Pretty soon the training took up more of her time, so she quit nursing full time and decided to make a business out of it. Cree attended National K9 Learning Center (NK9) in Columbus, Ohio.
Linda points out,

“At that point I felt I was making the right decision, I loved being at NK9, and learned a lot of valuable information. I wanted to somehow connect my nursing and dog training but did not know how other than therapy dogs.”
She started training DAD's years ago, when the National Institute for Diabetic Alert Dogs (NIDAD) contacted her & asked if she would be interested in learning to train DAD's. Cree recalls,
“I had never heard of DAD’s and thought it was a joke; I did some research and discovered it was a beautiful thing! So I signed up to learn the skill, and felt it was a great way to combine my nursing and dog training skills. I love helping people, so this was perfect!”

During Linda's Michigan conference.**
Linda only trains 2-4 dogs per year and prefers to live with the dogs in her home before placing them with a family. She likes how that helps her match them with a compatible diabetic person.
Though her training process is the one  taught by NIDAD, Cree also attended a conference by Debby Kay  and Brent Brooks* (both DAD trainers and Lab breeders). She claims, “They use very similar methods with the same tools. So I believe that I am using some of best techniques that are out there for training DAD’s. I also enjoy teaching workshops for other trainers and families to learn how to train their own dog(s).”
Currently the wait for a dog is about a year, and they are full until Spring 2014 with dogs in training.

Linda’s dogs come at a lesser price than a lot of organizations, because she feels, “That way I can help people that normally could not get one. I also offer discounts for military personnel and veterans. I am a veteran myself, 8 years in the United States Air Force. And I work with families for the life of their dog. Anything from follow up phone calls, emails, and visits if needed.” Linda openly shares that,
“Not everyone that applies for a dog gets one, they are not for everyone. It is a lifestyle change, an added responsibility, another expense, and a commitment of time. But if someone is open to the responsibility, they will definitely be getting a New Best Friend Furever (BFF)!”

Linda has been placing DADs since 2010 and is realistic about training dogs. She explains that no two dogs train the same. They may look the same, but no, they won't train exactly the same way. She understands the client and finds the dog, and mostly works doodles due to low shedding. Poodles are also on her list because of the hypo-allergenic benefit. She finds good breeders NATIONWIDE and goes from there! Every client receives a puppy packet with thorough training and Linda is one among many trainers finding the value in providing conferences. 2-3 day conferences for handlers, and 1-week events for FAMILIES. She recognizes the significance and affect that DADs can play on the whole family.

located in Dodgeville, WI USA

"My service dog finally arrived!!!
Today was an amazing day. We did training, went over a lot of information, and he got a lot of cuddles! Such a smart dog. He alerted me 3x today for low blood sugar. I am feeling truly blessed to have him here with me!" -FB post Aug 20, 2013 by Malisa Phillips. (Happy Client)

**-----> FOLLOW UP ARTICLE on her MiCHIGAN conference dogs where Linda says, 

"It is amazing how the dogs picked up on the low blood sugar scent so quickly, in just two days of training." It takes about four months total to train a DAD dog, six weeks for the scent training in various environments and four months total to complete the public access obedience training. However, during and shortly after the seminar, three dogs alerted on two participants who were not aware that their blood sugar had gone low." (read full story!)

*editor's note: Linda would love nothing more than for a client who desires a Brooks labrador to come along and request her train one for them!

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