Where Animal Lovers Pursue Animal Careers

Service Dog Training

Veterans Use Dogs for Therapy, Service Dogs Helping Veterans

Veterans With PTSD Finding New Purpose in Life With Service Dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Helen Cole 

Many soldiers who make it home from war bring the war home with them. Each day in the United States, 22 veterans take their own lives, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) lead many veterans into a lonely battle with themselves, facing flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, hypersensitivity, anger, sleeplessness and depression.

This debilitating disorder affects 30 percent of post-9/11 veterans, the VA reports. And despite the alarming effects of PTSD, the American Psychological Association reports that more than two-thirds of these veterans never seek treatment. The negative stigma associated with mental illness makes soldiers hesitant to seek help for fear of appearing weak or vulnerable.

Nonprofit organizations like War Dogs Making It Home and Soldier’s Best Friend provide a cutting-edge approach to help these men and women. These organizations pair homeless dogs facing euthanasia with suffering soldiers seeking reasons to live in a beautiful, dual effort to save lives.

How Service Dogs Benefit Veterans

About 2.7 million healthy, adoptable pets are put down in this country each year, the Humane Society of the United States reports. Rather than waiting for a service dog to become available for home placement, the struggling veterans in these programs actively take part in the rescue and training of their dog. In most situations, the dogs are pre-trained to handle PTSD symptoms and know how to interrupt attacks of panic, stress and hyper-vigilance.

Weekly training continues once the vets are paired with their dogs. Oftentimes, these courses take place in a group setting among other soldiers dealing with PTSD, providing a safe and welcoming environment.

Why Service Dog Training Works

Unlike traditional service dog programs, organizations that pair shelter dogs with veterans are often offered at little to no cost, creating a financially approachable means of therapy. These programs offer an alternative to standard therapy and medication, and veterans tend to look at the process as a means of helping animals in need rather than seeking help for themselves—thus decreasing the fear of seeming week or vulnerable. Veterans feel a sense of accomplishment, knowing they’ve played an active role in saving a life.

How You Can Help

Spouses and family members are essential to a successful recovery. Follow these tips to increase the success of a service dog program.

  • Get involved. Show your support by taking part in the training process. Help your spouse by staying up to date with the training methods being used. As an added incentive, military spouses often qualify for free tuition at Animal Behavior College.
  • Keep your pet healthy. Your new service dog is not just a pet, it’s an integral part of your spouse’s healing process. Keep your new family member healthy by ensuring proper nutrition. Sites like Dog Food Advisor keep you up-to-date on food recalls, reviews and quality ratings.
  • Make your home pet-friendly. Don’t let the added responsibility of a service animal infringe on your independence. Make this a positive experience for you, your pet and your soldier by adding a pet door for easy access to the outdoors. Electronic dog doors offered by PetSafe are equipped with self-opening technology activated through a smart-key attached to your pet’s collar. Keep unwanted critters out while giving your service dog the freedom to come and go independently.Another great resource for enjoyable pet products can be found here. You may also find that hiring a certified dog trainer can benefit the quality of your pet’s home life.Other Resources:
    Train A Dog Save A Warrior (TADSAW)
    Big Paws Canine Foundation
    Forever Warriors

Forever Warriors Founder – Training Service Dogs While Changing the World for Vets

Jason Young puts Animals & Soldiers First in His Quest to Change the World for Veterans.

Training Service Dogs in Los Angeles

Jason Young Founder of Forever Warriors. Now training service dogs with Big Paws Canine in Los Angeles, CA.

Young, a graduate of Animal Behavior College’s Dog Obedience Program is now Training Service Dogs While Changing Veteran Lives.

ABC Graduate Dog Trainer Jason Young

Jason Young served in the Navy Seabees Construction Battalion.  After coming home from his tour, Jason Young was in school to complete his education in Computer Networking. During his program training he was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  His doctor recommended that he consider a new career while going through the rehabilitation recommended to heal his TBI.

“Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a complex injury with a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities,” according to http://www.traumaticbraininjury.com.

“One moment the person diagnosed can be seen as normal and the next moment life has abruptly changed. Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries. Recovery is a functional recovery, based on mechanisms that remain uncertain. No two brain injuries are a like and the consequence of two similar injuries may be very different. Symptoms may appear right away or may not be present for days or weeks after the injury.  Most often, these body structures heal and regain their previous function.” says  traumaticbraininjury.com.

After considering his options Jason again consulted with his doctor. He mentioned that he may want to pursue a vocational career that involved peer counseling. Young’s doctor recommended considering a career in training service dogs. Jason liked the idea of rehabilitation training that could benefit the lives of soldiers and veterans using Dog Training as the tool to heal himself and others.  He loves working with service dogs and highly recommends Animal Behavior College to other veterans as a great place to learn Dog Obedience Training.

Jason graduated from Animal Behavior College in September 2013. Before completing his final exam and externship he was offered a position as a Dog Trainer at Big Paws Canine Academy and Foundation, Inc.

We had the chance to ask Jason Young why he chose Animal Behavior College and specifically the dog training program? Here is what he had to say:

“The course was great! I loved the externship and working at the shelter. My main goal before I started the course was to learn to train Service Dogs for Veterans. Myself being a veteran wanting to help other vets I had thought about becoming a peer counselor, but I didn’t want to bring that home with me every day. After one of the VA doctors asked me if I had ever thought about training service animals. It was the perfect idea, considering all the service dog providers there are popping up all over the country very few people are looking at becoming a dog trainer. I have been communicating with numerous providers in the last year like: Pets for Vets, TADSAW, Battle Buddy and many others. I would refer veterans to whichever one that was closest or fit the Veterans needs best. About a week before I received my certificate in September, Big Paws Canine Academy offered me a training job training Veterans and their dogs at the VA hospitals. It is the perfect fit for me. I can help other veterans alleviate anxieties caused by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) naturally and possibly lower the doses of mood altering medications that some veterans are becoming dependent upon for every day life. It’s a win, win{situation}, for me. I get to work with animals and help heroes.”

Jason’s passion truly shows that it is not about the money. He actually turned down a paid position at Big Paws Canine Academy and opted for working as an intern so that Big Paws CA could afford to hire more trainers. Together Jason and Big Paws CA are on a mission to make rehabilitation available to more vets returning from war.  They are not the only ones. Jason is also participating in the Battle Buddy Run, a 5K fundraiser to assist the placement of service dogs with soldiers who have PTSD. This event is taking place in Fresno Calif. on October 26th.  https://www.facebook.com/battlebuddyrun

Service Dog Obedience Training by Jason at Big Paws Academy

Jason teaching Service Dog Obedience class at local Lowe’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his spare time Jason enjoys speaking with other soldiers and vets.  He assists injured soldiers and vets by pairing them with an organization that would best suit their needs. He also posts content about service dogs, service dog news, and information needed on his Forever Warriors page. https://www.facebook.com/WeAreForeverWarriors?ref=stream