Also to correct a false statement in an earlier post; Service Dogs are prescribed by a therapist and can be registered with many agencies but they are not 'certified'.*note the word registered, certified applies to therapy dogs*
Operation Wolfhound follows IAADP public access testing standards and only provides dogs to veterans with a valid prescription for the dog and after a screening process involving the veteran's therapist. Technically, any dog prescribed to a person that performs one or more specialized and medically assistive tasks is a service dog under ADA law. There is not and never has been a 'certification' agency. There are organizations like the ADI and the IAADP that work to set high standards for service dog behavior in order that the rights of people with service dogs will not be limited because of 'bad apples'.
I urge those interested in the matter to educate themselves on the actual laws pertaining to the matter. It is always better to state an opinion when one has the actual facts.
This is Alicia Miller of Operation Wolfhound. For those who wrote us directly asking why Mac had a prong collar before assuming we normally use such devices or that we were not trained in their use thank you for taking the time to discover the facts before voicing your opinion.
Mac is the only time Operation Wolfhound has used a prong collar and for a very specific reason. Both Mac's foster and Jill have physical issues with their arms and wrists. Jill is going to be having surgery soon on her wrist and Mac's foster has arms that have already been operated on. Because of this neither person can physically pull on the leash to a degree that Mac notices with a slip collar. When Mac was working with trainers without physical disabilities in their arms, he worked well on a slip collar but when he was working with people with disabled arms, he just didn't notice the cues. The prong collar is only there so Mac notices the leash cues from people with physical challenges.
Prong collars are cruel when misused, but then so are slip collars. Slip collars when yanked on or even with a dog just constantly leaning into it can cause long term damage to a dog's neck musculature. The key is not in the training aid, but in its proper use. When people have physical challenges that make them have a very light hand on the leash it is a useful tool to let the dog at least feel the light cues and prevent potentially crippling damage to the disabled persons arm and wrist caused if a dog gets distracted.
I would also like to point out that even if someone has rescued animals for years, that does not make them a qualified dog trainer or behaviorist. Operation Wolfhound has people with decades of experience in training and rehabilitating dogs. We do not use cruel methods, in fact our entire training program is based on Play Training which is all positive reenforcement. A dog fearful of pain, especially a sighthound will not be a good service dog. These dogs work because of the rewards of love and petting a constantly attentive partner showers on them.
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