SANTA ROSA, Calif.,
Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/
-- It's easy to let social distancing slip your mind when you
see an adorable dog helping their handler with a disability. In the
"before" times, well-meaning strangers have pet, talked to, tried
to feed or gazed longingly at working service dogs, potentially
distracting the dog. However, in this new Covid-19 era, social
distancing can be more important for people with disabilities who
may have vulnerable immune systems.
Canine Companions service dogs are professionally trained in 40
commands to enhance independence for people with disabilities,
including the "shake" command – a way for members of the public to
meet a working service dog in an appropriate manner by allowing the
handler to direct the dog to offer its paw. With changing needs due
to the pandemic, Canine Companions innovatively changed how they
train service dogs to interact with the public.
"People still want to meet our clients' working service dogs,
but 'shake' was impossible due to social distancing and could even
pose a risk to the handler's health," says Canine Companions
Director of Training and Client Services Sarah Birman. "We pivoted to the 'say hi'
command and are now training all of our service dogs to wave at
new friends from a safe distance."
Despite the challenges of a pandemic, Canine Companions has
placed more than 200 service dogs this year nationwide through
carefully distanced, small classes with hospital-level sanitation
"It has been really helpful for Service Dog Renata to know how
to wave," says client Wallis
Brozman. "That short interaction allows me to connect with
the world safely. I can tell people are smiling under their
Founded in 1975, Canine Companions created the concept of
training dogs to help people with physical disabilities and is a
founding and accredited member of Assistance Dogs International.
They've placed over 6,600 expertly trained service dogs entirely
free of charge and have teams working in all 50 states. As the
industry leader, Canine Companions has found innovative ways to
further independence through highly skilled service dogs.
Are you social distancing with your service dog or pet? Share a
photo of your social distancing pet or service dog during
September's National Service Dog Month and tag Canine Companions on
Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to use the hashtag
#sayhichallenge on social media. Learn more about Canine
Companions at cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.
Contact: Jeanine Konopelski,
Canine Companions for Independence
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 707-577-1759
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SOURCE Canine Companions for Independence