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What are Brigadoon Service Dogs Learning? (2016)

Brigadoon’s service dogs learn over 60 cues, in addition to the other manners and socialization skills they master. Here’s a look at what some of those cues are, what they mean, and what they can do!

  • “Fix” – Dog lifts up their legs and moves them to fix a leash entanglement. This is useful for when a leash gets tangled and a handler is unable to physically untangle it.

  • “Get it” – Dog picks up an object in their mouth that has been pointed to and gives it to their handler. This is helpful for people with limited mobility who cannot easily retrieve dropped items.

  • “Up” – Dog puts their paws on a surface. This is useful for mobility dogs so that they can retrieve objects off of tabletops or other surfaces, put things back onto the surface, or even pass a credit card to a cashier at a store to make a transaction.

  • “Light” and “switch” – Dog turns a light switch on or off. This helps people with limited mobility to turn off and on lights, and can also help people with PTSD to snap out of a flashback or night terror.

  • “Nudge” and “paw” – Dog nudges a person with their nose or paws them. These can be used as alerts. The dog can nudge or paw to alert a deaf person to a sound, a person with diabetes to a low blood sugar, a person with epilepsy to an oncoming seizure, or a person with anxiety to increasing anxiety.

  • “Go alert _______” - Dog runs and nudges a named person, then brings them back to their handler. This can be used when a person is hurt or unwell and needs a parent or caregiver to help.

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