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Life With Dottie
By Suzanne Ponciroli

(Page 2 of 2)

What’s a Training Camp? 

Training camps are a time when the recipient learns to work with their dog. The dog is trained–now you need to be.  Service dogs know many commands before being paired with the physically limited person.  Camp teaches you how to train your dog to perform tasks specific to your needs.  

After leaving camp, it did not take me long to realize one of my specific needs. My dog left her toys all over the floor and, being in a wheelchair, this made it very difficult for me to get around. Using the command “clean up,” I taught Dottie to pick up her toys and put them in her toy basket. Her little trick really impresses young visitors AND their parents.

Is a Service Dog Right for Me?

An important question to ask yourself is if you are prepared to be a responsible dog owner? These animals are wonderful companions, but they are still large dogs that need to be let out to toilet; managed for fleas; brushed to control shedding; and taken to the veterinarian for routine health maintenance. Additionally, training reinforcement is an ongoing responsibility.

A service dog can help a person become more independent,  feeling happier and better about their life. There is a lot to consider before making the leap in that direction but, if you decide this path is right for you, it can be life changing.


"Suzanne Ponciroli has lived with the challenges created by MS for over 20 years.  She has created a Web site, and blog, Both contain ideas and aids to help people overcome physical challenges.


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