After several years of researching service dog training programs across the country, I found an amazing one right here in Tennessee that is a perfect fit for our family. One of the things I love about Off Leash K9 Training is that they rescue shelter dogs and train them to be service dogs.
Some of the things the service dog will do to help Maddy include:
* Mobility: Maddox struggles with balance so the dog will be trained to help physically support Maddox with things like dressing and walking on stairs.
* Deep Pressure: Like many folks with autism, Maddox responds well to deep pressure when he is in distress. The dog will be trained to provide deep pressure to Maddox to help him de-escalate.
* Tethering: In situations where there is a risk of Maddox running away (new, crowded places), the dog will be tethered to Maddox and be trained to lay down and prevent Maddox from running.
* Trail and Find: The dog will be trained to locate Maddox if he does run away.
Finding a dog for Maddox may take a little while. Because Maddox's dog will help with some of his mobility challenges, it is important to get a large dog (100+ pounds) that will be large enough to physically support Maddox as he grows. In addition, they will be looking for a low-shedding dog. Maddox has been getting allergy shots for two years to enable him to get a service dog but they still want to minimize his exposure to dander as much as possible. Our trainer, Sarah, said it could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months to find the right dog for Maddy.
After Off Leash K9 Training has found a dog for Maddy, it will go to live with our trainer, Sarah, for 2 weeks of obedience training. After that, the dog will come home to us and Maddox and I will travel to Murfreesboro twice a week for several weeks for training with the dog.
I am so excited for the independence and comfort that a service dog will provide Maddox but service dog training is expensive. Our community has always rallied around Maddox and I am asking you to support him once again as we raise funds for a service dog for this amazing little guy! As always, thank you for your love and support.
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