Sherry Solters, Founder, Athens discussed on Let's Talk Pets
Welcome back. We are talking with service dogs, founder, Sherry Solters. What I did want to ask you really quickly was. So you know, how the the stigma was rescue dogs being broken menu. You would definitely be the first person online being law. They are not what results do you find with rescue dogs and the training that you provide? Well, I think that it's like a chemical formula and part of it. It's usually in my opinion, dogs don't end up in shelters because of them they end up in shelters because of bad parenting, people get divorced or they say the dogs too much work, and maybe they should have gotten a magazine with a picture of a dog instead of a dog. So there's a classic book in the forties. By the monks of new skeet who trained German shepherds? The first line is every trainer gets the dog they deserve. So the way of dog is behaving as a reflection of how it's been treated. So that's why I like to rehabilitate these dogs and give them a second chance. Our success rate is comparable and often better than the folks that breed their dogs and a lot of that is because. Now, most people are using basically positive training. But we were among the first like twenty five years ago. Yes. Hey, we're not going to use the old punishment military methods anymore. We're going to use what the marine mammal industry started pioneering, which was being nice to them. The worst thing that happens. If a dog doesn't if a dog is doing a behavior we don't want. We will just a ignore it. So you're not giving them a lot of attention and be teaching something else to do. Instead that it can get rewarded for for example. If you don't want your dog to jump on you old school was unique them and the chats, you push them off of you all that dominant stuff. Yes. We teach the dog down because think about it you can't lay down and jump on somebody at the same time. So if you are always rewarding them when they lay down they're going to start laying down to get that reward. And there you go you no longer have a dog that jump on you because jumping get some nothing, but laying down gets him treats and praise and going through the door and getting in the car, so they'll start offering you downs because of the reinforcement history, right? Training is a great way to get animals and people to do what you want. Plus, you're building a great relationship with the animal because we have people who fall out of their wheelchairs and the dog has to go find the phone or go get help. If you're only controlling them by punishing them, right physically. Can't do it. Then they're gonna go free at last. I'm out of here. The dog will try to help you because of the relationship and in behavior, they have like the cure, the command and the behavior and then that consequence the consequences. What drives the behavior not that? You spoke to them in German with their low voice, for example, remember payphones every once in a while you find a a quarter and a payphone. Well, if you find a quarter, and a payphone you will check that tape on the next ten times you walk by it. Because of the consequence something good happened. It's not 'cause there's a sign that says check me for money the consequence or if you have a lucky slot machine Vegas. You're going to keep playing that machine because something good happened. So if adopt does something and something great happens the dog will do it again. And then they'll become very creative. So let's say the dog doesn't get the reward. He's gonna try other things to try to get some kind of reward. And so that way you have a dog that can think for itself and solve problems. So we had a guy one time had passed out bathtub. So he couldn't tell the dog to do anything. But the dog pulled them out. He was still dressed. He was just he had a seizure and fell into the bathtub. So the dog figured out. I'm gonna try to pull them out of the bathtub and succeeded in doing that. Actually was very afraid of running water. We think somebody may have tied him up sprayed them with the host to punish him. So she is because of the foundation of the relationship with him and the gentleman who was actually a pastor he overcame his biggest fear and figured out how to solve. Wow. And with the deaf person. They don't know the microwave oven going off. They don't know the phone is ringing or someone's knocking on the door. Just like a drug dog or a dog that smells, you know, guns, or whatever the q- comes from the environment. So you can't control the dog if you actually have the disability or if you're the officer the dog has to want to do it. You you build up like every time you do this something great Athens, while I'm sure gonna do it again, then so it's a really creative way of training, and it works much better for more complex behaviors. It's not just don't get up unless I tell you. I'm going to be mean to you. It's hey opened the refrigerator. But now, I want you to tug the strap attached to the door handles. I want you to take it with more force or not. My paralyzed arm Beckham to arm of the wheelchair. Okay. You touched it. Now. Push it a little harder. So there's a lot of characteristics of a behavior. And this kind of training helps you find tuna behavior. It's not just don't cross the line into the kitchen. So right in very elegant. And it's it's not that it's easy. It's creative. It's fun for you. And the animal, and you know, people get away with using crummy training methods on dogs because dogs are resilient. They'll figure out what you want and they're Littler than you are most of the time. So you can manhandle them or overpower them. But if you're working with a killer whale or a bird that can fly away or an elephant, you really wanna have behaviors that the animal wants to participate in versus hurting it because those animals can hurt you if they're afraid or angry. Oh, yeah. For sure for sure. So you want to team up? Yeah. That makes total sense now that you put it in that in that context. What they would totally become creative and find a different way of doing things. That's awesome. Well, when you hear about when you use aggression and training, like punishment, is aggression. You get three things that you don't want you get aggression back. So when you hear about sometimes with they used to train police dogs. They were pretty rough with them. You'll get a dog that will bite the handler or you might get like a wild animal that in captivity that attacks the the trainer like like. Yeah. That's aggression back because that person's been hurting that animal and the animals finally, yes. You get what's called escapism or the animal runs away, which is all the elephants trampling through the village. We read a dog show once and there was a demonstration of they were showing on a dalmatian how to use the shock collar which shock and all of a sudden you just saw they wanted to bore our PA system microphone, and I said, no, I don't believe in your actions. So five minutes later, you see a dalmatian running through the auditorium or the convention center. And it's he wanted to get away. And that's why you have teen runaways the third thing you learned helplessness this zone out. And let them hurt you. 'cause that's in people do that too. And it's it's real sad to see. And we don't want to do any of those things to our animals, and we don't need to so I- demonize anybody who uses punishment on their animals and four shock collars, all of that stuff. That's just wrong. And I hope they learn better methodology, and they can be more successful, but their dogs and other animals and the humans in their lives too. Yeah. Yeah. That is definitely important has to start with us. Right. Right. Sherry tell us about your main programs that you offer people needing assistance. Well, we train hearing dogs that alert deaf people to different sounds like the baby's cry Blyleven timer the smoke alarm thinks someone calling your name and within the the hearing impaired community, there's different levels. There's death. There's people who maybe wear a hearing aid or coke clear implant. But when they take them out, they don't have any hearing hard of hearing. And we just say if you're missing sounds, you know, we want to help you and those are usually medium sized dogs like Benji like carriers and cocker spaniels and that type of dog, and they will cut you to get their attention. They'll either negative with their nose of their paw. And then you go what is it? And then the dog will lead you to the found arm might lead you to the half to the door. So yeah, they're basically, hey, follow me something's going on over here. And when you're walking with the dog, you sort of see them in the corner of your eye. So if they whipped their head around to look at something. You can see what they're looking at like somebody on a ladder hammering or or oh L one young woman who came to a hearing dogs said she was walking through the parking lot at target. Y'all have target up there. Okay. A big a big store. Yeah. There you go and all of a sudden she was screwing around on her phone and all of a sudden in the parking lot. She just smelled burning rubber and she looked up in a car just almost hit her and like slam it's brakes on she decided to get a hearing dog because it would have alerted her that there was a there was a car kind of right around them in your personal space or about to be. So those dogs, basically, touch you and lead you to the sound, and they'll sort of figure out started learning to even more things that you didn't even train them for like we train the dog to alert a woman when her tea kettle whistle went off. And it started alerting her to win her soup was boiling because it started noticing the bubbles the sound of the bubbles and the soup and started alerting her to that we had a hearing dog that alerted woman when at night at worker up at turned out the picture behind her bed at fallen down. So they kind of get the hang of it. And they they even more things and then the service dogs what the industry calls service dogs. It's for somebody with their mobility related disability. They've had a spinal cord injury. Right. Yes. Palsy, all that stuff, multiple sclerosis and the dog a lot a lot of what they do is pick up things you drop. We do a lot of behaviors based on hugging. Like, they'll open the door. They'll open the refrigerator, they might cut your sock off even in the refrigerator. They'll bring you back. You know, a bottle of water or a little lunch. One of those little kind of. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Take out a little lunch thing you can race on them. If you're transferring between your wheelchair, and like, the couch or the bed they can turn a light on or off Doug on their hind legs and use their mouth to kind of do it. And that includes ceiling fans do what's called targeting, which is mean touching something with their power their nose like automated door button that opens doors to the mall or wherever and we can custom train them. Somebody said I can't get my shirt off over my head and the dog can help we have dog that would pull the velcro on the guy's tennis shoes. And so that's exciting for us. We'll have a dog. They don't go push emergency buzzer that calls like an ambulance, and we have dogs get. Closed dryers because the person can't reach into the dryer and do that, and they'll drop them in a laundry basket, and then we'll attach like an old necktie use them a lot, and they'll pull the laundry basket down the hall for the person, can you know, folder Klausner bedroom. And so those are the service dogs, and then again, the courthouse dogs help staff at a district.