Assistance Dog help and Support

My name is Addy, I am new to K9Pro so I wanted to introduce myself and let you know that I would love to help you any way I can, my services are aimed around Assistance Dog help and support.

Being an autistic person, I have always found great joy and peace working with animals; particularly dogs. The first picture of me training dogs was when I was 3 years old standing on my grandparents’ caravan steps so I could stand high enough to train our family Saint Bernards.

I am not only very lucky but privileged to have been in a position where my hyper fixation has brought me to a dream job at K9Pro, where I can now help other people with disabilities train a best friend, their dog, to assist them through their life’s journey with more ease, support and or confidence.

Around 2018-19, I decided to embark on my own journey of gaining support and friendship from a well-trained dog to assist me with my disability and share my life with.

I came across many good times and many challenges along the way where I had to seek support and learn different aspects of dog training, behaviour modification and management, communication, understanding my own health and behaviours, and even as simple as how to pick a good breed, breeder and trainer to assist my journey.

I am going to be honest; my first dog didn’t turn out to be my assistance dog and neither did my second dog, they were not the right breeding for the tough and valuable work as an assistance dog.

They both still live great lives as a part of my family doing scent work, disc, trick training and many other exciting things.

But, my journey led me to Herzhund Labradors and K9Pro, where I met Steve, Alison, Bec, Henna and the rest of the amazing team.

Here I found my dog, Sirius.

At 11 months old Sirius; is now present with me completing Public Access duties under the DDA, and he has assisted me in many places like the hospital including hospital admissions, medical appointments, University, public transport (including the airport and trains), the Melbourne Zoo, Taronga Zoo and Sydney Aquarium, shopping centres, restaurants, many more places and has been on holidays with me and stayed in accommodation.

He is tasked trained to support both my physical and mental health including tasks such as DBT, retrieval tasks, opening doors at the house, crowd control and waking me from nightmares.

Sirius and I are further designing tasks which are individualised to my needs including seizure alerts, alerting to changes in heart rate to assist me in identifying stress level changes and to avoid POTS episodes, as well as guiding tasks.

As our journey continues I will develop further tasks for Sirius individualised to my conditions and needs.

During my assistance dog journey, I longed for support as I hit challenges that I struggled to overcome, answers to dog training, behaviour modification, learning and the assistance dog process that at times I struggled to obtain.

When I couldn’t get these answers or support, I began to search everywhere I could to learn more.

I asked questions upon questions of whoever I could, I began deepening my knowledge into psychology by working through a Bachelor in Psychology at Deakin University (current), watching training sessions, reading as many dog training books as I could get my hands on, working with people and their dogs to gain handling and real life experience through walking their dogs and helping them train their dogs, even volunteering as a part of the Revolutionary Assistance Dog Committee as a part of their training team.

Another beautiful Herzhund AD Cinder

I have now met so many amazing teams, and teams beginning or in the middle of their training journey that I have supported and worked with. All these experiences and the answers to the questions I had, and the desire to continue my growth to be able to help other assistance dog teams led me to being mentored by Steve Courtney.

 P.s, I still pinch myself.

Now I have completed Steve’s Trainer’s Masterclass program, and as I speak continue to develop my skills through mentoring, courses and hopefully completing a degree in Occupational Therapy.

My real-life experience has seen me complete board and train programs and training sessions with assistance dog prospects, whilst also supporting in the admin and advocacy piece for assistance dog teams.

I regularly now have the privilege of enjoying updates from teams I have and am working with like Sirius’ sister Cinder. Cinder recently assisted her handler to enjoy the easter holidays as a part of her community. I am also enjoying helping another team, Nico and his handler, in their scent work.

Joining the team here at K9Pro I am excited to be able to assist our current and future clients, both canine and human, along their assistance dog or therapy dog journey.

Whether this be assisting to pick a prospect dog, through the training journey, task development and training, completing Public Access Tests, understanding the legislations and legal requirements of an assistance dog or therapy dog team, assistance dog team advocacy and access, required documentation and even workplace or public place education of assistance and therapy dog teams.

Take a look at this page on our website to see some of the services we offer, if nothing suits you exactly, lets talk as we run many custom programs.

Addy de Jong-Davis

About SteveK9Pro

Steve Courtney is a Nationally Accredited Canine Behaviour Specialist, Obedience Trainer, Law Enforcement Dog Trainer and ANKC Breeder. Steve has been training dogs all his life and in these articles he shares with you his experience...

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One comment

  1. Addy this is absolutely fantastic! Thanks for such an open and thoughtful blog. I look forward to hearing and learning more about your AD training journey and how you help others.

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