Dog training

CampV will host service dog training for veterans

This program is for veterans who already have a dog and wish to have their animal certified as a service animal.

TYLER, Texas — Along with an experienced dog trainer, CampV has developed a program that will allow veterans to train their dogs to be service animals.

The one-stop-shop for veterans in East Texas will begin its first service dog training Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. at the CampV campus, located at 3212 W. Front St. in Tyler. Classes will continue every Wednesday at the same time for five to six weeks, depending on each dog’s progress.

CampV executive director Travis Gladhill said a service dog is different from an emotional support animal. He noted that most service dog training programs separate dogs and owners for a long time, which can be harmful to the veteran.

“During this time, dog and owner can kind of lose that bond that they have together. It causes undue anxiety for the veteran to have to be separated from their pet for an unprecedented length of time,” Gladhill said. “We saw this happen and partnered with one of the best dog trainers in the East Texas area.”

Multi-certified trainer Judy Parsons has partnered with CampV for the courses. Those interested in signing up can call Parsons at 903-618-9333.

Some of the requirements for training include a letter from the veteran’s doctor prescribing a service animal for psychiatric or physical support, the dog must be at least 1 year old, dogs must be capable of certain commands ( sit/stay, down/stay, heel, leave it and come).

According to CampV, the dog cannot be an emotional support animal. The cost will be $120; however, financial assistance is available through CampV for veterans and their families.

For dogs that cannot respond to basic commands, CampV, also known as Community Assisting Military Personnel and Veterans, will provide that training during another class, Gladhill said.

He said classes will include private training and learning behavior in public spaces, such as riding public transport or eating out.

“This service dog is there, as I guess you would say, as a prescription to help this veteran or anyone else with their particular day-to-day duties. For those with severe PTSD, this service animal can have that calming effect. It can kind of refocus that individual and reduce their anxiety,” Gladhill said. “The dog will be able to know what your triggers are and pull you away from those triggers and back away to help you calm down and center yourself.”

CampV officials will also help decide which type of race would be best for the veteran. Gladhill encouraged people to register as soon as possible as training space is limited.

This program is for veterans who already have a dog and wish to have their animal certified as a service animal. After completing the course, the veteran receives a certificate and information about their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Gladhill said.

“I think it’s a great program that we’re just getting started and can’t wait to see where it goes,” he said.

For more information or to donate to the program, visit campvtyler.com or email [email protected]

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