The K9 Caller
Service dog organizations train and partner dogs with disabled individuals who can benefit from the dog's skills. The organizations are extremely detailed in their efforts to match their clients with the right service dog for their needs. Many of these organizations have questionnaires that the client gives to their family members, peers, friends, employers, etc. in order to give a complete picture of the person’s personality, lifestyle, likes/dislikes, daily routine, etc. The reason for this is to choose a dog with the same type of personality and lifestyle. For instance a dog that is mild-mannered and quiet in nature may not make a good service dog for someone living in New York City while an energetic, quick paced dog would absolutely thrive there.
As important as it is to select the right dog with the right skills for a disabled person’s needs, the same efforts need to be put into the way a service dog uses its skills to assist the handler. Most people are familiar with guide dogs and have seen them wearing custom fitted harness with a high bridge handle on top. This harness allows the handler to feel connected to the dog and helps the dog guide the handler more precisely. Medical alert service dogs need the proper tools to summon assistance for their handlers in an emergency.
The K9 Caller is the perfect tool for both the trainer and the dog. Our device houses a medical alert button which the handlers inserts and the dog can activate it to call emergency services. While there are other devices for medical alert dogs to make a call for help, they only allow one way for the dog to be trained to use it. It is said in the dog training industry that, “It is easier to build on a behavior than to instill a behavior.” This means that it is easier for the trainer and the dog to build on what comes naturally to the dog rather than to teach the dog an entirely different skill. Our device follows this methodology. The K9 Caller works with the natural abilities of the dog to enable him/her to summon emergency assistance. Using the experience of service dog handlers, along with the guidance and mentorship of world-renowned dog trainer Debby Kay of Chilbrook Labradors and K9 Program Director Kathleen Poulsson from Veterans Moving Forward, we have designed the K9 Caller to enable the trainer three different ways to train a dog to make an emergency call for help to a monitored alarm service. The K9 Caller is attached to the wall with heavy duty velcro (included with purchase) or screwed into the wall. To activate the medical alert button, the dog can push the target button with their nose or they can tug the rope with their mouth. The Caller can also be secured to the floor and a dog can be trained to push the button with their paw.