Big Service Dog Dreams and A Dog Named Ranga

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A Rescue Dog Named Ranga and Her Service Dog Dreams

Ranga's mom came to The Bark looking for training to help her rescue dog to become a service dog. Her dog is a beautiful Border Collie mix, named Ranga. Service dogs are specially trained to have good behavior and perform a minimum of two tasks that assist their owner with a disability. Ranga's mom struggles with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or M.E. for short. This causes her to struggle with intense brain fog, seizures, random blood pressure spikes and drops, temperature dysregulation, and many more. We knew we wanted to help make her life easier and help Ranga to have a fulfilling purpose!

Ranga’s Dog Training Goals

  • learning to grab objects when asked or on a routine basis after certain events
  • Snuggle on cue
  • Learn subtle signs from his dog mom to know when to either give her pressure in necessary areas or to bring her meds

Ranga learns to pickup objects like other service dogs

We got right to work teaching Ranga how to pick up items on cue. As a border collie mix, he sure picked up on this service dog task very quickly. Within just a few sessions, Ranga was able to grab a medicine bag with a toy rope attached to it. He could do it when asked from anywhere in the home. We spent time increasing the weight of the bag so he is able to bring her everything she needs at once. The bag needed to eventually contain several medications, water bottle, blood pressure cuff, and a treat for Rangas good work. His cue to bring her the medicine bag is an alarm that says, “Ranga, get bag!” This simple task allows her to have her medicine quickly. This really helps assist her during difficult days when she struggles with her symtoms

Recall and attention can be as simple as saying "Touch"

We introduced Ranga to another cue called “touch”. This simple dog training cue allows his mom to recall Ranga from anywhere, around any distraction. The dog training cue looks like him approaching and booping her hand with his nose. We used this dog training task to help initiate snuggling and deep pressure therapy. It allowed us to get Ranga where we needed him to be. This also help guide him into the position necessary to help lower his mom’s heart rate. This task even helps regulate her body temperature. It made it simple that Ragna is the best snuggler in town and oh so sweet!

Now that's what we call a service dog!

As we worked with Ranga, he picked up on several early-warning signs of an impending episode naturally. Border collie's are so smart and in tune with their surroundings after all! We learned he started to express when her heart rate was either too high or too low. He started to ring his door-bells that he uses to signal to go outside and began obsessively ringing them until he got her attention. From there, she was able to piece together that something was wrong and signaled for Ranga to bring her bag. Next, she would take her blood pressure and then any necessary medications and initiate snuggling. Way to go, Ranga! Ranga has also reached the point where if he finds mom unconscious he will go get the medication bag and bring it to her. He will set it on her chest and work on waking her up with kisses and pressure on her body.

Ranga's mom doesn’t know what she would do without Ranga every day. We are so proud of how far he has come in such a short amount of time. If you'd like to set up a complimentary meet and greet with our dog trainers, they are always full of amazing and inventive ideas to make yours and your dog's life easier and bond closer.

Written by: Danelle Wood
Positive Reinforcement Dog Trainer