Several FAT profiles were created for Piper, and compared. This quickly identified Piper’s consistent strengths. While at the workshop with 30 people and their dogs, on a farm with many animals, on the road trip there and back, in the hotel, at restaurants – everywhere he went, Piper was reliable, comfortable and functional.
FAT also pinpointed the specific areas of concern: He worried when puppies approached him, and he found it difficult to be kenneled in the busy SFSD facility. These were very specific situations that could be addressed through counter-conditioning and desensitization, and by not kenneling the dog. With the insight provided by FAT, the SFSD staff realized they were right to not give up on this great dog but instead to give Piper the training he needed to be successful.
SFSD Training Program Manager Marilyn Wilson notes: “We thought we knew the problems, but so often, when you’re living with this behavior puzzle, objectivity can go out the window. FAT validated the direction we were taking and encouraged us to continue working with this dog.”
Piper became a stellar working service dog, and was placed with a partner. Together, they are doing great things. (There has not been a repeat of his previous behavior toward puppies.)