NOVADog Magazine Winter 2019

Page 22


H an g i n g wi th DC Me tro ’s d o g -c ra z y c ro wd

Sophia Rutti is one of the primary Service Dog trainers at Dog’s Downtown.

Trained Dogs = Happy (Service) Dogs Dog’s Downtown Service Dog Trainer What was the impetus behind you wanting to train service dogs? Your facility is gorgeous and spacious. How did you design it? Dog’s Downtown’s goals are to educate the public on Service Animals, to provide affordable training services for Service Animals and family pets, and to assist in providing Service Animals that are carefully trained with low wait times. We are a team of animal lovers and experienced professionals that know what dogs can do for people in different capacities as pets, Emotional Support Animals, Therapy Dogs, and Service Animals. Our facility was designed with our goals in mind: to create a space where dogs can socialize, stay and train with the least amount of stress and the highest amount of positive focus. This means a priority on a stress-free, clean environment. We have multiple, secluded rooms for ‘low-stimulus environment’ training, as well as three play yards for socialization. Our facility and training decisions center around one thing: how do we train dogs to be well-balanced, focused, and happy in the home and in public? We focus on creating a balanced experience: playtime, socialization, training and discipline in appropriate measures. A happy, focused Service Animal does far more to help its ‘person’ than an overly stimulated, overtrained, over- worked stressed one does!

20 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2019

What is the difference between a Service Dog, a Therapy Dog and an Emotional Support Animal? This is a really important question! Both Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs perform important roles, but those roles are completely different. A “Service Animal” as they are titled under the Americans with Disabilities Act is a carefully trained dog that is specially trained for 1- 2.5 + years to have access to all public spaces in order to assist through ‘tasks’, in public and at home, one individual whose physical or mental condition disables them in varying ways from engaging in every day activities and life. There are many examples of