Welcome to Day One of the Canine Heroes Blog Tour!
To kick us off, I asked Alicia Picon of The Service Dog Life to tell us a bit about her work with allergen detection service dogs.
- Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to get a service dog?
My name is Alicia Picon, I am 18 years old and have a background with working with service dog trainers and having other apprenticeships. I originally was led into the service dog decision due to a tv interview done about allergen detection dogs, a new concept at the time, my parents seen it and showed me and we believed it would be very helpful for me at the time since I was having several reactions prior to that.
- Can you describe the job of an allergen detection dog?
Allergen detection dogs can be trained in two ways, trained to alert to the immediate presence of the allergen, so if they were to smell it in the air the alert their handler to it. Some dogs can be taught to remove the handler from the odor. This type of training is helpful for those suffering from airborne reactions to their allergen. Other way is more controlled format the dog only checks certain items like, packages in a store, plates in a restaurant or occasionally surfaces as well. This is more useful for people who don’t react to airborne and react to ingesting their allergen or touching their allergen. My dogs do the later type of detection.
- What are some of the challenges you faced in having a service dog?
I have faced issues with public access, which means I have been denied entry or service in establishments before. I also have had to deal with members of the public that have said rude comments and or have interacted with my service dog inappropriately. But these instances are all apart of having a service dog, and aren’t unheard of.
- I believe your SD is an Aussiedoodle – is this a breed you recommend for scent work?
Hazel, my dog is indeed a Australian Shepherd, poodle mix. No this mix is not a mix I would recommend due to it is extremely difficult to find good ‘doodle’ breeders, that health test, do early development programs etc. I always suggest the main three breeds as service dogs, labs, Golden’s, and standard poodles.
- What would you tell someone who was considering getting an allergen detection service dog?
If someone is looking for an allergen detection dog I suggest heavily researching your trainer and making sure they have proven dogs.
- BONUS QUESTION: What work are you currently doing in dog training and where do you hope to go with it?
Currently I am finishing up some board and train dogs I have in for scent detection work. I was working for a couple trainers, then worked for myself. After my board and train dogs leave I am taking a much needed break to focus on myself, my family and my personal dogs. Which include going back to school to become a Vet Tech.
Thanks SO much, Alicia!! The purpose of this blog tour is to raise awareness for service and therapy dogs, educate, and inspire. We’re off to a good start, and I’m SUPER excited. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s posts. And sign up for our newsletter to get the FULL RECAP after the blog tour.
DAY ONE – July 15 – Introduction / Q&A with Alicia Picon
DAY TWO – July 16 – Q&A with Abby Rose / Q&A with Kassie Angle
DAY THREE – July 17 – Guest Post from Pearl Willis / Spotlight Post on soldiergirlstories.com
July 18 – That’s A Wrap on aneedtobreathe.com (The Why Behind the Blog Tour and a BIG Thank You!)