Pawrent Spotlight - Denise & Steev
At Nurture Your Pet, our vision is to build a tribe of pet lovers sharing stories and advice about their fur babies 🐶🐾 We are so grateful for our community, and we are thrilled to be featuring members of our NYP family! For our second Pawrent Spotlight, we are delighted to introduce you to Denise and her dependable German Shorthair Pointer/Bloodhound blend of love, Steev (on Instagram as @service_dog_steev) ❤️
NYP: Tell us about yourself and Steev - where are you from?
D&S: Steev and I are from the Pacific Northwest (Washington State). Steev was born and raised here. I am originally from California.
NYP: When did Steev become a part of your family?
D&S: We met Steev July 5th and took him home for a two-week trial. Meeting him and his foster parents was an unexpected surprise in our life! However, due to a prior engagement (25th Wedding Anniversary – one month road trip), Steev didn’t become a permanent family member until August 25th.
Steev has an older sister, although she looks like a 'little’ sister! Her name is Nikki. She is 11 years old and is a chiweenie (or we say dachshuahua). We all live in the same house, Nikki belongs to my daughter and is a PSD (psychiatric service dog), not to be confused with an ESA (emotional support animal) for her. Steev is an MSD (mobility service dog) for me!
NYP: What’s a typical day-in-the-life routine for Steev?
D&S: We are still learning day to day routines because while Steev is my service dog, I am his service human! He suffers from separation anxiety and takes meds daily. With that said, he trains everyday to learn new things to assist me in the home. He LOVES to learn new things! But his favorite love? Squirrel watching.
NYP: What is your favorite thing to do with Steev?
D&S: My favorite thing to do with Steev is play with toys, such as tug-o-war and fetch while incorporating agility!
NYP: What’s one of your funniest memories of Steev?
D&S: He has a growl/howl when he communicates with us and it’s pretty funny. He loves to talk and be sassy to us! But mostly, he is full of love and energy and whenever we go out, he ALWAYS puts a huge smile on everyone’s face. It makes me so happy!
NYP: Do you have any advice for owners who are interested in training their pup to be a service dog (or advice for people who are seeking to find a service dog)?
D&S: Training a dog to be a service dog takes a long time, a lot of patience and a boat ton of treats! You also need to have the ability to listen to your dog. If you’re teaching them something and they are not responding to a certain word that you want to use, try a different word. They may be confused with the word you’re using, causing them to perform something that you don’t want.
Also, when training your dog to perform a new task, keep your own words to a minimum. For example, say you are working on a ‘sit.’ If they don’t want to do it, simply say ‘no,’ ‘down,’ or other single-word commands. You don’t want to say ‘No, I told you to sit, not lay down... etc.’ That is way too many words and just confuses your dog. It can often excite them too, causing them to perform unwanted behaviors.
If you are unable to have the patience and time to train your service dog, I suggest contacting a place that trains service dogs for your specific need. Yes, they are expensive; however, you are paying someone to train your dog for approximately two years. And yes, it is a long time, but that is also how long it would take you to train your own dog to be a service dog.
Follow Steev's services and shenanigans on Instagram: @service_dog_steev