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Woman who lost service dog prepares to train new one

Woman who lost service dog prepares to train new one

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Karen Sagahon, the woman who lost her service dog, Tyler, earlier this month, is now preparing to train her new puppy.

Sagahon was united with a golden retriever puppy named Levi on Tuesday night.  Levi will be trained to be a service dog to help Sagahon with her PTSD.

Lauren Fox, executive director of All Breed Rescue & Training, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that training a service dog could take months or even years.  

There is no specific certification for a dog to be deemed a service dog.  A person with a documented disability just needs to prove that the dog does at least one thing to help with that disability.

Before Fox certifies a dog, she says she makes sure they have completed various degrees of obedience classes and certification classes.  For PTSD symptoms, Fox says the support dog's presence is a huge source of comfort and assurance.  Dogs can also be trained to help in case of a panic attack.

"If there was a panic attack, many of the PTSD dogs are trained, and many of the ones I train, are trained to do something very specific like nudge an elbow or lay their head across them," Fox said.

When it comes to choosing the right candidate for a service dog, Fox says that many dogs can be trained, but not all.

"They have to have a desire to work," Fox said.  "They have to have an innate desire to be part of the partnership between a handler and their service dog."  Fox said she looked for dogs that are confident and don't startle easily.  She said the dog has to be stable around people and other dogs.

Sagahon told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that she has not picked a trainer yet but is looking.  Petco bought Sagahon her new puppy, Levi, and will also pay for his training.

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