Michelle Axmaker is a former zookeeper and currently works with Warriors Heart to train service dogs for veterans and first responders. She gained experience training and caring for exotic animals at Bush Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and then at the Lackland Air Force Base at their military working dog center.
Michelle discusses the importance of service dogs for people with PTSD and the unique training necessary for each individual’s needs. Each person’s PTSD symptoms differ, and the dogs are trained to recognize the individual’s specific triggers and respond accordingly. It is important for the individual who is going to be handling the dog involved in the training process, as the dog must be familiar with the triggers of that particular individual.
The Warriors Heart K9 program provides the opportunity to purchase a Service or ESA K9 through the Academy program. Each Warriors Heart dog is trained to become an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Animal so that the client can travel with, house, and utilize the dog within ADA compliance.
For clients not interested in becoming a Handler, the K9 Experience program is a more therapeutic approach. You can learn about obedience training, participate in weekly Classroom presentations, go on Nature Hikes, and simply enjoy spending time with the canine Warriors.
Links & Resources
- Warriors Heart K9 Program
- Follow Warriors Heart on Facebook
- Follow Warriors Heart on Instagram
- Follow Warriors Heart on Twitter
- Follow Warriors Heart on LinkedIn