Harlow the helper— the most adorable service dog around.
With their love of Disney and the colour pink, Helper Dog Harlow and her owner Jaquie are taking the internet by storm with their very in-depth training guides for service dog owners and an Instagram feed that would make any pooch jealous of their adventures together. We caught up with the pair to find out a little more.
How did you and Harlow meet?
Harlow was part of the litter I wanted to choose a puppy from. She had the “three C’s” I look for when choosing a prospective service dog: confident, curious and calm. After thoroughly researching breeders in Florida, I went with one that bred specifically for health and temperament.
How many hours do you and Harlow train a week?
It varies based on my health as well as her demeanour. Harlow is in adolescence (which lasts from about 6 months to 2 years of age), so some days she is a complete gremlin and the next she’s an angel. I always train the dog that shows up, so we do a lot on her receptive days and less on her off days. However, every interaction somehow encompasses training. It is a never-ending journey!
What made you want to start a YouTube channel to showcase your training?
I created the YouTube channel solely for the purpose of providing tutorials for the questions people ask me most frequently through Harlow’s Instagram.
Do you give classes yourself?
In the past I have helped others train their own service dogs, however I currently do not provide classes. When people come to me through Instagram, I offer advice to the best of my ability. But between school, maintaining my health and life in general, there is no time to dedicate to helping others train through hands on assistance - mostly because all of my free time consists of training Harlow!
Do you find people are accepting of service dogs in places dogs aren’t usually meant to go?
Yes, most places are knowledgeable of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) law. When there is a problem, I am usually able to politely educate my way through it.
How long does it usually take for Harlow to learn a new command?
It really varies depending on command difficulty. Har is generally very good at picking up on new things though, she’s a clever pup!
Looking at your Instagram you and Harlow appear to be huge fans of Disney. How many times have you visited the Magic Kingdom?
Har and I definitely love Disney (especially Magic Kingdom)! We have actually been so many times that I have lost count of our visits to Magic Kingdom. Now that we have moved to the Tampa Bay area, we are at Disney 1–2 times a month. When we lived in Orlando, we usually went 1–2 times a week.
Have there been times when you’ve given up on a command because Harlow is struggling to learn it?
A few times Harlow has had issues learning something, so I just go back to a command she already knows and will tackle the new one another day.
You said in one of your videos that when your boyfriend came back from deployment that your ‘legs were not co-operating’. Has there been times where you have relied on Harlow’s help more than others?
Yes, that is cataplexy! Basically my muscles become temporarily paralysed. When my symptoms are acting up, Har helps me more. She has a long list of tasks she performs depending on my current health state, such as retrieving items when I am too dizzy to do so myself.
What’s the most complicated command Harlow can perform and how long did it take to teach him that command?
I would say it’s her “water bottle, I’m thirsty” command. Opening the fridge, getting me a bottle of water out, bringing me the water, then returning to close the fridge. It took her about a month to get the full motions down, and another 2 weeks for me to be able to have her do it while I was anywhere in the house. So now if I am too dizzy to get up for water but I still need to take my medication, Har can get my water for me!