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Service Dog Trainers Go Digital to Track Training Progress and Certifications

Paws With A Cause

Paws With A Cause

Initial State

Paws With A Cause is a national non-profit that sets out to enhance the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities through their custom trained Assistance Dogs, while working to increase the awareness of the rights and roles for assistance dog teams through education and advocacy.  

They’ve done great things for many people over the years, but just like many organizations, found themselves in a situation where their current technology had become obsolete and the process they had relied on, inefficient in today’s world. While upgrading their computers, they discovered the new equipment simply would not support their current process for sharing video footage. This led to their search for a technology partner capable of providing strategic direction, technical knowledge, training and support capabilities, and a strong track record of execution.

Research & Strategy

They were in a situation that our team is very familiar with. We immediately had a lot of ideas for how we could help make this transformation successful and make the process of training and matching a dog to a client with a need easier and more efficient.

The PAWS team consulted us on what their next steps should be. We worked with them to review their process, assess their equipment and technology set up, and understand their goals. We discovered that their field reps were still using VHS, DVDs, and CDs for capturing video footage, then putting these items in the mail to share them with the team and clients.

They were making an incredible difference in people's lives using old technology, so we were very excited about the potential impact we could have working together!

We knew we could utilize a modern approach and tools in Office 365 by upgrading to the cloud. We then worked to map out a new process using the new technology and tools, keeping the goals of improved efficiency and ease of use in mind. Ultimately, we set out to cut down the cost and timeline and after several iterations, we believed this strategy would connect more dogs with the people who need them.

Implement, Test, and Learn

Once we decided on the direction for technology and platform upgrades, had a firm grasp on the current process, clear picture of opportunity areas, and a plan in place, we began implementing ideas, testing and gathering feedback.

Process Improvements and Technology Solutions

  • Field Rep Centric content rollup (My Needs Assessments, My Finished Dog Videos, Call to Action buttons, etc.) to help focus users on content that matters to them.
  • Enabled secured content to protect client Patient Health Information.
  • Shorter cycles for delivery of video content and related paperwork. Eliminated sending DVD or VHS through the mail. Support for video upload from tablets and mobile devices makes access to video content, along with the related and supporting documentation, immediate.
  • Use of content types with metadata to help standardize the stream of videos and data coming into the system.
  • Defined packaged types of media through SharePoint document sets to organize and guide the field reps through the upload process.
  • Custom options built in to minimize clicks when adding video content.
  • Custom Dashboards: Having visual data/containers represented in a dashboard environment engages the field representatives to capture the content needed for service dog candidacy, while also driving the headquarters and trainers to think about their processes and training gaps.
  • More focused video review. PAWS staff can review specific micro-clips related to a topic of interest, rather than watch a whole video and/or fast forward to try to find the content of interest.  

Data Capture

Since the implementation, they currently have around 600 video uploads and are using less space. They’ve cut down the load time by using mobile and tablet devices for video, instead of obsolete camcorders or digital recording devices.

In the first quarter of this year, using the new process and tools, they've finished 28 dog videos, 23 certifications comprised of 320 videos, and 28 needs assessments comprised of 254 videos. All of which adds up to approximately a 50% increase in those areas.

Organization Wide Cultural Shift

Once we had uncovered and worked through several of the initial technology and process related challenges, it was time to take on the cultural shift that’s needed when adopting new technology and methods for the jobs to be done.

The mind shift and new direction of using different technologies to their advantage is something powerful. The solutions that were implemented in this project will not only transform the ways Paws For A Cause functions internally, but will also transform the service they provide and allow them to touch the lives of more people.

PAWS had limited people and resources to dedicate to supporting digital solutions and a team of dedicated field reps of varying tech savviness that needed to be trained on the new tools. Our team was able to fill the support and training gap to ensure success beyond the initial delivery.  

Future Outlook

We're continuing to work with the PAWS team to capture video and spotlight and classify both dog behaviors and trainer methods to enable Paws to fortify and further improve their staff to identify gaps and focus areas of their entire training process.

Bulb Digital is truly grateful to be able to work with an organization like Paws With A Cause and use our skills to help them change lives. This is the work we're passionate about!