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Getting a Service Dog.

Thread starter #350
So I've finally received my NDIS plan and of course they've not put any funding in for provisions for my dog. Though they accept she's a working dog - similar to a bit of equipment like a wheel chair.. they haven't allowed for one single thing for her.

Hmm.. nor have they allowed any funding for replacement of existing assistive technology.

And sneakily enough they didn't tell me any information about my plan or funding. Just posted (yes by traditional letter) out my plan and funding and because of Covid it took a month to get delivered. No phone calls to explain their mumbo jumbo language.

Every second word has three or four syllables in the avalanche of pages I've received from the Fed Government. It's not so much that I'm against four syllable words but they should actually mean something... not fill up pages and pages and fail to inform. But the pictures... oh the nice little graphics with sign posts pointing this way and purple... seriously I like purple but somebody in the Federal government likes it a lot more than me. Actually I think they have a problem with that colour because they like putting it everywhere all over the graphics and in big words. Even my name was in 26 pt purple! Perhaps the human services department over requisitioned purple ink. Idk.. but it's used copiously throughout the documents. And, if I'm honest it doesn't help at all.

Hmmm... they were so reluctant to give me an electronic copy but I wrangled it out of them eventually.

So as a result, I've engaged the services of an advocate and have been providing her with all of these documents that take up lots of space and say virtually nothing. She's appalled at the plan I've been funded for & is keen to take a big swipe at the insurer. I'm less inclined to do that but need her to help me wade through the bs to appeal & obtain a more reasonable plan & funding. Her organisation came about after the Royal Commission into the insurance scheme. Of course it did and now she's over run with problems that the insurance scheme imo deliberately set up for participants.

My view is this. If participants don't notice the obvious flaws & omissions in their plans and funding then the insurance scheme has a win. But if the participants do as I have, then we're gearing up for a sh*t fight.

I've ditched one local area coordinator after having a really big whinge session with the area supervisor about the fact that he didn't understand and had never met anyone with my particular disabilities. He read from ready-made questionnaires, & scripts and knew nothing outside of what they provided. Not helpful at all but a really nice guy btw.

So now I must prove all over again that I need my service dog, that I can care for her, what she does, what I need, what she needs and a million other queries.

I've rung the organisation that provided K and told them what I have to do now and they told me that this is not a unique problem & I'm not alone. Unfortunately many, many of their recipients must go through this process over and over. They firmly believe that participants are made to do this so that eventually they'll just stop and give up. That's so tempting because the bureaucracy and the paperwork is enormous - already.
 
Let me know if you manage to get your dog funded. So few people do. I don't have the fight in me - took long enough just getting my application accepted. The funding is in areas that it's hard for me to use, and tight in areas that would be super useful.

But yeah, at least they gave me lots of big purple arrows to make it all make sense:rolleyes:
 
Thread starter #352
I've been told by my local area coordinator that I can trickle some funds from one area, completely unrelated to my service dog & into another to help fund K. But, for me that's deceptive and probably next year when my plan/funds come up for review... I'll have to account for those funds being used for a service dog that alright, they know about, but haven't specifically funded.

It's tempting to do that but it doesn't feel ok. I'm still allowed to utilise my funds/plan whilst this painfully slow review process happens so why not? Well, I can think of plenty of reasons why not but still, I'll breathe through it all & carry on as it seems necessary at this point.

But wait! I forgot to add in my previous post that despite me telling them I don't need any help with many things because my dog is trained and selected to take the place of a person & help me do those things - they've still decided to give me a large amount of money to pay for a 'person' to help instead. :wtf: Oh My God!!!!! I'm furious because what do they think the dog is for??? And this is where generic, pro-forma questionnaires do not appropriately assist in individualised plans and funding. This is the funding they've suggested I divert. Hmm.. nope.
 
Thread starter #355
Today my little K goes up for another Zoom review. :cautious:

Because of Covid and the training organisation coming from Interstate she and I have to keep having them until the final, in person review can be done by a trainer. The way it's looking K will be a Zoomer for a long time to come.

We've had a practice at all of the things she must do today and she did them all without a problem.

I've been inventing new tricks. Her latest is jumping into a cardboard box, sitting down and then jumping out again. She does it over and over on the command in and out. I just point to the box. So then I upped the ante and got her to jump up onto a closed cardboard box, sit, shake hands and then jump down again. Doing that just fine too.

We've also been practising 'relax' in her lounge room crate. That's coming along really well. She'll go in and curl up, drop off to sleep and come out a hour or so later so all good. I'm training her to use this portable crate so when we travel... if ever again... she can have her own space if necessary.

I've left her in her big training crate which is permanently situated in my bedroom, for an hour here and there during the last week. Honestly, I think I was the separation anxiety ridden being. Not her.

I came home, unlocked doors and all was quiet. So quiet I began to wonder if she was still in her crate inside my locked house. What am I thinking?/ Of course she is!

Being mindful about not rushing into the room to release her or make a fuss, I stuffed around, put shopping away, washed hands, made a cuppa. Still not even a whimper... the curiosity was killing me! Maybe about fifteen minutes later and with nothing else to do because I was busting to see what she was doing, I popped my head into the room... sigh... she was lounging on her side, nibbling at her Kong and only stopped momentarily to acknowledge my presence. :wtf:??? Lol

So friggin cool... not pent up and begging to be let out!! Nope.. So I left her for about another ten minutes and then went in, unlatched the door and stepped away from her. She sat there nudging her Kong around and eventually came out of the crate and room. But then she ducked back to grab the Kong so she could continue to play with it.

What was I thinking? She's happy. I am going back to the pool and my swimming and she can have an hour playing with her Kong while I'm there. I'm actually flooded with relief that I can safely leave her and she's not stressed about it. But I'm also flooded with happiness when I come back and with a suitable delay, I can unlatch the door and we resume where we left off. :)

Next trick is the train her to give me a cuddle with her standing up behind me while I sit on the floor and she puts her paws either side of my neck and rests her head on my shoulder. I've worked out the sequence to getting there. Going to start in a couple of days.
 
Thread starter #357
I've just recently watched a documentary on animals that are intelligent v. animals that are trainable. It's a concept new to me. I've always thought only smart animals were trainable but apparently not.

Obviously animals that are not smart have a difficult time learning and being trained. Depending on what the training is I guess.

But really super smart animals can be hard to train too. They're not so easily disuaded from doing what they prefer doing to do what us humans want them to.

So the ideal animal for training seems to be middle of the road. Neither too smart & single minded nor too simple to recall information that's not instinctively embedded.

K is a guts. She'd happily eat herself to death. I can easily see why beagles can be obese. And she's sufficiently smart to know which side her bread's buttered.

So for training new things treats are her motivation. I'd love to think it's all about me. LoL BUT it's not. :oops:

When K eats her eyes will literally glaze over. She's totally addicted to food.

After K has learned a behaviour she will do it without food but not reliably. I'm fading out food rewards with some behaviours but maintaining others because I am challenging her to complete tasks in different environments say where there's a high level of distraction or she's super excited & must come back to focus. In those areas at the moment food based rewards are highly persuasive and without them I'm never going to help her succeed.

I'm mindful to subtract food rewards from her evening meal. She doesn't seem to notice but then who would when she devours her much anticipated dinner in four seconds!

But sometimes despite having no treats anywhere near she'll suprise me by offering a valuable behaviour. So I'm not sure what motivates her on those occasions but I do love it.

Are your dogs motivated by treats?
 
Are your dogs motivated by treats?
Yup. And while he'd work without them, I always have some on hand, and reward him intermittently. Partly because he's not a working breed (putting it mildly), and partly because that makes him super happy, which makes me happy.

I watched that same doco. I was pretty unimpressed by the amount of air time given to a couple of folks who didn't have much qualification in the field.

One was studying canids, rather than domesticated dogs. There's a big difference (biology is just the start), not to mention 10,000 years (at least) of domesticated dogs and humans having a collaborative relationship.

The other fella, who was quite insistent and at one point tried to suggest border collies were stupid? His qualifications were that he'd been training dogs for years.

There was more than a bit of frustration evident from a couple of the audience members who were actually studying domesticated dogs and the way their brains work.

Some dogs are independent thinkers. Some dogs (like border collies) have been bred to work with humans. Doesn't make one more stupid than the other. If you look at the science behind how a border collie gets a whole heard of sheep through a small gate, for example? It's very hard to conclude they're stupid.

K loves working with you. It obviously gives her joy, yeah? But she's not stupid. Not by a long shot. She has a whole range of things she can do to help you out with your disability, and for whatever reason (breeding, personality, etc) she loves doing them. Doesn't make her less intelligent - simply makes her an excellent companion, and a very hard worker when it comes to taking care of her family (which is you) :)
 
Thread starter #360
Thanks @Sideways and hoping you're okay too and so too everyone else here, wherever you're all at.

I'm very much effected by border closure's, permits, more permits, new permits, revised permits, old permits, re-opening up and then shutting down, and politicking going on btwn everyone. It's exhausting. And did I mention permits? ..tired...sigh....

I've been deliberately limiting my exposure to the media because none of it's making much sense to me atm. And honestly keeping myself away from other people is a priority. They're getting louder and louder and the competing opinions are resulting in dissension amongst the population.

As you know I've already lost one relative to covid. I have now another two who are sick.

K is doing fine. 😍

I've had her on a diet and reduced her intake by another 10 grams over the last few weeks. She was getting fat and I know that being over-weight will surely lead to joint and hip problems into the future. She's back to a better weight now.

I wasn't feeding her more food, I think it may have been a combination of several factors: her maturing - she'll be two in October, torn tendon in my foot being such a long term healing issue resulting in a big reduction in distance we're walking, a protracted but beautiful Antarctic blast that started well before the media blew it up a week ago and her response was quite contentedly to curl into a ball and sleep.

But I did take her for a shuffle in the rain and have avoided needing to bath her for another couple of months. She's silky smooth, not smelly and so velvetedly soft. I love giving her a rub down and I think she's partial to it too.

New tricks:- jumping in and out of a box; shaking hands - other paw (most reluctant to give that one up) touching bases - running between two bases and making them further and further apart lol... Touch my hand (with nose)

ETA: balancing a rubber bone on her head... ? She's doing it... record is 15 seconds...

We're consolidating all of the other challenges too. She's 'offering' various behaviours to me a lot which is great. She loves playing and that's morphed into tricks.

Tonight we're going to learn to roll a ball... rather than grab it with mouth. That'll be interesting. I don't have a large ball (like soccer size) so going to teach her using her normal ball.

Mostly I find we go through the motions on the first training session which is only ever a few minutes and likely she'll only half get it or sometimes she'll do it but not consistently. Then the next night BAM!! Sit down, straight into it first time and every time. Rather like she needs to process the task in her brain and then it's no longer a challenge.

I cannot wait for dog training/agility to re-open.

Apart from that I want to burst into tears about every five minutes but never do. Not sleeping well and pretty much fed up with myself.
 
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