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Service dog handler lobby

Discussion in 'Employment, Education & Disability' started by Kefira, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. littleoc

    littleoc Making everywhere I go a better place Premium Member Donated

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    Hey y’all,

    What breeds are your service dogs? What behavior did you look for if you were the one who looked for the puppy?

    My service dog is getting old. I am looking for puppies. I am planning on hiring a trainer to help me decide on the best dog.

    My current dog is a border collie, Australian Shepherd mix, possibly with some lab or retriever in her. She’s amazingly intelligent and I wish she were immortal. Her blue eyes are comforting to look into, but also attract a lot of attention from strangers. Which is usually okay, for me, because I generally love to talk and educate. But not always.

    I’m looking at Shiloh shepherds, German shepherds, pit bulls (gotta love a patriot), golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, poodles, Dobermans, and dogs like mine (Aussies and border collies).

    Do you have any thoughts?
     
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  3. lostforgottensoul

    lostforgottensoul I'm a VIP Premium Member Sponsor $100+

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    Chopper is an American Pitbull Terrier. Super smart. Very chill for his breed. Very loyal. Super want to please. Very laid back.

    Chopper was a pet before service dog training but there are temperment tests and drive (food and toy drive) and trainablity tests. Many videos out there on youtube. Just search "service dog temperment testing". Here is one:

    Service dog temperament test

    Here's another:

    Dog Who Serve- How to Evaluate a Potential Service Dog- Finding the Right Dog for Work

    ETA: There are a millon videos like this on youtube.

    I would add trainability and drive. Put liver treats under a strainer. Does the dog/puppy work to get it or does it loose intrest. Can you train a sit. Does it keep trying? Toy drive. Can you get the puppy to play? Now can you get it to work for that toy (like to sit or just offer behaviors to get it)? Puppies can be taught small things like a sit. So I'd add that.
     
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  4. Justmehere

    Justmehere Defying the odds Moderator Premium Member

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    Temperament testing will be key. I’d suggest finding a trainer who is very good at temperament testing and how to do it in various environments. Also consider finding a source for puppies that will allow you to temorement test there and after the dog is home with you, and settled after about a week, and if the temorement isn’t right, can give it back and try for another pup.

    Temprement matters much more than breed.

    I’d personally go for a mix breed for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is health and longevity. For example, purbread labs will usually have to retire around 7-8 years old. Lab mixes can often last a lot longer without the hip issues.

    Also, keep in mind a dog that is a little older if a decent one happens to cross your path. With dogs a year old they are still able to learn a lot, you skip the really hard puppy months, and you know kind what you are going to get interms of behaviors and trainability.

    Mine was 8 months when I got her and she’s “bomb proof.” I tested and tried out about 10 dogs between 8 weeks and 12 months.

    For accessibility reasons, be prepared to have differ accessibility issues with stereotyped breeds. Labs and Goldens - can easily go anywhere but everyone wants to kiss and hug them. All the time. Dobermans, pits in some areas, and German Shepards to some degree - people will be more nervous around and more watchful and reluctant to admit for access. I have a friend with a Doberman service dog, and we go the same places often, and she has TONS of issues with access that I don’t have with a different breed with a more friendly stereotype. Mutts don’t seem to have as many issues - both with unwanted petting, and rejection of access, as purebreds dogs do. I’m not saying it’s right that people react to service dog breeds differently. It is just the nature of things and something to consider when making the decision.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  5. lostforgottensoul

    lostforgottensoul I'm a VIP Premium Member Sponsor $100+

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    True. I've not yet had an access issue but the public are either all over him or ridiculously scared. One woman bear clawed her way through the line at Aldi to get away from Chopper. Who wasn't even looking at her and was fully focused on me. I try to be considerate of fear and back up and wait until they leave but there is that place where I'm like "he's on a leash around my body for god sake!" But if you are going to use a feared breed (and I wouldn't say not to use one as many can make great service dogs) be prepared for this type of reaction from the public and possibly businesses. So far, businesses have been great about Chopper but the risks of access issues are higher with a feared breed so you want to be prepared for that.

    That said, I have made online friends with some handlers of amazing pitbull service dogs.
     
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  6. Sideways

    Sideways I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    Many breeds are totally appropriate to be a service dog, but if you have a specialist available to do some temperament testing with the puppy? Absolutely use that.

    I have to agree that the people I know who have labs and retriever breeds have the least problems both with access issues, and also public awareness when it comes to people recognising that it’s a service dog and needs to be left alone. Which is valuable.

    Some of the proposed breeds you’ve listed are independent thinkers - it’s worth speaking to your behaviouralist about that, and the impact it will have on the way your dog works with you.

    I also agree that getting a slightly older dog can make it easy to skip some of the behaviour issues of young pups. If the dog is going to be a psychiatric service dog specifically though? The first 6 months of the puppies brain development can be a really helpful time for the puppy to be around you. It isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is something to consider.

    At the end of the day? Most dogs that have the right temperament and get the right socialisation and training? Will do just fine as a psychiatric service dog. I have a shih-tzu x, and honeslty? They aren’t a breed that train easily, or are particularly motivated. But they have the right temperament for my lifestyle, and with a lot of committed training? My dog is still an absolute superstar and absolutely meets and exceeds my needs.

    So, stay open-minded. If you have a behaviouralist working with you? They can ask you questions (as well as checking out the dog) and check out your living conditions and lifestyle habits and give you good personalised advice about a good match for you. For example, labs and dobermans? Have very different lifestyle needs - so it would be good to have someone who can actually check out your real life situation to determine which would be a better fit for you:)
     
  7. lostforgottensoul

    lostforgottensoul I'm a VIP Premium Member Sponsor $100+

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    It went up to $46.99 and $42.99 on auto ship. And it's a 24 lb bag so no free shipping. Also, Chopper has a good bit of raw left and with mixing 1/2 cup raw he only ate 2 cups of kibble making a 25lb bag last 2 months. So, I dont want to auto ship if its every month for right now. I'm not sure if its well priced now. Thinking of going down to Petco and looking at some of their kibble and see how it stacks up with some stuff there. We train there now anyway. I would idealy want to spend less on kibble as right now I cant get his joint suppliment and I want at least that if possible. Not necessarly cosiquin but a joint suppliment. Since he does mobility tasks his othopedic vet said keeping his joints healthy was very important and so his vet wanted him to stay on the joint suppliment. 1 bag of cosiquin can last a lot longer then a month since i went down to 1 a day instead of 2 a day. And even cut them in half. But, it by itself is $30 or $35 so we'll need to see. I budgeted $30 for Chopper's kibble and couldnt fit in anything else like his joint suppliment. I can go $15 higher on his kibble due to my money from MTurk but i dont want to. I want to save that money so i guess its back to the drawing board of 25 ish lb kibble can i get thats as good quality as possible for $30? Rachel Ray's food has a good rating but is still considered low quality food and all of these foods have chicken in it even though they arent chicken flavor (which sucks as im trying to keep him off chicken) but will look at Petco when I go back in a few days.
     
  8. Strangelongtrip

    Strangelongtrip Member

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    Hey everyone! So I've been training Korra since December (she's 3) for my various PTSD/panic disorder/depression symptoms. She's got the tasks I've taught her down really solidly, and has put together that shallow breathing + heart rate increase = I must do DPT no matter what is happening (people she loves greeting her, my parents asking her to go on car rides) until her heart rate is down and her breathing is normal. She's stopped a breakdown that would have lasted 2 hours in 10 minutes through tactile stimulation, anxiety disruption, and DPT, has started preemptively doing DPT before attacks, and also figured out how to help me during depressive spirals. Since she's been actively tasking, I have only had panic attacks when she's not with me. Her PA training isn't all there yet, as it shouldn't be it's too soon, but she does run errands with me and does an amazing automatic block and has good focus. I haven't self harmed other than skin picking in months (although now she disrupts that too, I just didn't teach her it until later). She also REFUSES to let me out of her sight when I'm dissociating, although I haven't figured out how to train DPT response to that other than training it as it happens, which is hard bc I usually don't know what's going on and am so out of it. This past Sunday I had it really bad and she would lean on me and that helped so much so I'll probably train that, and she followed me around everywhere which helped tether me to reality.

    I was wondering if anyone diagnosed with borderline personality disorder as well could help me figuring out what/how/if it's possible to train some things to help. She knows when I'm having a mood swing and will cuddle with me. I'm thinking of training tactile stimulation (licking me) during a mood swing but am unsure how to simulate an anger spell. I don't act out, it's all internal for me, so I don't know how to simulate my anger spells to train her to alert to them other than samples. As well, I was thinking of teaching her to nudge at my phone when I'm on it too long because I'm usually typing out moody angry messages or dissociating or my anxiety is building because I'm reading into something weird or reacting badly to something. I have a feeling she'd get annoying with this quickly though lol, she's an overachiever. Thank you for reading and for any ideas you may have!
     
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  9. lostforgottensoul

    lostforgottensoul I'm a VIP Premium Member Sponsor $100+

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    I have BPD and though my anger outbursts or blind rage explosions are now associated with PTSD due to being completely anxiety/panic based, I trained Chopper to alert me and literally jump up on me when I started to yell. I go blind and have no idea what im saying or doing until its over so having this 80 lb pure muscle pitbull jumping up on me really helped to keep me in the present and not go into that blind part. Licking my face. Grounding me really.

    He starts out with a normal alert but persists up to jumping up, face licking, and doing anything to get me aware.

    It was hard to train as at first he would run when I started to yell so I just simulated a raised voice and then enticed him over with a treat and we started there where he wouldn't have this fleeing response.

    Then I started to yell and ask for an alert. When he got that down we then did persistant alerts up to jumping up and face licking and so I would keep yelling and entice him with more treats to train the persistance alerts and we just built it from there.

    How is tacticle stimulation different from DPT? I have never heard of that. That intreques me. Chopper does DPT about 5 different ways depending on the situation and our current positions.
     
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  10. Strangelongtrip

    Strangelongtrip Member

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    Thank you! That’s helpful!

    Tactile stimulation would be like the SD licking the handler or nudging, sort of grounding and can be used in different ways. I’m trying to get a cue for Korra bc right now she just does it automatically during dissociation and bad anxiety but it’d be nice to train it for different things.
     
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  11. lostforgottensoul

    lostforgottensoul I'm a VIP Premium Member Sponsor $100+

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    Oh, ok. Chopper does all of that. I just never heard it called tactile stimulation.

    Well, did you give it a name? "Nudge", "alert" that sort of thing? Or really, any name will work. Ask her for that, reward, wait until she knows it by name. Now, raise your voice and ask for it and build on that. It will become automatic, if you do it long enough, for her to nudge you and/or lick at you when you start to yell. Add, jumping up and licking my face and you'll have exactly what Chopper does for me when it happens.
     
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  12. Strangelongtrip

    Strangelongtrip Member

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    Thank you so much! Right now I tell her good kisses!
     
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  13. littleoc

    littleoc Making everywhere I go a better place Premium Member Donated

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    I hope to make this question concise. I’ve been so overwhelmed and couldn’t get much done.


    If my dog has a tumor/cyst that will require a biopsy, an x-ray, a surgery, or any other cancer/cyst treatment, where do I even start?


    I am in the United States. I was supposed to have pet insurance on her but I don’t. Person who was in charge of that used the money for something else. I’m a kid with just over minimum wage income so I guess that’s that. Is there anything out there to help?


    Thanks
     
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