Service dog handler lobby

siniang

MyPTSD Pro
I can't disagree with the "check out Youtube" suggestion more strongly. It's idiot central.

I probably should've taken time to word things differently/better. Because while I didn't spell it out, I was already thinking this ... vvv

Once you've found a trainer that has the right skillset? They'll often have a Youtube channel or FB page that can refer to to supplement your work with them.

I didn't mean to imply "go to youtube and follow the first video you come across. Sorry.

However, youtube IS a great and free source of (professional) tips, especially during a pandemic when you can't just go to a trainer. And you can get good tips for at least basic tasks you can easily owner-train.

And I stand by my previous recommendation of actually spending some money. Because I do think it's crucial to get an *actual* trainer involved one way or another, directly through virtual training sessions, pay-for-training protocols, or through free content they provide.

Even when looking for organizations and trainers, one would need to do homework (as you mentioned, look for certifications etc.). There's a LOT of orgs and independent trainers especially in the US that are borderline fraudulent or just plain shit. And it's not always obvious right away - some of them are quite "famous". You'd need to do the same kind of homework when scouting through youtube etc.

Another options during the pandemic would be to look for board-and-train to get some basics done and they usually provide a protocol to continue training. However, they do tend to be real pricey and you'd also loose your emotional support during that time.

Again, *my* first recommendation would be to identify specific tasks the dog can help with. And then go from there. Some might come natural to that specific dog already and just need some reinforcement/proofing. Some might be completely new but still fairly easy (most dogs pick up on fetching medication or water etc. at a specific time or with a specific situation REAL fast). Some might be more tricky and would need professional advice/intervention/training.

Public access is the hardest to train and take the longest. If the dog is great in public, then maybe just train the tasks as you go and freshen up on the public access stuff.

I'd go out on a limb here and assume that a retired working K9 has real great obedience and PA really shouldn't be an issue. As you mentioned, might need a refresher, but that really wouldn't be my main concern with this specific situation.
 

siniang

MyPTSD Pro
Has any of you had to (air) travel while still SDiT?

And yes, I know that most airlines don't recognize SDiTs and that SDiTs don't have PA (unless there's specific State laws stating otherwise for that specific State).

Question not posted in Q&A thread as that one is closed. Mods, feel free to move if you think it's more appropriate.
 

desiderata310

Moderator
I don't remember what the rules are on ESA's anymore but if you can still travel with an ESA, that can be done with a note from a doctor/therapist. Instead of calling it a SDiT it's an ESA until such time that they have graduated to SD.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
So, Chopper is going to need to retire soon and settled on a breed, English labs. Was approved by a breeder in North East Florida but was honest with her about needing a car and she didn't feel comfortable placing a puppy with me yet until I get one. She wants $2,300 but the dogs seem large enough for heavy mobility. Aisling Labradors of N.E. Florida. But am also open to young adult dogs up to a year old. The breeder put me on the wait list (so not a guarantee puppy) for her litter in November instead of April due to the car and said that the parent's temperaments were better for service work anyway. I know Craigslist isn't the best place for getting a service dog prospect but created an ad stating exactly what I was looking for. The exact size. Vet records required and for a puppy vet records for the parents also required. Pictures of the parents required. And the temperament I was looking for. I turned down at least 50 requests. Most seem to be backyard breeders. But one came up today that seems real legit. A 13 month old yellow lab. She said pedigree from this breeder Silver Labradors | Osteen, FL | VJL Silver Labradors. The parents were Emily and Hank. She sent me vet records that show all of the vet visits with just her address covered. And had some training as a puppy. Said she is good with kids and dogs and other animals. She didn't say calm but did say she was playful (as puppies are).

My question is should I look into this and meet the dog? I won't get attached. I'm very logical on this. I know what traits I am looking for and if the dog doesn't have those traits, too bad. She is 22 inches tall to the shoulders and 68 lbs as of last month. Right on that line of possibly too small. I went with the English line of labs because of their heavier build and overall bigger body types. It also concerns me that the breeder may not be a good breeder if they allow their dogs to be rehomed. Most reputable breeders have you sign a contract that you must contact them if you are needing to rehome the dog. I did reach out to the breeder to ask if they have such contracts but they of course haven't gotten back to me yet as I just sent the form. It also concerns me that it looks like you just order a puppy like you do an item on any website. You add said puppy to a shopping cart?

I need to get a new prospect started into training soon but I don't want to rush so much that I have a washed dog on my hands that I now need to rehome and then yet again the poor dog is changing hands again. I want to do it right.

Any advise here?
 

siniang

MyPTSD Pro
Hi,

sorry your car situation got in the way of getting a puppy from the first breeder. Here are my honest thoughts and I hope you don't take them personal, it's just a topic I generally am very passionate about. (just quick and dirty, might write more, later. Head is very much not quite present, today)

1) "Silver labradors" are NOT a breed. Regardless of what any "breeder" claims, they. are. not. labradors. The gene for silver color doesn't exist in labradors. They're mixes with Weimaranians, but those "breeders" would never tell you. There's also all kinds of health concerns with those. Even if the dog in question is a "yellow lab", I'd be more than suspicious if it comes from a "silver labrador" kennel or pedigree.

2) I see the appeal of getting a puppy, but considering you want/need the dog for mobility work, I'd actually recommend looking for an older dog. You will not know the size just based on the parents or the puppy's size. Any puppy from a litter, even with relatively large parents, may remain small in size and stature. With an older dog you already know what you'll get.

3) Vet documents alone won't be enough, again especially since you need mobility work. OFA is a minimum. Retrievers, which includes labs, are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, and your need for mobility tasks really puts a knot in my stomach with that. Reputable breeders have both dam and sire OFA tested, but also eyes, heart, and a couple other genetic diseases prevalent in the breed.

4) $2,300 is a reasonable price for a well-bred labrador. A little on the higher side, but then again .... labradors are high-demand breeds.

5) It's a good sign the first breeder thinks the litter later this year might have better temperament for service dog work. She seems to know what she's doing. I just quickly scanned her website and it's very good. She even addresses the "silver labrador" topic - awesome!. I'm confused why she's not AKC while everything she does seems to be at standard, but maybe I'm just missing that.

6) Instead of Craigslist, check the AKC databases for older dogs still looking for homes. There's usually plenty and many breeders are open to working with you if they're of of state and you couldn't easily go pick doggo up. An older dog also has the advantage of already coming with minimum basic obedience, house-training, and you really avoid all the puppy hardships. Yes, puppies are cute, but they're also hella work. Considering you "need" the dog, I honestly think that's something to seriously think about. Dogs don't need to be puppies to bond with people.
 
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lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
Considering you "need" the dog, I honestly think that's something to seriously think about.
Oh, totally. That's why I've applied for both a puppy and an older young adult dog returned not for health or temperament issues. It's also the only reason I placed a Craigslist ad. To see if I could find that right dog that was the right breed and the right temperament and the right size.

Though, I am OK with the odds of a male puppy from parents that are well over the size limit unaltered until 2 yrs to allow for correct growth. Cause then how does anyone know anything. And it's easier to ensure the best results for service work and to prevent as much wash out as possible it's best to start as a puppy too.

But that's the long way of saying I am open to an adult 1 yr and under.


"Silver labradors" are NOT a breed. Regardless of what any "breeder" claims, they. are. not. labradors. The gene for silver color doesn't exist in labradors. They're mixes with Weimaranians, but those "breeders" would never tell you. There's also all kinds of health concerns with those. Even if the dog in question is a "yellow lab", I'd be more than suspicious if it comes from a "silver labrador" kennel or pedigree.
This is my biggest issue with this breeder. Sorry, should have said that.


I'm confused why she's not AKC while everything she does seems to be at standard, but maybe I'm just missing that
I thought she did but I don't see it. I like that breeder. She went back and forth with me in emails like 6 or 8 times and seems to really care where the puppies are going and has a trove of info on her site. I just am worried about making a mistake with this offer from Craigslist. But am open with an adult which is why I even made it.

I've been filling out forms but there isn't many English lab breeders and could only find 2 in Florida that I was even remotely ok with and only one replied. She did say she works closely with other breeders and sent my name to them for a returned adult. I am afraid of holding out for a puppy but then missing a good one while doing so, if that makes sense.

ETA: You know, the more I think about it the more and more the "silver labrador" part of that breeder bothers me. Even if it's a yellow lab, still, the breeder themselves are broadcasting that they have silver labs. And you brought up a good point that I didn't even know. Mixing in Weimaranians causing health issues. I just get super bad vibes from that breeder when I have had to pleasure to really get to know the breeder I picked out in North East Florida really well. I think I'll hold off for November. I may need to reserve a male puppy for next year but I just don't like the sound of that breeder and take the risk that the dog will be unhealthy down the road.

Thanks @siniang for helping me sort of talk that out. This is the only request to my ad that was even remotely close to what I was looking for and am trying to stay as calculated as I can about this without an emotions in it at all to try to ensure the best possible prospect.
 
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Justmehere

Moderator
I would have no concerns about payment online. It's contactless and easy to track. I also wouldn't hesitate with allowing rehoming, especially in covid days where many who can't handle puppies figured it out the hard way. Makes sense to me the price would be the same at a year old - the dog has likely had it's first year of care, which can be a few hundred dollars plus the investment of time and money of caring for the dog and dealing with the first buyer falling through.

As a bigger question....

Have you ever had a Labrador puppy before? They are *extremely* energetic, bouncy, chew on e v e r y t h i n g. I'm not kidding about the everything part. Labs are big weight gainers without lots of excercise because they have bottomless stomachs... and as puppies, it's a huge drawback. They don't feel full like other dogs. If food is left out for a nanosecond, these dogs can eat themselves to death. Any vet can tell you story after story of things they have had to surgically remove from lab stomachs. Until the puppy is super trained, one has to be quick on their feet.

One that I had chewed up the buttons off a ski style jacket of mine... My back was turned for mere minutes. Scary day waiting for the little thing to poop the buttons out - puppers was ok, $200 winter coat was not. I've been a puppy raiser of tested and qualified guide dogs for the blind lab puppies and it's a physical workout for about 10 months caring for them and training them up in age appropriate ways.

Puppies can mean sleepless nights than can be hard on anyone with PTSD or health issues.

I had a friend reach out, he was in tears, because his trained lab puppy had him so overwhelmed. They are like newborns in some ways with the amount of sleepless nights in the puppy months, only furry and most people don't understand someone groggy at work because "I was up with the puppy all night." A family member's lab ate up all the bark off a tree and killed it. Happy and well trained dog.

Then there is the house breaking process (and cleanup) of the first year...

They just are not low really maintenance dogs for the first year of life, often 2, which is why a year old lab that is housebroken can easily be the same price to the breeder and not be a profit boon.

Socialization needs when doing owner training are also heavy. Labbies, puppies generally, need other dog interactions of other types or they can get reactive as they grow older. There are often lots of groups and classes but they can come at a cost... Those class and socialization scan require someone to be quick on their feet.

For someone who is mobility limited, I wouldn't strongly recommend they take on a lab puppy. That strikes me as an exercise in frustration and stress for both parties.

It's part of why so many lab puppies get rehomed. It's not the dog. It's the humans who were not quite ready for the physical labor of Labrador puppyhood.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
Have you ever had a Labrador puppy before? They are *extremely* energetic, bouncy, chew on e v e r y t h i n g.
I have. And have a plan for basically everything. I already have a spare crate in the box that will has a separator. I plan to crate the puppy if I cannot be with it and tether the puppy when I am home (to me). I have a setup already. I have a whole set of spare toys, a bed that I am sitting next to, and nothing is high enough for the puppy to get to. Plus I couldn't care less about furniture. I also have 4 weeks of vacation set aside for the puppy so I can be around for potty training and bonding. I have several ways to exercise the puppy several times a day. Have also spoken to the breeder and a trainer about this. Have been planning it for like 2 yrs. I think it's solid but my PTSD doesn't become effected by this sort of thing. If anything the distraction helps.

ETA: The thing is, if I am going to pay that much, I would much rather get a puppy and start exposure from day one (after shots and vet visits and all). I would rather know the history and back story of the dog. I am totally ok taking a rehome but I'm not going to pay $1,200 for one when I don't know what happened to that dog for 13 months. I've already trained a rescue and there are more possible issues that come up for rescues during training that can take a long time to train out then those that happen in the puppy stage. I think I'm solid on the puppy part. But just am not going to pay that much for a rescue. I'm just not. Not against taking a rescue service work, which again is why I made the ad,, but if I have my preference I would rather have a puppy and if I am paying in the thousands it will be a puppy.
 
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Justmehere

Moderator
Might be worthwhile to look into some indoor gates or fences instead to give the puppy area to roam free and to give you space too. They'll chew through leashes when bored - pretty fast too. They'll break teeth on chains. A leash is good when actively training the dog but if you need to do other things a fenced in area can be helpful. It is a means to take breaks without tying up/crating. You may not care about your furniture but any vet can tell you destruction of furniture can become a safety issue for the puppy.

Toys that may be ok for other breeds becomes a risk for stomach surgery with labs. We had a lab puppy once given to an agency, excellent training, behavior, health, temperament on exam. We would eventually find out the folks who had it before allowed it to have a variety of not-lab friendly toys and a week after I got it, the puppy became sick. They had to do surgery, and it turned out the puppy had eaten the toys weeks prior, bits stuck in the belly, and it was now making himself very sick. I had never seen the toy parts the vet pulled out of the pupper's belly but the prior folks confirmed it was their toy. It was a common brand of toy designed for "heavy chewers." :/

Because of that reality, I follow this protocol with labs and goldens, and it may be of help to you: https://www.guidedogs.com/uploads/files/Puppy-Raising-Manual/Puppy-Raising-Toy-Policy.pdf

Have yet to see this protocol fail - it is pretty Labrador puppy proof. :)
 
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