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Thread: Service dog questions

  1. #1

    Service dog questions

    For those of you with service animals, what tasks do they do for you outside the home?

    How do you handle it when the dog needs to take a crap? Doesn't that become an issue in public if you are unable to clean up after the dog?

    If you were going to get a puppy and try to train it yourself, what do you look for? I'd like to know how many people have tried training a dog for service and for whatever reason it didn't work out. I've heard of dogs at the service animal schools that didn't work out and they were given away as well-trained household pets.

    I would love to have a service dog someday, especially one self trained, however I would need a lot of help in the training process.

  2. #2
    A good service dog is trained to "go" on command, both for urine and stool, so most people do this before they leave home and when they are in an appropriate location. If you have someone with you, they can do the clean-up duty if necessary.

    My clients have their dogs do community activities such as turn on/off light switches, open lever handled doors, pull their manual chair, pick things up off the floor, and even retrieve things from store shelves. Of course they are also chick magnets, so you will get a lot more women stopping to talk with you when you have a service dog.

    Have you applied to any of the service dog programs? Not all have such a long waiting list as the well-known programs like Canine Companions. It is hard work to train a dog on your own, esp. if you live by yourself.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    CCI has a place in Orlando
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  4. #4
    Thanks. I can't have one right now because we have other pets, (that are getting old). I'm just thinking ahead. I'm a dog lover and could really benefit from a service animal.

  5. #5
    I got a puppy and trained him to pull me. We really got around! I live in the country so can't answer your public questions. I did teach him pee and poop, so that he would go before a long car ride. I did not think ahead about the dogs personality and I should have. My dog would pick things up for me but he was to scared for things like opening the fridge. I have to say that all in all, the dog cost me more work then he saved me though. Which is fine, I like dogs too! It is an investment of time and energy plus some loss of freedom as you'll have to find a place for the dog if they can't travel with you.

    My dog pulled me over pretty often while training him. He had to learn not to chase rabbits etc. That was an adventure! I remember one time I got the snowmobile buried in a drift and he dug and dug to get it out. I miss that ole dog.
    Andrew

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by doingtimeonmyass
    Thanks. I can't have one right now because we have other pets, (that are getting old). I'm just thinking ahead. I'm a dog lover and could really benefit from a service animal.
    start the process now it takes awhile
    Get involved in politics as if your life depended on it, because it does. -- Justin Dart

    I shall not tolerate ignorance or hate speech on this site.

  7. #7
    Yes, as Soulscream commented, a service dog requires a lot of time and effort, and demands a lot of physical work from YOU. From controlling dog and managing the dog/tasks in public places (and be conscientious of the public in general to ensure your dog remains focused/not distracted or bothered), it can be difficult (if not impossible) to just simply go out and do whatever you need to do, without the extra work required for caring for the dog's needs (from management to potty). I think some people may desire a service dog and think it may help make them more independent, but in many ways, if you can not fully manage to care for a dog on your own, you will require more care, and require your pca's to do additional work for the dog. If you can do your own dog care, then whatever the dog may serve you for, will most likely be something you can do yourself w/o service dog.

    I had a service dog, and it was a lot of work, but worth it at the time. It took a lot of energy to have the dog with me at times, whereas if I was by myself, I wouldn't have needed to think about schedule (for feeding and potty, and making sure there was appropriate place for potty, incl. taking care of waste). You have to consider weather also, and being prepared to take care of dog regardless of rain, snow, freezing cold. It was much more physically demanding, as I would care of my dog's basic needs daily, instead of just taking care of my own - grooming alone can take time and be a physical workout, from brushing hair, teeth, and keeping him basically clean (I think very important when going out in public, esp. in dining areas/establishments).

    You already have dogs, so understand their needs, but just helpful to keep in mind the extra needs/structure required for service dogs, and the actual cost-benefits to you.

  8. #8
    I have an owner-trained SD. Based on my experience, I would NOT go through a program. Training takes time, patience and creativity but you can do it. (Sorry to disagree with you KLD).

    IMO, if you will handle the animal, you can train it too. Further IMO, owner-trained dogs have a very strong bond between handler and pup and allows you to teach the dog to perform your tasks in a way that considers all the unique parameters of your injury and what you can and cannot do.

    First, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Can't stress this enough. You need to understand the rights and responsibiliities of SD owners. From the moment you take your pup home, there are joys and landmines as a SD owner. This animal will give its life for you, so make sure that you are prepared to hold up your end of the relationship.

    You choose a dog based on it's temperment (there are temperment tests available on-line) and the tasks you have in mind. (You may even find that another species of animal will be best for your needs.) You wouldn't choose a little terrier if you want it to pull you or brace for you while you pull yourself up off the floor. Also consider the care your SD needs and your ability to provide it - whether by yourself or through someone else. As you know, I chose a super-sized dobie for many reasons; size (for pulling and catching my falls) temperment and loyalty, and her coat. I HATE doggie hair balls- so a long-haired breed would have been a bad choice for me.

    As a pup, we bonded and played and I exposed her to sounds, textures and experiences that she'll experience out in the community. Much of her play was based around skills I wanted her to learn later. Basic obedience came next and now that she's more mature, we're working on advanced obedience and specific tasks. IMO, just as you get creative in getting help with your ADLs, you'll find the appropriate compensations for working with your dog. PLUS the SD can be trained to do meet some of its own needs.

    Top Dog is an excellent resource for people interested in training their own SD. But that's just a starting point. Consider that it takes about 2 - 2.5 years to train a pup to mature SD and most programs have waiting lists at least that long and usually longer.

    You asked about eliminating. That's one of the first things you teach your maturing SD. They lultimately earn to "go" on cue and even in a particular manner to make it easier to clean up.

    As to tasks; what do you want your SD to do? I used to have a list of about 80 tasks that they are commonly trained to do. I can't find it right now. From memory, they can be trained to help with dressing and undressing, turning lights on and off, retrieving items, carrying things from place to place or from person to person; helping with doors, alerting to your emergencies, pulling your chair, bracing so you can lift against them, repositioning your limbs, getting under you to ease you to the ground if you fall and much, much more.

    As you can see, I'm passionate about my SD. Even though she's not yet fully trained, she's improved my QOL greatly. She's a lot of work too, this is not something to take on without a lot of thought and research. Feel free to PM me if I can offer more.

    ETA: Chick posted while I was typing. She accurately points out some of those responsiblities I mentioned. Service animals are a reciprocal relationship, think carefully before jumping in.
    My blog: Living Life at Butt Level

    Ignite Phoenix #9 - Wheelchairs and Wisdom: Living Life at Butt Level

    "I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."

    Dawna Markova Author of Open Mind.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JenJen
    I used to have a list of about 80 tasks that they are commonly trained to do. I can't find it right now.

    This one, maybe? http://www.iaadp.org/tasks.html

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Katja
    That one works just fine. Thanks Katja
    My blog: Living Life at Butt Level

    Ignite Phoenix #9 - Wheelchairs and Wisdom: Living Life at Butt Level

    "I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."

    Dawna Markova Author of Open Mind.

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