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View Full Version : Do you have a Service Dog?



dawn patrol
07-10-2011, 10:29 PM
Does anyone have a service dog? If so, Im wondering if you got it from an agency, or trained it yourself? what kind of dog? Cost? If you dont mind, for what medical condition(s)? My dog is in training. Long process..
thanks

tgal
07-10-2011, 11:37 PM
I don't have one but I think there are a few people here that have one. I am sure they will have more information then i do

Gizmo
07-11-2011, 03:22 AM
Funny you should ask - we will be getting my daughter's 8 week old standard poodle puppy today, and she plans to train it as a service dog. The primary reasons are not directly AI related, she also has Ehlers Danlos syndrome (a genetic disorder of collagen) and dysautomonia (which causes her to have frequent near-syncopal episodes when she stands up or bends over). She wants her doggy to learn to retrieve things off the floor, push handicap access buttons when she is using her wheelchair or powerchair, alert people if she passes out or otherwise needs help, and maybe even pull her subluxed joints back into place. We'll do the usual puppy training classes, and get help with specific "tricks" we want our boy to learn. We've done alot of reading on our own as well.

You are right about the training being a long process. When she was doing research she found that most programs take 2 years from the time the puppy is born, and can cost anywhere from $500 (very unusual) to $10,000 depending on whether it is a non-profit organization or not. Those are the reasons we decided to try training her dog ourselves. Standard poodles are like the second smartest breed, and we have "borrowed" a few adults to test the waters. Both were quick learners, attentive and calm. You don't have to do the silly pompom cut either, they are quite adorable when allowed to grow out a little.

The final reason we decided to train the dog ourselves is that our daughter needs a companion and we felt the bond would be stronger if he "grows up" with her. Service dogs don't have to pass any kind of certification to go out with you. You can buy vests, leash covers, ID tags, collars, bandanas etc... online. We even found a "Service Puppy in Training" patch to sew on a pack. We are going to be very careful about taking him out before he is potty trained and can follow commands to sit and lay because we don't want to give people reasons to make it harder to have service dogs. You can also get "Therapy Dog" attire for people who use dogs for companions with depression and other mental illnesses.

How long to you have to go before you get your dog and what kind is it?

Hunniebun
07-11-2011, 03:13 PM
That's great to hear that you have a poodle for your daughter. I just wanted to say they are VERY smart and are excellent for this, so are Golden Retrievers and Labradors. I used to have a yellow lab of my own and he would help me stand up all the time and would lick me if I fainted.
I have a toy poodle X shitzhu X pomeranian now whom I've had since she was 9 weeks and she is now 6 months. She is very small but she is smart as a whip and I'm hoping to turn her into a therapy dog.

Gizmo
07-11-2011, 03:32 PM
That's great to hear that you have a poodle for your daughter. I just wanted to say they are VERY smart and are excellent for this, so are Golden Retrievers and Labradors. I used to have a yellow lab of my own and he would help me stand up all the time and would lick me if I fainted.
I have a toy poodle X shitzhu X pomeranian now whom I've had since she was 9 weeks and she is now 6 months. She is very small but she is smart as a whip and I'm hoping to turn her into a therapy dog.

Working dogs are so cool. Our little guy came home today and is already testing the limits of my daughter's physical ability, but she is happier than I have seen her in a long time. Because of allergies, poodles were our only choice (labradoodles and other mixes can still be allergenic), but we are very happy with the breed. Good luck with your training. Puppies are exhausting, but a blast.

Peridot20_Gem
07-11-2011, 04:24 PM
Hi Dawn,

I've not got a service dog and with what i have, it's mainly my seizures that worry me and for seizures apparentley border collies are the best in the field of seizures.
My staff i have now he's brilliant and i've not needed to train him...he knows my joints are'nt well and he sniffs my legs, if i try to drop off say in the chair he wakens me back up and if i do have a seizure (well i'm out for the count) but my hubby said he finds him and keeps running backwards and forwards till he comes to me and he said until i come round he lies by my side.

With alot of animals they don't have to be taught they can actually tell illness and adjust around it for themselves mentally.

Gizmo
07-11-2011, 07:49 PM
Well the puppy has arrived and my daughter is exhausted, sick and in tears. So much for this being good medicine. It was just too much for her to take care of him all by herself. I have night duty, hopefully some rest will help. We don't know why she is flaring, but taking the puppy outside every hour hasn't helped. I am praying we have not made a big mistake.

steve.b
07-11-2011, 08:19 PM
hopefully it is good medicine

Peridot20_Gem
07-12-2011, 03:28 AM
Well the puppy has arrived and my daughter is exhausted, sick and in tears. So much for this being good medicine. It was just too much for her to take care of him all by herself. I have night duty, hopefully some rest will help. We don't know why she is flaring, but taking the puppy outside every hour hasn't helped. I am praying we have not made a big mistake.Hi Gizmo,

It will be exhausting for you both especially at night and when i've trained a pup form 8wks stick them in a large box so they can't get out at your bedside, a nice blanket and pups love an old slipper to cuddle up to and i used to lose my dog out before i went to bed and set the alarm for every 4hrs.. i hope this may help as it's a known remedy over here for training a pup.

dawn patrol
07-12-2011, 04:34 AM
Aww Gizmo, hang in there with the poodle. It will be ok..
My dog is a 1.5 year old pomeranian-chihuahua. I bought him from a military couple who had him in his kennel for 16 hours a day :/. I've had him for about 4? months now. He accompanies me everywhere but medical appointments and is never forced into a locked kennel anymore. He is very social but mellow, observant and loving. I've decided to have him trained to be my seizure response dog. My friend that trains show dogs volunteered to fine tune his behavior, to make him suitable as a service dog. Another agency will be doing the specialized tasks. They are affiliated with the Delta Society and a few other organizations. Their cost is $500. After their tests he will also be certified through the Humane Society and his dog licence changed, although I do realize this is not required by the ADA.
Some of his tasks: reminding me to take my meds, fetching cell phone if indicated, getting help in case of seizures, providing comfort. It seems like he already tries to get me up when I have seizures..
Aside for the family dog when I was 5, this is the first dog Ive ever had. He's such a bright spot in my life.

Hunniebun
07-12-2011, 11:07 AM
Also, if it is too much for her to bring the puppy outside every hour, set up a pee/poop station for it and teach it to go there until it is old enough to hold it longer and be able to go outside later. Puppies will catch on fast so just hang in there, it'll be ok.

magistramarla
07-12-2011, 12:31 PM
Wow, this was something to find this thread!
I'm getting a service dog in September - a wonderful German Shepherd named Conner. My daughter, who has worked as an animal trainer at Sea World, as a horse trainer, and as a dog trainer, is training him for me. Here's his story:

Meg bought him a few years ago and trained him to be her "demo dog" when she was teaching obedience training. He is perfectly trained.
Fast forward to 2009 - when Meg got married and moved to Arkansas with her "military man". Conner kept having more and more allergy problems - it turned out that he is terribly allergic to weeds and grasses that grow there. The vet there wanted to put him to sleep, but Meg refused. Finally, last summer, she sent him to live with her father-in-law in San Antonio.

Just recently, Meg was visiting in SA. She went to a BBQ at her father-in-law's home. She was shocked to see that the family had gotten rid of their other three dogs and that Conner looked like he was nearly starved to death! They claimed that they were keeping him skinny because of hip dysplasia. I paid to have Meg take Conner to our family vet in SA, who had known Conner since he was a pup. He was dismayed at how mal-nourished he was. He found no evidence at all of hip dysplasia or any underlying disease - he did find that the dog was severely underweight and had a bad staph infection.

Meg took Conner back to Arkansas with her. The infection is healed, he's gaining weight and is happily playing with her baby boy and the two Dobermans. She's working on training him to help me on stairs and curbs, where I have the most problems. She's also going to work on "fetch the phone" in case I fall and get hurt.
I'm buying him a "mobility harness" that will help me to stay steady and will identify him as a service dog.

I'm flying out to see Meg and little Ryan (Tyler is in Afghanistan right now) at the end of September. She'll work with Conner and me for those two weeks and then we'll fly back to California. I've found out that Southwest will have no problem with my service dog flying with me in the bulkhead seat.

The Monterey Peninsula is very "dog-friendly". Dogs don't even have to be service dogs to go into most stores in our local mall, and Carmel is so dog-friendly, most businesses have water bowls and treats. Many restaurants there even have doggie menus if you eat on the patio. The beach at Carmel is full of dogs, and I'm thinking that playing in the ocean will help Conner's skin problems. I also think that getting out with him will be good exercise for me.

I've been a cat lover all of my life, but Meg has taught me to appreciate dogs, too. I can't wait to get Conner home with me and to start taking him with me to all of the places that I go. I think that we will both benefit from it.
Hugs,
Marla4037

Peridot20_Gem
07-12-2011, 01:22 PM
Hi Marla,

What a wonderful touching story mate and he's a beautiful Alsation and over here in the UK they love the ears to be direct in standing..it shows the breed to be well bred he's a beauty.

I hope he achieves his goals for you and it's a good job your daughter got him back but it won't be long before you have him and he'll be in a loving caring home for life.

Hugs Terry xxxxx

Gizmo
07-13-2011, 04:13 AM
Thanks everyone for the great replies and advise. This is so hard because everything (and I do mean everything) my daughter tries to do to become more independent just makes things worse. I'm too tired to do much more than say thanks. We move my other daughter and her fiance's stuff into our house, they get married in 9 days and then leave for Germany for a year. I am flaring, and have so much to do, but no energy - especially with the puppy. Marla, we are considering seeing if we can find a foster home for our puppy where he can be trained and get through the worst of puppyhood. In the meantime, he is going back to the breeder while we get through the wedding. This was planned, but he may go a few days earlier.

Peridot20_Gem
07-13-2011, 04:21 AM
Gizmo,

Your welcome from all of us but like you say training of a pup plus a wedding it's just way to much and a foster home who deals with training should have the pup ready and trained for you daughter in no time, as pups are like children there's alot of work goes into them.

Try not to ware yourself out mate. xxxx

magistramarla
07-15-2011, 07:44 PM
Gizmo,
I agree with you - I would never have the patience to potty-train a puppy. I can do it just fine with kids, but not dogs. Meg has no problem at all training dogs in any way.
I'm lucky getting Conner - she's already got him perfectly trained.
I've been through the stresses of weddings with my kids.
I did all of the food and made the cake for Hillary's first wedding - I was exhausted.
I just did the cake for her second wedding and let her friends take care of the food - I enjoyed the wedding more.
Since Meg's wedding was in a different city, where Tyler was stationed, I just bought a cake at Sam's and we held a reception at The Olive Garden - I had fun!
Don't take on too much, and take time to enjoy the wedding.
Take care of yourself.
Hugs,
Marla

giggle
07-15-2011, 11:44 PM
Hey Gizmo : )

As a dog trainer and breeder... 8 weeks is way too young to be giving a puppy to anyone. 12 weeks should be the minimum. They learn essential social behaviours and toileting in particular from their mother in this time. An 8 week old pup hasn't even been given a sense of needing to keep clean yet. The only reason breeders will send pups home at this age is because they are still cute and it is the earliest they can legally do it. A 12 week old pup isnt quite as little and cute.
I keep all my pups to 13 weeks; they are desexed and given their final vaccinations at 12 weeks and wait a week until stiches come out... then go to their new homes with the beginning of toilet training and crate training all underway. Ideally for your situation, the pup should be at least 16weeks old and should already be desexed.

But FANTASTIC choice of breed. Poodles are among the smartest their only downfall when it comes to assistance dogs is that they are high energy and this will never change. Your poodle will need to have a good old run every single day of its life. Labs and Goldens at maturity tend to be happy to laze around most of the time but do enjoy some exercise. If your daughter has some difficulty with keeping up with a high energy dog, then a poodle may really test her. : (

There are MANY purebred non-shedding dogs out there, including certain retrievers such as the curly coated retriever and chesapeake bay retriever. There are also portugese water dogs (I love them to pieces) and any number of dogs of all sizes. Most however are going to need a lot of exercise as your more intelligent and obedient dogs generally will. The only way around that, is to look into smaller breeds. But if you need the dog to be large enough to support your daughters weight etc, that really isnt an option. Papillons rate in the top ten of most intelligent dogs... and weigh but a few kilos. They do shed, but have a silky coat which does not hold dirt and therefor for a lot of people are low-allergy/allergy-free.

If you do stick with a larger breed, your service dog will need someone to go outside with it every day to throw a ball around. And training a puppy is a lot of work and takes a lot of time and dedication on a daily basis. If I lived near you, I would train your pup for free, or help your daughter train your pup : ( Shame I dont, I would love to help out.

I don't want to sound like a buzz killer... a service dog is a fantastic idea. I just want you to know, its going to be really tough on you all starting from scratch by yourselves. If you need any help or advice, please feel free to ask and I can do all I am able to from across the ocean!

My heart just breaks for you : ( with your daughters conditions, a service dog would just be the bees knees... but to have one trained is so expensive and to do it yourself is a lot more work than I think your daughter realises. And if only I was there I could have that poodle doing amazing things for you.

magistramarla
07-16-2011, 02:35 PM
Gizmo,
I'm sure that Meghan would agree with everything that Giggles just told you.
It's a shame that the wrong daughter of mine lives in Colorado. Kayla is in Littleton, and has a cat named Gizmo - LOL.
My dog-training girl is in Arkansas.
Do you think that you might be able to find a good dog trainer in your area who would work with your daughter and her dog for a reasonable price?
Start with basic obedience training, and then seek out more advanced training. Someone who trains therapy dogs might be willing to branch out to training a service dog.

I've ordered two good books on training your service dog from Amazon - Teamwork I and Teamwork II. I'm going to study them before I go out to Meg's.
Here are some good sites that I found, too: http://sdog.danawheels.net/ot-adog.shtml and http://www.workingservicedog.com/

It looks like we're starting this adventure together. I'll keep you informed on what I learn.
Hugs,
Marla

giggle
07-16-2011, 09:18 PM
I hope someone can help you out. In my general searching on congenital conditions I have read a little about your daughters condition so I understand the trials associated. Maybe your hubby can help out with the pup a bit more? One BIG word of advice, especially if this is a boy pup, have it desexed before 16weeks. The second boy hormones start kicking in, they become a bigger handful.

Small dogs are easy to train for a light service dog role. A papillon would be perfect as they are eager to please and have bright sparkly personalities. And small dogs can very easily have an indoor doggy toilet. They have very easy care coats that dont need clipping. Tibetan spaniels are also great service dogs, but a little less peppy and willing to please.

Here is a video of what papillons can do : )


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hci5-yvrV9I&feature=related

Gizmo
07-17-2011, 04:05 AM
Wow, awsome information Giggle and Marla, thank you so much.

Our little poodle learned so much his first 5 days with us, and we are actually doing pretty well with toileting issues. He is the sweetest guy and has already shown signs of knowing when our daughter is doing poorly. He even pulled on her pant leg one day, knowing before she even got dizzy that she needed to sit down. As soon as she went to the floor, he sat on her and licked her until she felt better. Her oxygen levels suddenly have been dropping and she feels horrible. The worst day, he literally sat on her or with her all day instead of running around.

We did take the puppy to back to the breeder for the week, a few days earlier than planned. He doesn't sleep through the night, and has to be watched anytime he is out of his playpen. I got far behind on sleep and wedding preparations - but he is so much fun! Giggle, we live on 5 acres, so he will be able to run to his heart's content, and I am planning to build my endurance along with his by taking him for walks. We will probably do some outdoor agility training, too. The breeder says there is a type of agility competition where the handler doesn't have to run alongside the dog. Because the puppy has made so much progress this week, we are going to keep trying to train on our own, with my husband and I taking a bigger role. I would love to have someone like you, who could help us, but we are hoping that the process of doing it ourselves will be beneficial, too.

Our overriding concern right now is getting our daughter to feel better so she can do a few of the pre-wedding stuff with her sister and the other bridesmaids. Right now, she probably won't even be able to stand during the ceremony. I think we will have to have her reclining powerchair on standby, and she really doesn't want to have to use that.

giggle
07-18-2011, 12:44 AM
that is excellent to hear : ) I am glad he is looking promising and you are right, the thrill and pride from training your own dog cant compare. I hope the wedding goes well : ) a new puppy at a busy time is a nightmare lol

If you need any advice along the way let me know : )

Peridot20_Gem
07-19-2011, 03:26 AM
Well me amd my husband went to a Rover show the weekend and there was this man there who had been in a car accident and damaged the nerves to his neck/spine and one arm...well bruno was on the loose and the man got chatting to me and said your staff came up to me earlier while sitting and sniffed all my arm, i said he knows that it's not well and in no time he took to bruno.

Our beauties carry so much intelligence it's un believeable at times.

wash&wag
07-19-2011, 07:46 PM
Your daughter picked a wonderful breed for her service dog! I have a service dog prescription my Dr wrote me. I use my own dogs. I have a standard poodle and cocker spaniel I use. They both help keep my anxiety and "dizzy" spells at bay as they calm me. My cocker can actually dectect and gets clingy when I am getting an onset of either issue.
You can order vests and accessories from this site: http://www.things4yourdog.com/service-and-therapy-dogs they have everything you could want or need.
Hope this helps and yes having a service dog makes a world of difference. Basic obiedience training can be done at home as well as anything further. I trained my own.

dawn patrol
07-22-2011, 03:28 AM
Ive got to tell you guys a story. My dog is in training, doing great. He's been all over the place, to the mall, stores, etc., but I took him to a restaurant for the first time today. Just a casual Italian restaurant. I realize he doesn't look like a service dog and I don't look disabled. The hostess told me to take my dog out of the restaurant. When I told her he was my service dog she basically accused me of LYING. She had a sh*t fit. According to the ADA dogs don't have to be wearing vests, ID, or show paperwork. My pomchi was wearing a cute aqua tank top and a leather rhinestone collar with a matching leash ;). I keep his papers in my car. She demanded to see them and like an idiot I told her I'd show her, just wait a minute...When I came back she was nowhere to be seen and someone else came and seated my party. After all that anger why would she just disappear? How ridiculous. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Peridot20_Gem
07-22-2011, 03:37 AM
Dawn,

That's disgusting mate but i have had a simular experience just once but not with a dog but a disabled toilet.

When i had my strokes i was on crutches just starting to get about went towards a disabled toilet and the woman stopped me you can only use those if your disabled i told her i was...any ID like you've had today. I said to me dad go and fetch the proof from the motor and i showed her and i told her i would'nt be showing them again and don't bloody stop me in future and tell the rest of the staff.

I tell you something and i bet you was the same with your dog...it makes your blood bile.

steve.b
07-22-2011, 04:08 AM
glad to hear all is progressing.
these little setbacks are there to make you stronger. (so they say)

you will have to place a photo on here, so we can admire your dog, (all dressed up)

magistramarla
07-22-2011, 02:12 PM
Ive got to tell you guys a story. My dog is in training, doing great. He's been all over the place, to the mall, stores, etc., but I took him to a restaurant for the first time today. Just a casual Italian restaurant. I realize he doesn't look like a service dog and I don't look disabled. The hostess told me to take my dog out of the restaurant. When I told her he was my service dog she basically accused me of LYING. She had a sh*t fit. According to the ADA dogs don't have to be wearing vests, ID, or show paperwork. My pomchi was wearing a cute aqua tank top and a leather rhinestone collar with a matching leash ;). I keep his papers in my car. She demanded to see them and like an idiot I told her I'd show her, just wait a minute...When I came back she was nowhere to be seen and someone else came and seated my party. After all that anger why would she just disappear? How ridiculous. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Dawn,
I ordered a mobility harness for Conner, and I already have it. It is made of strong leather with sheepskin where it might rub on him. It has "Service Dog" stamped into the leather on the top of it, and a nice little see-through plastic pouch to carry his picture ID for all to see.
I'm pretty obviously disabled, but I wanted his status to be very easy to see.
I can't wait to bring him home!
Hugs,
Marla

magistramarla
07-22-2011, 02:32 PM
Dawn,

That's disgusting mate but i have had a simular experience just once but not with a dog but a disabled toilet.

When i had my strokes i was on crutches just starting to get about went towards a disabled toilet and the woman stopped me you can only use those if your disabled i told her i was...any ID like you've had today. I said to me dad go and fetch the proof from the motor and i showed her and i told her i would'nt be showing them again and don't bloody stop me in future and tell the rest of the staff.

I tell you something and i bet you was the same with your dog...it makes your blood bile.

Terry,
I have the opposite problem here in the states. People who have no need for the handicapped toilet will rudely step in front of me to take it. Once, when I was struggling into the restroom at the local theater, three giggly teens nearly knocked me over passing me and crowded into the large stall together.
Another memorable time, a bouncy young woman at Jeff's campus was fast-walking down the hall, passed by me at the door into the restroom and dove straight into the handicapped stall! There were five other empty stalls in there.

Sometimes, I think that people have never been taught what the handicapped sign means and what common courtesy toward a disabled person means to them.

On the other hand, we were stuck in the mall for several hours in a nearby town on Tuesday while our car was being repaired. This is a town where most people speak Spanish, and many are migrant farm workers from Mexico. I was hobbling into the restroom, and there was a long line in there. To my surprise, as I started to go to the back of the line, the lady at the front of it took me by the arm and helped me into the EMPTY!! handicapped stall. I thanked them all, and realized that none of the ladies in there spoke a word of English.

So, do Moms in Mexico teach their kids to respect the disabled? It seems so to me. I certainly saw that cultural difference in Japan. I was treated as "honored guest" wherever we went while we were there. It seems that it would be easy for parents and early grade-school teachers to teach this bit of respect and courtesy. Handicapped parking spots have signs threatening fines if the non-disabled use them. If only there was a way to do that with the restroom stall!

Sorry for the rant, but this is a pet peeve of mine. People just don't realize that the slighty raised toilet and those bars to hold onto can really make a huge difference to someone who is hurting. I'll shut up now.
Hugs,
Marla

Peridot20_Gem
07-23-2011, 07:19 AM
Marla,

Why shut up mate...your releasing how you feel and it can be annoying.

I will state some think marla over here you can't go to the toilets/shopping area's/restaurants or public houses to use a disabled toilet before fetching a key as they lock them for some reason...refering shopping mals/buses/streets etc your pushed by anybody and it does'nt matter what age group, i've had it off elderly people.

The ones who don't do it are the ones who have been brought up to be respectful, you don't see it much today as everyone seems to be in a rat race.