Mind Alive Blog
Friday, August 12, 2011
Psychiatric Service Dog Part 3
This is the last installment of Melanie's post. Here she talks about points to consider before getting a service dog.
"While a service dog is a very effective treatment for me, please consider it very carefully before you assume it is going to work for you. Start by doing a lot of research.
- · Look for an organization in your area that helps owners train their own service dog or one that places already trained dogs with those who need them. If there isn’t an organization in your area, choose to work with a professional trainer. Make sure you research the trainer. Not all trainers have the necessary knowledge.
- · Have the trainer help you screen dogs until you find the right one. You may look for a long time. You may end up with an adult dog from a breeder, a rescue dog from a shelter, or a puppy. Make sure you understand the pros and cons for each option. Research what type of personality traits a service dog is going to need. Be aware of what breed you pick. While there may not be any breed restrictions in your area, in other areas there may be. If you have your heart set on a Bullmastiff, Rottweiler, Doberman, Pit Bull, or other such breeds, realize that this choice may affect your ability to travel with your dog.
- · Research what you are going to have to train your dog to do both for public access and for task work to help you through your life.
- · Have a reasonable expectation as to how long this training is going to take and make sure to not rush your dog. Every dog learns at their own pace so there isn’t a standard for this. It usually takes between 1 and 2 years to end up with a dog that is able to do this job. It may take longer depending on the dog as well as your health during the training process.
- · Expect setbacks during the training. This is normal. It’s the moments where you will get frustrated because a week ago your dog did know the behaviour. These moments are normal as a dog learns.
- · Be prepared for the cost of a service dog. To have your dog be able to do the best work he can you’ll want to feed him high quality food. You will need gear that is not needed for a pet, some of which can be very expensive. Your dog will need to spend a lot more time with a trainer than a pet dog. This bond with your trainer may need to last for the life of the dog.
- · Make sure that you understand the laws in your area. Every province/state/country has different rules when it comes to service dogs and their access rights. In some areas, a service dog may have rights only if it’s from a school. In others, owner trained dogs may be covered but only for certain disabilities. If you don’t fit under the laws and really want to go forward with a service dog, you may have to deal with your local representatives in government to get the laws changed"
Labels: Service dogs
Post a Comment