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Service Dogs


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#1 Capa

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:19 PM

I was wondering if any members are currently utilizing and/or training Service Dogs? I saw an article regarding the increased use of Service Dogs for those with PD and thought that it was an interesting concept.

Thanks!

#2 Beau's Mom

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 11:17 AM

Capa, can you tell me where you read the article? I'd love to know more about it. Thanks.
Dianne

I am not a human being trying to have a spiritual experience; I am a spiritual being having a (sometimes difficult) human experience.

#3 sbvcrn

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:25 PM

Hello
My husband has a service dog, Mel, a Golden Retriever. We originally saw an article in our Parkinson's Newsletter from Mohammed Ali Center. When contacting the writer, they really knew nothing about how to move forward with this. So we did lots and lots of research. It was originally suggested we get and train our own dog...I guess this is an option for some, but not for us even though I had trained our household dogs thru all three phases of obedience. We spoke to a long-time dog trainer who suggested this was not the way to go (at least for us). Even under the best of circumstances (i.e. seeing eye dogs) there is a 20% failure rate, not to mention hip dysplasias, etc. We were able to find two organizations fairly close to us...one in California and one in Arizona who provide "already" trained dogs. California's wait was 2-5 years. Arizona's was approximately 18 months. We contacted POWER PAWS in Scottsdale, Arizona and fortunately received Mel in about 9 months...partly because Mel had previously been placed and his owner had passed away. They (Power Paws) have a very rigorous adoption routine...(and if you thought adopting a child was difficult well you should see their paperwork). Power paws trains dogs for Mobility/Balance (my hubby), PTSD, autism,. Hearing, and DIABETES. They typically bred and raise their own puppies (labradors, golden retrievers, goldie doodles...goldens and poodles, and labradoodles...labs and poodles). They can assist children or adults Mel has been of great assistance to my husband (Mel knows over 100 commands) and he is a wonderful companion for him as well. Hopefully this information will be of assistance to those that are interested. p.s. they have placed dogs all over the country and I think in a couple of cases outside the US (at least that is where some of the clients reside at this time).

#4 Capa

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 08:45 PM

Thank you so much! I have been a dog trainer for the past 15 years and have a dog that has been fabulous in assisting me around the house. My PCP "okay'd" me having a Service Dog but I haven't been using her in public as much as I could be.

Do you mind if I ask what types of tasks your husband's dog performs? I'd love to work with Chai on some new tasks. Right now she retrieves items for me predominantly as I have orthostatic hypotension and bending over to pick up items can be difficult.

The article that I read, "Mobility Assistance Dogs for Parkinson's Disease" :


http://jennifercople...disease-a215787

#5 sbvcrn

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 11:35 PM

Hi
I am Mel's "step mom" being that he is my hubby's service dog. For my husband it is mainly balance and mobility. He (my husband) uses a special harness with a handle similar to that of a seeing eye dog. This stabilizes my husband's gait and balance quite a bit. Now for some of the other things Mel does (and I cant remember all), he can assist my husband in getting out of a chair by pulling on one of those "tug a war" toys, he can tap to unfreeze my husband's gait, he can and does pick up anything that is dropped...keys, credit cards, remotes, phones, etc. He can stand at a counter and present a credit card to a cashier and take and carry a small bag, he can take things off of grocery store shelves (not too good with soda cans as he punctures the can, or bread...), he can open and close drawers, cupboards, and the refrigerator (obviously there is a rope or some type of attachement that he can grab). He can push the blue handicap squares to open doors and can push an elevator button if there is only an up or door. He doesnt do numbers. He knows how to use light switches, either the standard ones or the rocker ones. He can assist my husband in getting up from the floor if my husband falls by allowing my husband to brace himself on his back...this is not the dog totally bearing my husband's weight, and he can take things back and forth between us or go and find me if my husband falls or such. AND he loves doing it all. He is also a "dog' a good bit of the time and tears around our house, plays with our other dogs and cat. Loves our grandkids, etc. He travels in the car great and has flown extremely well. Can pull a wheelchair (although he doesnt do that for us), goes thru TSA security and Customs with great ease and dignity. People LOVE him. My husband could well find another wife due to Mel. He loves restaurants and we have never had an issue with any of them. We move the harness handle down and tell him to "go under' and he does. He loves restaurants...the dirtier and less swept the better if you get my drift. Oh, and he will bark (quite loudly) on command, either the command "guard", "bark" or click, click with your tongue (kind of a safety net that some people with disabilities have found helpful). Also, he is trained for no pulling or bounding forward after other dogs, cats, etc. I know there are many other things i am not thinking of right now but these are the main things for us...mainly the mobility/balance issues and companionship (although i hope i am some too but now with Mel....)

It is possible that you have such a possibility in your dog, however it is my understanding for that to be considered a "service dog" and have ADA permission they have to pass certain tests. Power Paws does do accreditation for personal trained dogs and I am sure other places do as well. It is of the utmost importance that whatever service dog you have, that they are totally controllable and not flighty, vicious, etc. In other words as dependable as possible. No dog is perfect, nor are we for that matter. Unfortunately, there are those people who say their dogs are "service dogs" and they are NOT. Just last week we were at Costco and someone had this little thing in their basket (with a service dog vest...that you can easily buy on line) who attempted to attack our big ole Mel but for the people holding their dog down. A service dog cannot behave like this so either said dog really was not a service dog or horribly trained and allowed to be accredited. Your article was a good article and talks about all the things such dogs (and other animals) can do. Even though I have thoroughly trained dogs myself, we did not feel we wanted to attempt this as I had mentioned before. Our other two dogs are a very timid, scared to death of everything blue-tick hound and a miniature schnauzer...neither of which fit our needs. Mel is a BIG goldie (100 lbs) and my husband needed big.

I hope your questions and my reply gives thoughts to many of those who could use the assistance of these marvelous animals. AND, the diabetic dogs are truly awesome, as are the epilepsy sensing dogs for those who might be in need or know of someone who could benefit.

#6 Capa

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 08:24 AM

Thank you! My dog already will retrieve anything for me, has high level competition obedience titles, has done Therapy work, and is an angel in public- even with high- level distractions.

I've been consistently training her since she was 9 weeks old and she's now 5. There's no doubt that she'd easily pass the Service Dog Guideline tests. I agree that it's sickening to see people take advantage of the system.

I rarely use my dog in public as her main tasks would simply be to pick up items and to carry items in a pack for me to allow me to have a more free gait.

Do you think I should utilize her more to further train her for my future?

#7 Capa

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 06:07 AM

What types of tasks would be helpful to train for my future?




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