|Barked: Wed Sep 8, '10 1:57pm PST |
|I'm sorry to hear you're in the hospital again. I think that we might be able to assist you more if you had more specific questions. Do you have any specific questions? Are you interested in getting a dog from a program or training your own dog? Here's something I've typed up before about how to train your own dog:
Step 1: Talk with your doctor, verify your disability, and discuss what work or tasks a dog could do to assist you. Talk with other service dog owners about the pros and cons of living with a service dog, reading these webpages for more information http://www.psychdog.org/lifestyle.html and http://www.psychdog.org/faq.html
Step 2: Find a trainer and have your dog temperament tested to make sure they are likely to make it as a service dog-- any sign of aggression in a dog's past (towards humans or other animals) is unacceptable in a service dog candidate in my opinion. Talk with the trainer and/or a vet to be sure your dog can safely do the work/tasks needed to assist you. Also have your dog examined by a vet to make sure they are healthy enough to work. If you don't have a dog, or your dog is not suitable for service work, read this article for help deciding what breed and where to get the dog: http://www.psychdog.org/lifestyle_ChoosingDog.html and hire a professional trainer to help you pick a dog.
Step 3: Master basic obedience at home, in local parks, in petstores, and in other dog friendly stores-- some hardware stores and bookstores will allow pets, call and ask. Make sure to start keeping a training log of what you are doing, how your dog is doing with obedience, public access and assistance behaviors.
Step 4: Once your dog is pretty much able to pass the CGC (in other words could do it with the use of a few treats, or could do it all except for the leaving the dog alone bit) purchase a vest and in training patches, and visit the places in step 3 with the vest on. If you haven't already started training tasks/work, start that now, too.
Step 5: Gradually visit more and more difficult environments-- saving places with lots of crowds, food etc for later. Train to the public access standard on the PSDS website.
Step 6: If you live in a state with SDIT protection, spend another few months in training just to make sure you're both really comfortable with whatever comes up. Really, it's not a race!
Step 7: Take a public access test like the one here http://www.psychdog.org/attach/Public_Access_Standard_Test_Sheet.pdf and have someone videotape it if possible. If you don't have a trainer who can give the test, have a friend do it. The idea is that your dog should be able to perform these things, and if you ever have a court case, video proof of this may be helpful, or at least a letter from a trainer saying that you did the things.
Also, PSDS has an owner training standard that lists the steps in a slightly different format here:
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