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Training Logs?

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.


The Boy Wonder
Barked: Mon Jun 13, '11 11:04pm PST 
Obviously new the the forums. As the handler of a service dog who is both a medical alert and a Psychiatric Service dog. He was chosen from his litter because at 12 weeks he showed the most signs of bonding as well as being independent and an active 'thinker'.

I just wondered if anyone else with service dogs keeps log books on their training.

Happy and I train daily as the routine is great for me training new things but also as a way for me to ground and calm down.

He is trained to alert to my specific medical condition but to help with my Psychiatric issues he has a number of 'tasks' which I think of as more necessary jobs.

Also, any other owner trained dogs how did you decide on tasks to train your dog?

I couldn't make myself go down a list because most of the 'tasks' didn't fit what I needed at all.

Things like Grounding, and tactical stimulation while wonderful ideas wasn't going to help with my panic attacks.

'tasks' Happy is trained to do.

Alert to people in low populated areas - his level of alert has changed depending on the actions of the person over the years.

Bark - one of the main fears I had is that I would be in a parking lot and be approached by someone with ill intent and freeze leaving me unable to yell for help so Happy is trained to bark (not threaten) if I'm in a situation where I'm panicking

Search the house when I come home - PTSD left me so that I didn't want to leave the house, but if I did leave I was terrified to come back in. Happy is trained to search the house for people and because my other fear is that someone could hurt him his alert is to come back out and go to the car if there is a person there. He is Specifically trained to ignore any person he finds.

Interrupt repetitive behavior -he's pretty good at this and will bring me a ball or toy if I'm engaging in behaviors for too long.

Safe - for panic attacks the Worst part is everyone always seems to want to grab and ask if you're alright. He's trained to circle me to get people back then put gentle bite pressure on my hand (which is sufficiently unusual that I can then at least start thinking again)

Look Shy - on a hand signal if someone get's pushy in wanting to pet him he is trained to 'look shy' (cover his face with a paw) which can often diffuse the situation

There are more things I've trained him to do, and tasks have changed some with each of my service dogs (Happy is my fourth).

So anyone think that training logs would also be a help in court if the 'training' of your service dog were to be questioned?hamster dance

Work hard; Play- harder.
Barked: Tue Jun 14, '11 6:06am PST 
I kept individual hard backed day planners. At the time, I was keeping one on each dog I had as part of keeping up with who was doing what/when in preparation for showing/pulling/hunting. So I just kept using the same type of logging system. The big thing has been transferring it all to Excel so I could tally up the hours and if needed, present it in a more compact format.

Yes, I do believe that if it ever came to court, the logs (as well as his behavior) would be very important.

Super Silver- Service Spoodle
Barked: Tue Jun 14, '11 8:03am PST 
I kept a training log for Ollie. I broke it down into basic obedience, service skills, public access behaviors, and comfort with the environment. Each outing I graded him on a scale of 1-10 on each facet, made notes on what we worked on, and listed the best and worst thing that happened. I also noted how long each training session was so I had proof of loads of hours of training. It makes me feel better knowing if I were ever in court I'd have it to refer to. I kept mine in an excel spreadsheet but you can keep yours however you will be most likely to fill it out.

Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Tue Jun 21, '11 3:02pm PST 
This may be a bit over doing it but I keep 3 different logs one for her personal diary to her training one for her witnesses when she is out and about doing her work and people come up and tell me how good she is at what she is doing when they are watching her. And one that I keep a log where I take her or have taken her and vidioes that I take of her doing her work. I also keep a log on my own healing and medical trials that I go through new things that come up things I have issues with etc. All the books mention and state how Sadie helps and works with me and how she does it. I feel having that many keeps me a lil more organised. Though I do have issues keeping up with all of them.LOL But I at least try to right something in each of them once a month. Part of my illness is memories that Often makes it hard to keep track of days and events of those days. I have two different people as well as a proffesional who works with Sadie on a day to day means. Above me working her since I have day that my brain dose not seem to want work for me.

Barked: Tue Jun 21, '11 7:47pm PST 
I keep a training log but because it's really fun to go back and look at what you did at the beginning and see how far you've come.

I would also be wary about teaching barking. There have been other threads on this board about it, and it was really controversial whether it was okay to bark once for an alert. If a dog were just barking and barking in a public no-pets place, that would be legitimate grounds to remove the SD, which obviously wouldn't help your situation at all! Have you considered any way to deal with that situation other than barking?
SHADOW - RIP 14 June- 2014

Barked: Wed Jun 22, '11 10:49am PST 
I kept a diary on Dogster on his journey of becoming a Service Dog... I kept any other journal, but the next SD I will because the training records for the Veterans Administration..
Harley, SD,- CGC, TDI

Super Service- Boy!
Barked: Wed Jun 22, '11 11:09am PST 
I did not keep a training log with Harley. His training was an unique situation. He was 4, almost 5, before I decided I really wanted and needed to go that route. He had long been obedience trained and was pretty much task/work trained by that point. We have added tasks as time as gone by and my condition has progressed. With the next one, I don't know. I'm not great with that kind of thing, so I'll have to work out some sort of form that works for me that I can fill in the blanks.

As for how to figure out what to train...

Make a list of the things you can not do for yourself due to your disability. Next to each one, write what a dog could do to mitigate it. Now each one will have something a dog can do, but many will, and that's what you train.

I would also not train a dog to bark. A dog can legally be removed from a public place if they are a threat to the public or altering the nature of the business. You also have to consider how a dog will react to EMS and police. If the police are threatened (or think they are) by your dog, they will shoot it. Brain storm with other PSD handlers (I'm not one) on alternate tasks that can mitigate the same issue.

The Boy Wonder
Barked: Wed Jun 22, '11 1:02pm PST 
Thanks for your input everyone.

As for the barking, he really only barks in Very specific situations, and for a very specific reason. He really only barks if I'm approached Outside, he's already alerted to the person, and I freeze due to panic, and he's trained for this because I have two people in my life who have been violent in the past and have physically hurt me while I was unable to call for help.

It's really a debilitating terror that one of the two will catch me in a dark parking lot again. And key word here is again. The last time it happened I ended up with three broken ribs, a cracked collar bone and dislocated shoulder as well as my service dog being hurt because this person "could". Happy is trained not to threaten but to bark to get help and to stay with me to continue to try to break me out of it so I can run
Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Thu Jun 23, '11 8:14pm PST 
Happy I hope you have good luck with that I am glad you are not letting those people keep you down. that is the empowerment that they get when they hurt you. I wish a happy life and strong healing.