|Barked: Wed Sep 5, '12 11:54am PST |
|Thanks Spinny for the tips. I'll check into that website.
The program that I've been with for the past several years (and most programs, to my knowledge) are very against owner training. I've tried speaking with a few people about it and I get shot down pretty quickly and "strongly advised against" doing any service dog training work. The main reason for this, according to the people I've asked, is the liability. But I think that liability is different when you are helping someone train a dog they already have versus you selling (or providing) someone with a dog that you have trained.
This may be a better way to ask this:
Say I'm helping someone teach their service dog to, for example, go and hit an emergency button on cue (say, if a wheelchair bound person falls out of wheelchair). I've shown the owner how to train and shape the response, told the owner to practice the cue regularly to keep it fresh in the dog's mind, and at our last lesson the dog responds on cue, every time, quickly and accurately. A couple years later, person falls, gives dog cue, and dog fails to follow through.
2nd scenario is I'm helping someone develop a management program for a dog-aggressive dog (I don't do people aggression; I refer those out to a behaviorist). I don't ever tell or advertise that I can "fix" dog aggression, only help owners manage it. So we work and train and the dog gets a lot better. I leave our final lesson and the owner has a management program in place that they should stick to and continue to re-enforce and work on regularly. Then one day, the owner is out for a walk and the dog attacks another dog.
If I can do the training described in the second program and be fine, what is the difference between that and the first scenario? In both cases, I'm teaching the owner to train their dog to do something, and the owner is responsible for following up on that training and doing their homework. To me, both of these situations are essentially identical, and if I can do one, I should be able to do the other without any extra liability just because the handler in one scenario is disabled.
The program I volunteer with happens to be a non-profit, but I know that purchasing a fully trained service dog can be extremely expensive. Another reason I think the liability is so different is because this program focuses on GUIDE dogs. I think if you train a guide dog, then give it to a visually impaired person and the dog is supposed to not let the person walk out in front of a moving car, is supposed to take the person around potholes and objects that could injure them, and the dog fails to do those things, resulting in the handler getting seriously injured or killed, that's a different story.
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