|Barked: Tue Sep 25, '12 5:30am PST |
|Hi Guys, I'm Ariel, I'm new around here, and have been kind of lurking for the last few weeks. I'm 19 and have been in the process of finding the right dog for PSD work for myself for the last year. As I've narrowed down a handful of dogs of varying breeds (some mixed, some pure), placements (shelters, rescues, breeders), and genders, all with similar temperaments to run through a battery of tests. Up until this point a PSD was this "glorified dream dog for Ariel that wouldn't likely happen" in the minds of some family members, my sister in particular. Now that it is an idea that is starting to form a shape, she has switched from "supportive" to freaked out, and in my mind, disapproving.
I will be the first to admit that I put the family dog and took him out in public when he was not (and would never be) ready. I am even more willing to admit that the way I've gone about getting a PSD is what puts SDs, PSDs in particular, to shame in the eyes of the community. I also had a dog I had to wash out due to a poor pick of temperament. I picked the dog. My trainer didn't.
Let's switch to now, keeping all that background history in mind, and I'll now describe my process, as written out for me by my trainer and myself.
1. Write out list of conditions I'd need mitigation for:
-Severe Tactile Sensitivities
-OCD Behaviors/Thought Processes
2. Then I decided the tasks I'd like performed for each of these:
Bipolar: Alert to manic episodes. (mine are often accompanied by dissociation and self-injury)
Anxiety: Perform a "lean" cue for deep pressure.
Tactile: Orbit me in public to create buffer between me and other people.
OCD: Break repetitive thought processes with a lick, nudge or paw.
3. Come up with a list of characteristics both needed for my tasks and preferred by me.
-Larger than 40 lbs to be visible and capable of buffering in public.
-Smaller than 70 lbs so as to be able to provide the level of deep pressure I need.
-An interesting yet totally recognizable dog (so as not to incur an excessive amount of questions)
-A low grooming requirement
-Not intimidating, yet not tiny
4. Come up with a list of tests to perform on each dog tested:
Temperament - Volhard Aptitude Test
Learning Speed - Teach something spatial (go to mat), something with the head/nose (head down/are you sad), and something with the paw (turn on a tap light)
Body Contact - Pet the dog, and see if they cuddle/relax into me in a way that would indicate that they naturally lean.
Problem Solving - Using a dog puzzle to determine if the dog thinks well on its own.
Public - How well they do in a crowded place with a variety of people and distractions.
5. Rank those in order of importance for me.
6. Come up with a list of 5+ dogs to test.
7. Testing all dogs, ranking each dogs reactions. (Where I am now)
8. Gather the rankings and weigh them to choose the best SD candidate.
So back to the whole story. Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel as if I've done a good job thinking this all out. I feel sufficiently in need of a dog.
Now my sister feels I am glorifying pets, and while I love her and seek her approval, I often do not approve of her choices either. I don't feel I'm glorifying a pet... Like I said, I feel like I've thought this out. I just want to know I'm doing the right thing. I hate fakers, but the last thing I want to be is one myself...
What do you guys think?
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