New to service dogs....

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.


Barked: Mon Oct 1, '12 1:21pm PST 
Hi, I was just prescribed a service dog for my psychiatric disability. I was given a few organizations that place service dogs, but the wait is around 3 yrs. It was also suggested that I could always get a rescue and have him/her trained. I'm still not clear on the training aspect. A friend of mine is training her own dog, with a great amount of success. When you have a service dog in training, are they allowed to be trained in public places?? I have tons of questions, I have no idea where to start. I would appreciate any advice. thanks!
Dora CGC

Wag your tail- and the world- wags back
Barked: Mon Oct 1, '12 5:34pm PST 
Welcome Toby, I cannot believe it. I wrote a nice long response and then lost it. Unfortunatly I am too wiped out to do it again. I will see if others chime in. I will check back in the morning and mayybe I can help fill in some spots.
~Missy~SD~CG- N

~Passed my CGN- test June 17th- 2012~
Barked: Mon Oct 1, '12 6:32pm PST 
I as well suffer from a MI and I am owner training my SD.

If you check out the Psychiatric Service Dog Society web site they have alot of the answers to the questions you maybe wondering, thats where I started.


Good luck
Tina and Missy


The Boy Wonder
Barked: Mon Oct 1, '12 7:39pm PST 
Hello Toby and first off welcome to the forums.

Now to address your questions, yes it is the legal right of a disabled person in the US to train their own service dog, however that is a very long journey and generally takes close to 2 years which is often less than the actual wait time on a service organization. The cost is not actually any less when you break it down and there is a high chance of washout. These are things you will want to know on the onset.

Second while you can get a rescue dog your chances of having a dog successful for service work will go down unless you have some one that is Extremely familiar with evaluating dogs with you. There's still a chance of failure with this but it's less if the person evaluating has done so for service dogs before.

Third concerning public access. It looks like you are in Kansas and it looks like no you wouldn't have public access rights with a service dog in training (which is covered at a state rather than federal level with in training dogs)

The actual part of the law reads as follows :

39-1109. Use of assistance dog while training.
"Any professional trainer, from a recognized training center, of an assistance dog, while engaged in the training of such dog, shall have the right to be accompanied by such dog in or upon any of the places listed in K.S.A. 39-1101, and amendments thereto, without being required to pay an extra charge for such dog. Such trainer shall be liable for any damage done to the premises of facilities by such dog."


Now where to start, the first step I recommend is to sit down with your psychiatrist and create a realistic list of your symptoms and triggers, you want to list everything you can think of because it will become useful later.

Second find a trainer that is familiar with service dogs and the training of them. You will need this person several times in the process

Using the list of symptoms and triggers you need to make up a unique list of tasks that you feel will help "You" with your disability. IAADP has a good starting point for this but remember that just because the there is a list of tasks for one thing or another doesn't mean it will help You.

I recommend you read over IAADP's minimum training standards for public access Here. As well as visit the ADI's website for standards of assistance dog partners. I no longer recommend Psychdog.org as strongly due to some issues that I won't drag around on the board, but they do have some information on choosing a dog and on the standards that a service dog should meet that are worth reading.

At this point you need to look at your list of tasks and create a list of requirements for your service dog based on that task list. Things like if you are planning on mobility work you need a dog large enough to do that work, or if you need a dog to retrieve or pull things for you to look for a breed that has a desire for that type of work. Then make a list of traits that you would like, and a list of traits that you absolutely can't live with as a dog. This is what you're going to use to start narrowing down a breed or breed mix.

Then you will need to find a breeder either for a puppy or older adult dog, or a rescue all preferably with the help of the trainer you found earlier. ... that's a basic idea to get you started, if you need more help or have questions feel free to post or even message me if you'd like.

Barked: Wed Oct 3, '12 9:36am PST 
Thank you for all of your advice. it is very much appreciated. I am currently going over the tasks list to give to my doctor Friday. I do have a trainer with experience in service dogs. They will help with selecting, as well as the training. Especially in public places where a trainer is required. My doctor was not much of a believer for service dogs for psychiatric reasons, but after reading up on it has decided differently.
I have looked into organizations that place dogs, however all the ones I have found train and place only labs or retrievers. I need to have a dog that doesn't have as much fur. I have met several people in a group I attend and they all have different breeds and mixes. Some of the breeds that were unexpected to me were: pitbulls, boxers and american bulldog.

The Boy Wonder
Barked: Wed Oct 3, '12 1:23pm PST 
Just a heads up, if you have a breed like a pitbull you are going to have 900% more access challenges than with a recognized breed. This wouldn't be a huge deal except if you are looking to train a dog for a PSD having to fight with not only doorkeepers but the public can be very triggering as well as simply exhausting. I'm not bad mouthing these breeds, they can and often do make good service dogs for the right people... but the key there is the right people. If you have allergies and need a dog that doesn't trigger those you might consider standard poodles (they don't have to be kept in silly hair cuts but you might find you enjoy the haircuts over time) or a different type of smooth coated breed.

There are a lot of people using unusual breeds for service dogs... but each person's needs is different and just because a breed works for them doesn't mean that it would work for everyone. A good example would be that I have a border collie as a service dog, he's not even my first border collie but is not a breed I would Ever in a million years recommend to someone I didn't know as a service dog. I don't even recommend them as pets to be honest. There is a good reason that long established schools and programs use mostly labs and goldens... and also a good reason that many have added poodles and mixes of the three breeds to their program. On the subject of the mixes stay away from the doodles.. because it's a shot in the dark what kind of coat they will get, not to mention temperament and health. Programs use these breeds because they have the right temperament and train-ability to make good service dogs, they have the right nerves and the ability to handle the situations a service dog has to handle. This is not the case with all breeds.. and with a lot of breeds it takes a dog with a very atypical or non standard temperament to make a service dog. It's like trying to find a needle in a hay stack.

You said you have a trainer, if the trainer has experience with service dogs go over your lifestyle and requirements for a dog and have them help you choose something that will work for your lifestyle. If it's allergies a smooth coated dog won't necessarily help any as most times it's the dander people are allergic to, if it's the shedding.. well there are other smooth coated options or even coated options that don't shed to consider.
Abrams Tank- SD

I'm trying to- fill some BIG- paws
Barked: Wed Oct 3, '12 10:24pm PST 
I wouldnt exactly recommend a Doberman as a Service dog although my hubby's last SD was a full sized doberman and he was wonderful. Sadly we lost him a month ago to the vet thinks a heart attack. He was only 7. Now however we are working with a young Labrador German Shepherd Dog mix pup who is almost 9 months old and is doing really well. He will be more than just a PSD as my hubby has other issues health wise that Tank will be working on helping out with. He is a smart young dog who loves working and enjoys training. He is his daddys right paw boy.