|Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 9:16pm PST |
|Also, while your therapist may be involved in this, you really need to ask yourself how your issues are actually disabling; just being diagnosed with something doesn't make it disabling. Most therapists don't have a clue as to the difference between a PSD and an Emotional Support Animal (ESA).
You should also keep in mind that a PSD is NOT a cure; it is a tool that is best used in combination with other tools (CBT, medication, etc). Far too many get wrapped up in Lassie Syndrome.
Myth #1 Doing it yourself is cheaper. Since you don't have the experience, you will most likely have to get with a private trainer to assist your owner/training endeavor. Over the two years it takes to train a SD, it will cost several thousand dollars. Even those of us with experience still take our pups to group classes as it is a great place for them to be socialized and get their first introduction to ignoring distractions.
One of my friends added it up (she's a very experienced trainer). Between her time and the use of a Pro, she easily had $7,500 in her dog. A similarly trained dog from LEK would have been $5k.
Myth #2 Books and Websites as a substitute for real assistance. It doesn't work well as it can't give you real world feedback. In the case of training for mobility, it can actually cause irreversible physical harm to your dog. While I'm a fan of Sue Alisby's “Levels” training, there isn't anything in it that would harm a dog unlike someone attempting things in the Team Work series without the technical support of a professional.
Myth #3 (the current fad of those providing PSDs for Vets) Rescue/Shelter dogs do it better/are more appreciative. The object is to stack the deck in your favor. If your prospect is a rehab case you aren't doing yourself any favors. If you know nothing of choosing the right pup for the right job (a la Volhard or other testing) it's best to find someone who does. Guide schools wash out 20-30% of candidates; those that choose their crop from rescues are lucky if they have an 85% wash out rate. Most Owner-trainers have a 95+% rate.
If you live in a state that doesn't allow for OT'ing, you have to get creative at first. The pup goes to nothing but pet friendly locations. You do a lot of work outside of strip malls. When it's behavior is ready, you call ahead and ask permission to bring the dog in for training sessions. Most places will allow it. In the meantime, you practice for restaurants by setting up a table and working on the basic behaviors (going under the table, holding the down/stay, ignoring dropped food. You can also practice maneuvering around other commonly found situations (dog goes under a short table instead of a chair) by a little creative thinking. Bottom line, it can be done, but it just takes more work on your part.
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