Going to train my own PSD, could definately use some help.

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.

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Iris vom- Zauberberg

Service Werewolf
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 5:59pm PST 
Guest, I understand entirely not wanting to share personal medical information. Please don't feel that you need to in order to be taken seriously! I shared as an example for how a SD can help mitigate a variety of psychiatric symptoms.

To be honest, I think that PSDs are the least respected type of SD. Some people view PSDs as nothing more than ESAs with public access rights. Mental Illness itself still carries a LOT of stigma.

I have come across people and even other SD handlers who believe that people with certain mental illnesses cannot be trusted to care for a dog, much less use one to mitigate their disability.

Please ask your questions and understand that we come from a wide range of experience and perspectives.

The Boy Wonder
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 9:18am PST 
First off Guest welcome to the forums. Training a service dog of any kind is a journey. I personally oppose using the term PSD... you want to train a service dog, that the service dog will be for a mental illness versus a physical one shouldn't matter but often does.

Partially because of exactly what some of the others have said, that many people, doctors included misunderstand the law and don't know the difference between a service dog and an ESA which is nothing more than a pet. The rest of it is that those of us with Psychiatric Disabilities Let ourselves be separated by using the term PSD, which has developed a negative slant in the past 5 years or more due in a large part to people faking or people with real disabilities dragging an unsuited and badly behaved dog in public because they have a 'doctors note'.

My personal rant aside your first step needs to be to decide how your disability affects your life. Spend several days and write down a full list of symptoms and things you need help with. Things you can't do on your own. Do this without looking at anyone else's list, you want this to be very personalized to your needs.

Next step is to try to decide what you think a dog can do to help you with these things. Try not to look at other service dog lists just yet... because again what works for one thing won't work for another. After you Have this whole list put together and if you need any help here are two links to partial task lists that can help you, they are in order of my preference. [Link] [Link]. Every person has different needs which is why I urge you not to just pick and choose off a list of tasks, what works for one person may not work for another.

Now take an objective look at what you have on your list and you need to see if you can fit the list to what kind of dog works best. Keep in mind there is a very Very good reason most guide schools use labs and goldens nearly exclusivily, though they are adding poodles and careful mixes of the three breeds to their list. They are stable dogs that work well for people. There is also a bit of good in working dogs that are Known by the public as service dog... this known quality will help in dealings with the public.

You have a long road ahead... I wish you a lot of luck and good fortune on it. If you need to talk or you have specific questions feel free to use the Email listed on Happy's Dogster page. I don't check it every day but I do check it often enough and will get back to you. This is just the very beginning steps of where you need to go, but before you do this you can't feasibly do anything else.

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 12:19pm PST 
"I have come across people and even other SD handlers who believe that people with certain mental illnesses cannot be trusted to care for a dog, much less use one to mitigate their disability."

Yes, I've seen that first hand and there are legitimate reasons why. A domestic dog can't take care of itself. PSDs are becoming more common fast with no regulation, and there are all these people suddenly owner training one when they have never even owned a dog much less trained even a basic PET dog. That's a HUGE learning curve for any ability level. Let's face it, how many people in real life do you encounter with even a well-trained pet dog they've trained ALL on their own without so much as a single OB class? I've seen two surrenders (shelter) of so called ot'd PSD dogs. Just at that adolescent stage where it's very hard to place a dog somewhere once it's behavior has been effected by poor training/socialization. It's tragic from the standpoint of looking at what's best for the dog. (At least people on this forum seem to keep their washouts, rather than the dumped ones I've seen in real life.) For a first timer, a program is probably much more effective and cheaper over all.

Iris vom- Zauberberg

Service Werewolf
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 6:42pm PST 
The previous response is excellent example of the opinions the public can hold. Most people are not unkind, but you will come across stinkers on occasion. laugh out loud

Member Since
Barked: Fri Feb 22, '13 2:06am PST 
I don't know how I came across this thread, but I figured I'd add some things I've learned about PSD programs.

First off, every PSD program I"ve contacted say that I need to have been in treatment (Seeing a therapist, psychiatrist, and if necessary a neurologist) for AT LEAST 2 years. I was lucky, I was diagnosed right after my Dad was when he attemted suicide. My condition is actually far worse than my fathers - I've been hospitalized multiple times for various reasons. For these reasons, the prgrams I have contacted have accepted me as a potential candidate. But most programs I've run into do require a certain amount of attempted treatment, proof of your condition (Just a doctor's note for most, though I give a full release since half the time I don't even know what's wrong with me, other than I go flat out insane and randomly attack people when I get anxious or psychotic). I am one of those people that without something to get in my way, I'm a danger to the public. I am not allowed out on my own at all for the past while. And I didn't qualify for the programs in my area until like 2 months ago.

That being said, I was going in a downhill spiral like, 2 years ago, and I needed that extra help that dogs can provide with distracting, barriers, etc. so I decided to OT on my doctor's suggestion. I got myself a wonderful Boxer from a rescue, and he has worked wonderfully for me in the past while. However, he's recently developed such severe behavioral problems (by my standards. Pulling on the leash and lunging for treats is not acceptable behaviour in my book.) that I can no longer take him out. Even the trainer I asked for help (I just moved so it's a new trainer) Said that she didn't think he could return to SD status if I didn't like him pulling on the leash. The main problem is he's getting distracted by people more and more as time goes by, which isn't a good thing for either of us. So earlier today I made the very difficult decision to 'wash out' my SD. He will remain with me as a Skilled Companion Animal (He still alerts me to medical issues quite well at home), but it looks like I will be needing to contact a program to go through this time for a SD. So there are definitely some pros and cons to it all, but if you're going to go through with getting a SD, Really look at what you would need it for, and compare to how much it's worth it. I would recommend giving therapy some more time though, because it really can help. You don't want a PSD unless you really need it, becaue the access issues can be pretty major. I've had anxiety attacks so bad after access challenges I actually went into seizures (But I have a seizure disorder too). So like someone else said, you really cannot understand just how difficult access issues, and people petting your dog, and asking about your disability can be until it happens. If you can't handle the rudest people following you through the store screaming that you're not disabled and shouldn't have a dog in the store (Believe me, it happens to some), I would question whether you want an ESA or an SD. Because it can be very hard sometimes, and almost as anxiety inducing as going out by yourself. It's definitely not all help and smiles, there's some days where I find it's actually more difficult for me to have a PSD then if I had gone alone. Whatever you choose to do, I really hope that it helps you feel that you can function better and improve your life.

Anyways, just my experiences and what I've found in my area.
Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Sat Feb 23, '13 11:47am PST 
I guess I have read enough to make a statement on this issue. I have labeled Sadie as a Multi tasked SD. That is cause it is easyer to work with Sadie and since I do have many disabiling illneses. As I have said in many Posts I trained Sadie myself, but it was like she trained me and having a life time with animals I found it easyer to work with her then against her. She pretty much did things I need her to do on her own and I incurraged those things with positive reinforcement. I have had her evaluated by a few real trainers with out really ask a couple of them. Sadie is a very intelegent breed and her sweet face and nature help me with my PTSD. She is tentive to my moods and highs / lows in my moods. I know how you feel Guest I would rather spend my time with animals then people. My friends understand this about me cause I don't have that many. Not having many friends is cause of my disabilities. It is a circle of my life cycle.
Having difficultie exsplaining what those disabilities is a on going task in it self so having a dog that midigates all of my problems is a given. Guess that is the best I can say on this post.
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