new to SD's - lots of questions (college, training, invisible disibilities)

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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Need info on service dogs

Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 1:16am PST 
Hi, I am new to this website and joined to find more information on SD's. I have been interested in havingone for many years and am seriously considering getting a puppy to train this spring.

I am 19 years old and I want a SD primarily for my social anxiety / panic attacks in public but also for my mood disorder which only really affects me at home. Is it difficult having a SD when you have anxiety, like when people stare or ask questions? I believe that if everyone stared at me my anxiety would be worse - has anyone else dealt with this?

Secondly, I am planning to attend college Sept '13 - is it reasonable for me at all to hope that I could aquire and partially train a SD to be at the level it needs to attend classes with me daily? I am very concerned about this because I do not feel able to attend college (a new place filled with crowds of people i dont know = panic!) all by myself. Buying a trained dog really isn't an option due to the cost - but more so the wait time. I do have time to put extensive training into a puppy, but is 6months sufficient time to expect they can be compleate or nearing the requirements for the public access test?

Thanks in advance for any and all help! I really do apreciate it and I hope I can find the answers Im looking for =)
- Mea
Ginger DSA- ThD TT CGC - &hearts

My Angel
Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 2:38pm PST 
Are you talking about getting a puppy? I don't think they would be ready for being a full time service dog that quickly. Have you thought about getting an already trained dog from a program?
Need info on service dogs

Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 2:59pm PST 
Yes I would like to get a puppy, I have never had one before and have always wanted one. Also I have decided on a less common breed - a shiloh shepherd - these are not available through programs, also the cost of program dogs is too much for me, and there is no way I could have one for the start of school as everyone tells me the wait time is 1 - 3 years depending on the program.


Super Service- Schnoodle
Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 3:14pm PST 
If you're looking to start with a pup, let's say you bring home an 8 week old tomorrow. That means that by the time you're going to school the pup will have been in training a bit over 8 months. Enough to call it a decent SDIT, but if you are in a state that doesn't have SDIT clearances, then you could be out of luck regardless. I wouldn't think any dog that is less than a year old and had less than a year of training under its belt could be called a full fledged SD.
Need info on service dogs

Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 3:43pm PST 
I am in Canada so I am able to take an SDiT into public from day 1 as long as it is identified. I am okay if my dog is still in training however it must be understandably well behaved to attend college with me. I am starting to think of postponing going to college.. maybe thats the best solution so that I can have sufficient training time and not be so stressed about the posibility of facing it alone.

Thankyou again for your help =)

The Boy Wonder
Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 4:17pm PST 
Okay I'm going to go at this from the experience of a long time handler. I've handled more than my share of service dogs and trained a number of them. I strongly, and I Mean strongly recommend you leave off a puppy for now. You're setting yourself up for heart ache if you've never raised a pup. There is too many things that can go wrong and with a rare breed, particularly one with as many issues a Shiloh's can have you're going to have an uphill battle.

The First thing you want to do is talk with your doctor and decide with them if you are actually disabled, and decide for yourself if you can put up with the extra attention working a service dog partner brings, because there is a lot of it. I don't know Canada's laws as well so someone else will have to chime in on if where you are recognizes PSD's, not all places do.

Following that you need to make a realistic list of tasks that the dog can do for you. Not things like 'dog makes me feel better' but 'alerts to stimming behavior' and so forth. I Personally recommend a strong list of at least 4-5 good tasks. While law may not require it you'll have a hard time holding up in court with a dog that is only trained to do one task.

Next you need to find a good trainer in your area who is familiar with service dogs and the laws. You will need this person in the coming months. It is nearly impossible to take an untrained dog and a person not familiar with service dog training and have it come out right.

As for puppy, again... look for a young adult, you might even be able to find a dog from a respectible guide school that would place a dog with you that wouldn't work as a guide but Could work as a service dog in other ways. Either way if you'd like help feel free to message me, I can give you a run down on what it is like to really handle a service dog.
Riley SDit- CGC

75lb lap dog
Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 4:48pm PST 
This is just an idea but have you ever thought of puppy raising for an organization? It was a HUGE help to me because I was able to see how I would deal with all the extra attention-and there is a TON. It also gives you a chance to raise a puppy if you haven't before and learn all about training a service/guide dog from experts. Then if you decide you want to train your own service dog, you would be fully prepared to take that on. Just a thoughtsmile

Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 9:30pm PST 
I have a puppy that I'm training as a service dog right now. He's only 4 months old and already it has been a really big challenge. He has not even started public access training yet, and I'm feeling overwhelmed! There are times that I think getting a dog from a program, even with the wait and cost, would have been soooo much easier.
I would suggest finding an adolescent dog if you really want to owner train and are eager to do it right away. If you start with an 8 week old pup in the spring he will definitely not be ready. You don't want to rush him and you have to remember that you really can't do much with a pup at first except socialize and play. My puppy still does not have enough focus to be well behaved in stores or do long down-stays.
If you get an older dog there is a chance that he will already be obedience trained or well on his way, and will be mature enough to handle more things. (For instance, I have to show my pup that a loud truck driving by is no big deal, and that is a training session. A dog that has already heard lots of loud trucks and doesn't mind them won't have to go through that step.)

Just some things to think about. Training your own service dog sounds easier than it is, and absolutely cannot be done quickly or you set yourself up for frustration and failure.
Need info on service dogs

Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 12:20am PST 
Thanks for all the advice guys!

I have already spoken with my psychologist who agrees that I should have a service dog. I have really done my homework in terms of breed and have talked to many shiloh owners and breeders (as well as other breeds) and after everything I've heard I really have my heart set on a shiloh. I am currently looking into finding a trainer in my area - I live in one of the biggest cities in the country and Im shocked how hard it is to find a trainer with experiance. I already have made a task list as well.

I would consider raising a puppy from an organization to get practise - that is a great idea except for I would like my own dog to be able to start college - asap. I understand my timeframe isnt realistic now - I am planning on postponing college until I have a dog thats sufficiently trained and not pressure myself for time.

I appreciate all the advice towards not raising my own puppy because I have never done it before. I have however handraised other animals from a much younger age and I have extensive experiance training horses (I know this is a prey animal and dogs are a predetor) but I am very familiar with what training takes, the time, patience, importance of clear communication ect.

I guess my main concern at this point is the attention. I mean as it is I am unable to leave my house alone without severe anxiety, paranoia, and often panic attacks. I'm having a hard time dealing with the knowledge that everyone who see's me will know theres something wrong with me - but with my disorders I already feel like everyone is staring and talking about me anyway. This is turning out to be the hardest problem for me - can anyone speak about this? What its really like? Do you ever feel like you wish you didnt have a service dog? Its really bothering me alot - I do really feel like a SD could impact my life so hugely in a positive way by calming my anxiety though. Im just very torn up how I feel about that..

Thanks again, everyones advice is really important to me and im taking it all to heart.

Super Star Puppy- Cadet
Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 4:34am PST 
My suggestion is to look for yearlings rather than puppies if you have that sort if time frame. Look for retired show dogs, agility, obedience, such as that. The first year is all about socializing and learning obedience anyways. By the time Sept rolls around, tasks would be easily have been taught and you are golden for a great service dog.
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