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Service & Therapy Dogs > Dog Trainers that Help OT's train service dogs: Lots of Questions
Sookie CGC

anything for a- tennis ball
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 12, '12 9:45am PST 
Thanks everyone for all of the great responses.

On another note, has anyone used a trainer to help train their dog? If so, what things made the experience pleasant for you? Or, if things didn't go as planned or weren't pleasant, why was that?

I'm still trying to determine exactly how I should offer these services, how involved I should be, etc.
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» There has since been 1 post. Last posting by , Sep 12 12:05 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > Dog Trainers that Help OT's train service dogs: Lots of Questions
Sookie CGC

anything for a- tennis ball
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 7, '12 12:46pm PST 
Happy, thank you for all the good advice! I'm working on getting in touch with the lawyer who originally wrote up my contract. I purchased this business from another trainer, and it was her lawyer, but he has a lot of experience with dog-related businesses so I feel that would be the best route to go.

I have been working on developing relationships with breeders. I have extensive contacts within the standard poodle world, that being my personal breed of choice, and there are a few breeders near here that are breeding wonderful dogs. I am in the process of joining my local kennel club (it's quite a process, much more so than I was expecting) in order to connect with breeders of different breeds and branch out from poodles. I've also recently connected with a couple of other trainers in the area who have been introducing me to people. While not new to dogs, I'm relatively new to the area that I now live in. I've had a hard time connecting with other trainers (dog trainers can be so catty!) but by being persistent, open-minded, and positive I've finally made a few friends. I'm also working on a relationship with the vet school at the University here, which is a great contact to have.

So overall, I'm working on a lot of these things. I just want to make sure all of my bases are covered, because I definitely don't want to break the law, get myself or others in trouble, or cause more harm than good.
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» There has since been 3 posts. Last posting by , Sep 12 12:05 pm


Service & Therapy Dogs > Dog Trainers that Help OT's train service dogs: Lots of Questions

Sookie CGC

anything for a- tennis ball
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 7, '12 7:27am PST 
Thanks for the very well thought out responses!

Toto, I do have insurance coverage that covers me in those types of situations. I guess what my question is, is where does my liability end? I'm not sure (and am having a hard time finding the answer) of whether or not I need any extra insurance coverage to work with service dogs.

I have a contract that was drawn up by a lawyer, but it doesn't specifically include anything about service dogs. Otherwise, it extensively includes clauses that protect me from owner negligence and failure to comply with training advice.

I am a member of the APDT, offer their C.L.A.S.S. training program, as well as CGC and Therapy Prep classes. I do therapy work with my dogs, compete in Agility and Rally Obedience with my poodles and do field trials with my Labrador.

I actually require an evaluate for ALL clients prior to signing them up for training, mainly because I've discovered that people are generally really not that good at seeing (or describing) their dog's behavior. I prefer to see it for myself so that I can suggest a training route to take, or refer them out to a behaviorist if it's a really serious issue. I definitely will do in-depth evaluations of any potential service dogs candidates. I have several years of experience screening service dog candidates for the organization that I've worked with, so I'm confident in my ability to do these evaluations. I have had to tell a client that the dog she had would not work (extremely nervous, fearful standard poodle) and am currently helping her find a second poodle that will be a good candidate. I firmly believe that not only is it unfair to the service dog community, but it is extremely unfair to the dog to try and force a dog that isn't suited for it into service work.
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» There has since been 5 posts. Last posting by , Sep 12 12:05 pm


Service & Therapy Dogs > Dog Trainers that Help OT's train service dogs: Lots of Questions

Sookie CGC

anything for a- tennis ball
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 5, '12 11:54am PST 
Thanks Spinny for the tips. I'll check into that website.

The program that I've been with for the past several years (and most programs, to my knowledge) are very against owner training. I've tried speaking with a few people about it and I get shot down pretty quickly and "strongly advised against" doing any service dog training work. The main reason for this, according to the people I've asked, is the liability. But I think that liability is different when you are helping someone train a dog they already have versus you selling (or providing) someone with a dog that you have trained.

This may be a better way to ask this:

Say I'm helping someone teach their service dog to, for example, go and hit an emergency button on cue (say, if a wheelchair bound person falls out of wheelchair). I've shown the owner how to train and shape the response, told the owner to practice the cue regularly to keep it fresh in the dog's mind, and at our last lesson the dog responds on cue, every time, quickly and accurately. A couple years later, person falls, gives dog cue, and dog fails to follow through.

2nd scenario is I'm helping someone develop a management program for a dog-aggressive dog (I don't do people aggression; I refer those out to a behaviorist). I don't ever tell or advertise that I can "fix" dog aggression, only help owners manage it. So we work and train and the dog gets a lot better. I leave our final lesson and the owner has a management program in place that they should stick to and continue to re-enforce and work on regularly. Then one day, the owner is out for a walk and the dog attacks another dog.

If I can do the training described in the second program and be fine, what is the difference between that and the first scenario? In both cases, I'm teaching the owner to train their dog to do something, and the owner is responsible for following up on that training and doing their homework. To me, both of these situations are essentially identical, and if I can do one, I should be able to do the other without any extra liability just because the handler in one scenario is disabled.

The program I volunteer with happens to be a non-profit, but I know that purchasing a fully trained service dog can be extremely expensive. Another reason I think the liability is so different is because this program focuses on GUIDE dogs. I think if you train a guide dog, then give it to a visually impaired person and the dog is supposed to not let the person walk out in front of a moving car, is supposed to take the person around potholes and objects that could injure them, and the dog fails to do those things, resulting in the handler getting seriously injured or killed, that's a different story.
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» There has since been 8 posts. Last posting by , Sep 12 12:05 pm


Service & Therapy Dogs > Dog Trainers that Help OT's train service dogs: Lots of Questions

Sookie CGC

anything for a- tennis ball
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 5:33pm PST 
I'm a dog trainer and own my own training company. I have also spent the last several years volunteering with a service dog training school and running a local group of puppy raisers. I've done loads of research into training methods and how to teach various tasks and feel confident in my ability to teach most basic service dog tasks (dropped item retrieval, opening/closing doors, flipping switches etc. for mobility impaired; shaping alerts for other types of disabilities). I don't have any real experience with teaching complex responses (such as seizure response) or bracing tasks, so I wouldn't offer that until I knew what I was doing.

I'm in GA, where service dogs in training WITH PROGRAMS are given access rights, but not SDIT's being owner trained. So I would make use of the pet-friendly public locations to practice public access work.

So, on to the questions:

1) Is there any specific insurance coverage that a trainer who helps owners train their service dogs should carry?

I'm being told that I should stay "far far away" from service dog training because of the liability. But I think the person who is telling me this (who is very involved with program-training) is thinking more of someone who buys a dog, trains it, and sells it as a fully trained service dog, which is NOT what I'm wanting to do. I'm wanting to help a disabled owner, who happens to have a dog they think will work as their service dog, get their dog to a point where it can perform tasks and behave in public. Alternatively, I could help them screen potential service dog candidates and then help them train the dog. The person advising me against this says that "I would be responsible for that dog's behavior for the working life of the dog, and if the dog ever fails and as a result, the person is injured, I could be sued". Is this true?

2) Is there any special training program or "certification" that someone who offers to help train service dogs should have?

I know that there are no required training "certificates", but if you were looking for a trainer, what would you look for?

3) This is a tricky one. My normal training programs offer either "packages" of private lessons, pay-per-lesson private lessons, or packages of group training classes. I feel like because of the extensive amount of time that it takes to fully prepare a service dog team, none of these options are realistic (and could also become extremely expensive). While I want the work to be worth my time, I also want to provide reasonably priced training options to people who need service dogs. What is a reasonable time frame (I know it will vary, I'm looking for a starting point) and amount someone would spend on this type of training?

The training I'm looking at providing is me giving lessons to the disabled handler teaching them to teach the dog the tasks needed. Alternatively, for severely limited handlers, I can do board and train programs where I put foundation training and start exposures (pet friendly public places) and then they continue the training at home.

Any and all advice welcome.
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» There has since been 10 posts. Last posting by , Sep 12 12:05 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > Service Dogs In Hospitals
Nova CGC

Supernova
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 12:48pm PST 
Thanks everyone. I did the presentation last week and it went really well. I think I helped clear up a lot of questions that the hospital staff had about what THEY should do and how they should respond in situations involving service dogs. I've been asked to come back and present to their security team as well as their ER staff, so they must have found it helpful. Great resources here. Thanks again!
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» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by , Sep 2 12:48 pm


Service & Therapy Dogs > Service Dogs In Hospitals

Nova CGC

Supernova
 
 
Barked: Mon Aug 20, '12 7:44pm PST 
I'm doing a presentation about service dogs in hospitals to a group of hospital staff members. The purpose of the presentation is to inform them of:
-The service dog teams rights
-Their rights
-How to handle situations where a service dog comes in with a handler to the ER

Anything else to do with service dogs in hospitals. Any tips, resources, etc?
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» There has since been 8 posts. Last posting by , Sep 2 12:48 pm


Service & Therapy Dogs > DOT Implements new airline policy regarding service dogs?

Nova CGC

Supernova
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 26, '11 11:47am PST 
Thanks for that link.

I asked about it being guide dog specific, and that is just the language that was used since they were addressing only guide dog handlers and raisers.

Basically, what I was told is that in order to fly for free in the cabin of the plane, it has to be a full SD or GD team and have some form of "identification", be that a vest, ID card, etc. to show that it was a service dog. Service or guide dogs in training would be allowed to ride in the cabin, but have to pay a fee.
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» There has since been 4 posts. Last posting by , Oct 27 9:29 am


Service & Therapy Dogs > DOT Implements new airline policy regarding service dogs?

Nova CGC

Supernova
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 26, '11 9:42am PST 
I got this in my email today:

The US Dept of Transportation has just accepted a new policy as of 10-5-11 that only certified guide dogs with their blind handler are allowed to fly for free. The fees range from $80-125 one way.

They will apparently still let SDIT's fly in cabin, but you have to pay a "pet" flying fee. I'm working on getting more information about it, but has anyone else heard anything about this?

TO CLARIFY:
This was sent to a group of puppy raisers/guide dog users, so it only says "guide dogs and their blind handlers". It could very well mean "all service dog users" and it only says guide dogs since that is the specific group this was going out to.

I have inquired as to exactly what form of "certification" they are asking for and will update if I get more information.
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» There has since been 6 posts. Last posting by , Oct 27 9:29 am

Service & Therapy Dogs > About to start public access, worries about Jazzie having stress poops
Nova CGC

Supernova
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 7, '11 2:02pm PST 
I raise pups for a SD school and stress pooping is something that we wash puppies out of training for. If she has had no socialization outside of the home for two years, I doubt she will be able to overcome that. I agree that you should think long and hard about whether or not she is cut out for service work. Consider HER needs and not just your own. It would be unfair to make her work in an environment that makes her so uncomfortable that she can't control her bowels.

If you decide to try and find another candidate, I would highly recommend you find someone that can help you by taking your new SD candidate out for you often. I don't know where you live or what laws your state has, but if you could find a "puppy raiser" type person that would be able to help you socialize the dog that would probably be best, assuming you are unable to do it yourself because of the agoraphobia.
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» There has since been 9 posts. Last posting by , Aug 8 4:08 pm

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