That's mine.- That too. It's- all mine.
|Barked: Sun Dec 22, '13 11:05am PST |
|Hi everyone! I have some questions regarding getting started on the road to a service dog.
I've struggled with mental illness for most of my life. I have depression, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, and ADD, all diagnosed over the last ten years. But recently I've started having panic attacks, too- and the kind of panic attacks that feel like a freakin' heart attack. They're so painful that I've ended up in the ER before, and have been prescribed heavy painkillers to take when they happen, which unfortunately take 20 minutes to start working.
With this new development especially, I've been mulling the idea of how much a service dog could improve my life. (Yes, I'm also medicated and under a doctor's care, which has helped significantly but not entirely.) I've done a lot of looking around, and discovered that a psychiatric service dog could do many tasks that would enable me to make it through each day better, and sometimes get through days when I would otherwise lock myself in at home. Such as when my depression seems to peak for a few days, and on those days I easily sleep through all my alarms in that depressive funk, and a service dog could make sure that I wake up with my alarms. It would also be amazingly helpful if, when I have one of my debilitating panic attacks, the dog could retrieve my medication and stay with me to keep me calm and level-headed until it actually kicks in and starts to help. I've read that some dogs can even sense a panic attack coming, and oh my god, that would be so amazing you have no idea- being able to take the meds before the pain kicks in would be a DREAM.
I have incredible trouble going to some doctors, like dentists- I would love to be able to go to a dentist and get a cleaning without being drugged up for it due to anxiety. I would love to not miss an average of one work day per week- if I didn't work for a family company, I would have been fired a long time ago for how much I miss due to my mental illnesses.
There are other tasks too that would help so much, but I just wanted to show that I'm not one of those 'get a dog certified so I can take it everywhere with me teehee' kinds of people. I know from my research that it's a huge problem, and the last thing I want to do is be part of the problem. If I do this, I want to do it right.
On to my question: I really want to train the dog myself. I want the dog to be fully integrated with my lifestyle, my family, and my other pets growing up. I also feel like with a psychiatric service dog, it's incredibly important that the dog be completely in tune with me, familiar with my various quirks and symptoms. I have a breed in mind, and while not traditionally seen as a service dog, it's a smart, medium sized breed that I've always loved- a Shiba Inu. I know it's not your usual service dog, but I know they are smart, quiet, and become devoted and loyal to their owner. I think with proper socialization and training, it would be a good fit.
My question is, how do I find a trainer who is willing to work with me on this? When I search for service dog trainers, I find the companies that train them for you, and what I'm looking for ideally is an individual trainer who has experience training service dogs, who would be willing to do regular sessions with me and the dog in training once we get the basic obedience and socialization down. Is there any kind of listing of trainers that are able to train service dogs, but not include the companies that train the dog for you? (I'm in central Indiana, btw.)
I know this is going to be a long road. I'm in talks with a breeder of smart, amazing, healthy Shibas who will be having her yearly litter around the middle of next year, so I have time to really consider this and plan things out carefully.
Any advice would be greatly helpful. I'm going in on Thursday for a regular appointment with my doctor, and I plan to bring it up there, too, and see what she thinks.
Ugh, I'm really nervous posting all this on a forum. I normally don't go around talking about my issues with people.
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