Full steam- ahead.
|Barked: Sat Oct 19, '13 1:07am PST |
|My apologies for the length.
I agree with Happy and Sun. I was able to owner train Brady because I had the time out of work, I had raised him as a puppy, and I knew how to train a dog in all things pre-SDiT. I’m a member of the local Obedience Club in my area, which means socializing, training, and manners are already taught to all my dogs (and I don’t compete). As Sun said, that is not normal for most pet owners, to have the time or ability to train their dogs even how to walk on a leash without pulling or gagging themselves, forget SDiTs/ SDs. Happy and Sun both mentioned good points, and to show you what we all mean here is a recent story that I just had but not a week ago.
A student of my basic class came in with her year old Newfie, such a beauty and a soft spot for me. I could tell right away that she was struggling with this dog; he wasn’t healing well and wasn’t listening to her but a third the time. When I asked her about her dog, she said he was in training to be an SD for her, for her fibro and narcolepsy. She had never owned the breed, knew little other than their ‘sweet and easy going temperament’ and size to help her. Well those are the average Newf traits, but not all are the same. She mentioned her late husband had an SD, she wanted one to help with her stability and to alert her in daily activities. If she ever reads this, I’m sorry, but there were flags everywhere to me, not just as a trainer, but as an SD handler.
First she had never OT an SD before, never trained a giant male dog before, full of hormones and strength, and finally that he was a rescue from a less than ideal beginning. Even though she got him at three months, she didn’t enroll him in puppy class or even beginner obedience then, but waited until he was already a year to train in the basics with us. She admitted she had been so sick and tired that she hadn’t had the time or effort to really get into his training in those crucial early months. She said he already goes everywhere with her yet he couldn’t even focus on her at all, his attention at a heel was always on the ground or the air, as if there was a female in heat nearby. Not even a tasty morsel could get this boys attention for more than a minute and this is normal for him outside of class. I am truly worried for her, sent her talk to a Newfie savvy friend to see if it is hormones or if this boy is too independent minded to serve her.
Even if he can help her with some of her problems, what if he never has the manners or focus for PA work? What if he becomes too much for her to handle with her fragile state? I never even mentioned the possibility of him not working out or getting his hips/elbows clearanced for mobility work. I hope things work out for her, as Sun said, it’s hard and heartbreaking to washout a pup that just couldn’t cut it. Sadly, most OTs won’t wash out a dog but will continue to use the dog, faults and all, even if presenting a bad image for us all.
Not everyone can or should train their own dog, same as every dog can’t be a SD. I recommend not just getting any dog or any trainer. The dog must also be reliable, sure some have luck with rescues or really young puppies but that is not the norm and is risky for washing out. You might need a trainer that knows more than AKC rally to train an SDiT or SD candidate, especially to help train a task or for a specific disability, even PSD work. As for the dog, be very picky. Even breeder bred dogs (like many programs use) have a high enough wash out with all the careful rearing, raising, and training so just imagine what a recycled dog can have for baggage. One unknown, one opps, and the dog can be washed out in a day. IMO, lots of SD organizations, from what I have seen, that use rescues do so to be both altruistic and as a way to easily acquire cheaper dogs. No matter where a dog is acquired from, the wash out is high enough, best to stack the odds in your favor and not against, and try to be patient. Brady beat four others that failed their candidacy to be my SD, because he had the right stuff, and the others did not. I don’t look forward to finding his replacement someday; there are many here who will attest to that with their own SDs.
Cost is still a factor; you must have the money to spend, no matter how much of a tax break you get in the end. Remember that the amount spent on medical services/devices (SDs) has to be enough to count on taxes verses your income or it doesn’t count at all.
There is a lot that goes into SDs, selection, knowing your disability, knowing what the dog can do to mitigate it and is the stress of the dog worth the benefit. There are years of early training and on-going training for life, battles and harassments, family and friend drama, work drama (ask Harley’s mom), and using them as a tool for you and not just about having a dog with you 24/7. It’s a long road, I wish only the best and know that there are others, like on here, that are more than willing to help.
I would take Happy’s advice on helping you with finding a PSDs, I would also talk to Olivander’s mom and Iris’s mom. Take care and good luck!
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