Postings by Mira

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Service & Therapy Dogs > Hi, SDIT new to Dogster

Mira

the miracle dog
 
 
Barked: Thu Oct 2, '08 7:41pm PST 
Thanks so much, Josephine, for your incredibly helpful posts.

I want to print out this whole thread and keep it for reference. Everyone's comments were helpful.
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» There has since been 5 posts. Last posting by Sati, Oct 18 12:53 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > ADA Amendment Act signed!
Mira

the miracle dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 28, '08 11:47am PST 
Yes, right now I'm looking for a doctor who will do something besides tell me that of course I feel bad, duh, because I have this condition, and there's nothing they can do to treat me.

I do know that I am a QPWD under my state law, and I'm pretty sure that now under the ADA I am, but like you said I need to check with a knowledgeable doctor to find out for sure.
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» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by Mira, Sep 28 11:47 am


Service & Therapy Dogs > Hi, SDIT new to Dogster

Mira

the miracle dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 28, '08 9:28am PST 
Thank you all. Yes, we are working on socialization in dog-friendly places right now, and obedience at home. If we cannot get her to the point where she is 100% reliable at public access, she will just be our family pet and at-home service dog.

Mira had a few days where she growled at almost everyone she saw, but now she is fine over 90% of the time unless the person is coming suddenly through a door into a room we're in, or toward our car when we're in it.

We are looking into getting some help from a professional trainer. Having a temperament evaluation done is a good idea--I've put her through some of the tests on my own but it would be good to have formal testing done.

I did have a trainer/behaviorist work with us once, and he has given a lot of advice over the phone and e-mail. He said that Mira was "all bark" and thinks we should be able to get her over this. I want to find someone closer to me who is more qualified doing SDIT work, though.

Some of her vocalizing about strangers seems to be fear aggression, and some (especially the barking at the door) seems to be primarily a job she thinks she's supposed to do. (I.E. she's getting to the point now when she'll go running toward the door, tail wagging with a toy in her mouth, then suddenly remember she was "supposed" to bark and growl at the door and give a halfhearthed growl and then be fine).

We have been having her do a sit-stay and then get petted/praised/treated when she is sitting quietly and calmly while people come in.

Yesterday was the first time we've been able to carry on a conversation with someone just outside the car window without her barking at them. I have been working with her on praising/treating her when she is quiet with someone at a distance from the car, and then as she remains quiet and calm when they come closer. I need to find a really busy parking lot to go park in and practice some more.

We've been having lots and lots of strangers give her treats and pet her once she's calm. That has been helping her a lot. Also I've been taking her places and just watching people from a distance with her, praising and rewarding her when she is calm seeing them from a distance, and then as they come closer and she remains calm. She is making really good progress with that.

We still need to find ways to work a lot more in a situation where we are in a room somewhere other than home and a stranger comes in. She has a hard time with this at the vet, waiting in the exam room and then having a veterinarian or a technician suddenly come through a different door than the one we entered. She does relax and is fine as soon as she can smell the person, especially if they use nonthreatening body language and pet her and/or give her a treat.

She's at the point now when she is OK with almost everyone, except if someone startles her or comes very suddenly and (she perceives) threateningly toward her, or (as far as I can tell) men of a particular build and appearance that I'm guessing remind her of the abusive ex-husband of her former owner. She communicates fear in those cases and will growl and sometimes tuck her tail and try to hide behind me. I take her to a little distance from the person and have her sit-stay until she calms down and then have her meet the person, and that seems to work pretty well.

I try to always have treats in my pockets so that every time we meet a stranger they can give her one.
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» There has since been 8 posts. Last posting by Sati, Oct 18 12:53 pm


Puppy Place > what breeds have you been mistaken for?

Mira

the miracle dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 28, '08 1:33am PST 
Well, I do look an awful lot like a Kooikerhondje, but I'm too big to be one.

My previous owner said that my mom was a collie (who looked just like me?) and that my dad was a "big black St. Bernard." I don't really look like I have newfoundland or a similar breed in me, though.

So who knows what I am, really?
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» There has since been 132 posts. Last posting by Lola Penelope, Mar 30 9:01 pm


Kooikerhondje > Do you think my "mutt" looks like a Kooiker?

Mira

the miracle dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 28, '08 1:25am PST 
I was told by the previous owner that my dog was half collie (and that the mother looked very much like she does) and half "big black St. Bernard").

She looks very similar to a Kooikerhondje, but she is too big to really be one I think. She is about 23" at the shoulder and a little over 50 lbs--just slightly taller than her friend who is an Australian Shepherd.

The descriptions of Kooiker temperament and characteristics that I have read fit her very well, though (except that she doesn't like water), so I wonder if perhaps she is at least part Kooiker?
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» There has since been 3 posts. Last posting by , Dec 20 4:30 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > Service Dogs for Fibromyalgia
Mira

the miracle dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 28, '08 1:17am PST 
I have FMS, CFIDS, hypermobility, migraines and a few other issues. My dog is already tremendously helpful to me. She can pick up things I drop and hand them to me, carry a pack so I don't have the weight of a purse on my shoulders or waist, fetch things I ask her to get, carry messages or other things to my husband to save me trips up and down the stairs, and is learning to do things like turn lights on/off, pick up things and put them away, and even strip the dirty bedding off the beds and take them to the laundry room.

Best of all, she alerts me when I am overdoing it and need to rest or when I am about to have a crash. That is so incredibly helpful. I hope that eventually she will also be able to use a mobility harness to assist me in balancing, and help me find my car, home or a safe place to rest when the fibrofog hits.

There is a whole Yahoo! group just for people with FMS, CFIDS and/or arthritis who use service dogs. You should check it out.
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» There has since been 7 posts. Last posting by Lily, Sep 5 12:49 pm


Service & Therapy Dogs > Hi, SDIT new to Dogster

Mira

the miracle dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 28, '08 12:42am PST 
Hi. I'm Mira--short for Miracle. I'm a 2-year-old service dog in training. I've only been with my new family for a month, but I already know how to alert when my guardian is about to have a bad spell or "crash" with her health conditions. She has fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypermobility, migraines and several other health issues that make life difficult for her.

I can also fetch things and bring them to her (I know quite a few items by name), pick things up off the floor and hand them to her, get someone when she needs them, or deliver things I'm asked to take to someone else.

I carry a pack, which helps my guardian with her back and shoulder pain because then she doesn't have to carry a purse. And I am learning how to help do a lot of chores around the house. Hopefully I will eventually also be able to wear a mobility harness to help steady her when she gets dizzy or disoriented.

I need to brush up a little bit on my obedience skills to make sure I'm bulletproof on those, and I am learning some new tasks.

But the biggest thing I need to work on in training is being comfortable around strangers, especially if they startle me or come through a doorway or near my house or car. You see, my previous owner was a little bit scared of people and encouraged me to act like a guard dog, barking and growling to keep anyone from coming near her or her house and car.

I am improving so much already, but my guardian would love to hear any tips you have on helping me learn not to bark and growl even when I think someone seems threatening, and not to be scared of new people--especially men, because I lived with an abusive man before. I bark and growl a ton less than I did a month ago, but I still have to work more on this.

Also, I tend to get a little bit noisy and persistent with my alerts sometimes. I bark loudly sometimes, and I do that collie "talking" think that sounds like a growl but really isn't. My guardian is afraid I will scare someone who doesn't realize that I'm really not growling when I alert her.

So I would like to learn how to alert more quietly, and then to stop alerting when my owner finds a place to sit or lie down even if it isn't her own bed or car. Right now I keep escalating until she gets to her very own bed or car because that's where I think she is safe when she's having a crash or a migraine. She is trying to convince me that it's OK for her to rest somewhere else sometimes, but I'm not so sure about that.

Mira
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» There has since been 12 posts. Last posting by Sati, Oct 18 12:53 pm


Service & Therapy Dogs > ADA Amendment Act signed!

Mira

the miracle dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 28, '08 12:29am PST 
Yes! Hooray!

Now I should qualify under the ADA for protection to have access for my service dog once she is fully trained. My disability fluctuates--when I'm having a bad spell I'm pretty severely disabled and limited in many normal life activities. During a good spell, I'm still somewhat limited but not nearly as severely.
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» There has since been 2 posts. Last posting by Mira, Sep 28 11:47 am

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