|Barked: Sat Dec 31, '11 5:34pm PST |
|Some things to think about.
It takes about two years for a dog to become a fully trained SD, whether it is owner trained or a program dog. At this point your son will be 6. Have you spoken with whichever professionals you work with as to whether or not this behavior is likely to be with him in 2 years?
Assuming it is, and your dog doesn't wash out in training, what do you want your dog to do when he finds your child?
Does your son close door/gates after himself? If he does, the dog will not be able to follow him, unless he trails your son all the time, in which case how will you know where your son and dog have gone?
How will you maintain the dog's training? A guide dog, for example, guides every day. Other SDs turn on light switches and pick things up every day, many many times a day. How often does your son run off?
Do you have experience in training dogs, especially search and rescue dogs? If you don't, definitely get in touch with a trainer. Keep in mind that all hounds love to sniff, and are good at it. Many are not cut out to be SAR dogs, or SDs. Are you willing to stop if it becomes apparent that becoming an SD is not in the best interests of your dog?
It may be cheaper and faster to go with a program dog.
I don't know what the legalities are of having a search dog as an SD in terms of public access. It is the disabled handler who has the access rights, not the SD. Since you will be the handler, you will need to check with people familiar with the ADA to see if it is even legal for you to bring a search dog into public non pet dog friendly places.
I can't imagine what it is like to parent a child who runs away all the time. I hope you have a good support network, and that they can help you figure out if a SD is appropriate, and legal, for your son, and if it is not, I hope they can help you figure out other ways of keeping him safe!
Edited by author Sat Dec 31, '11 5:39pm PST
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