|Barked: Tue Jun 25, '13 7:59pm PST |
|Onyx, I don't mean to be discouraging, but even guide dog schools that have been doing entirely their own breeding for literally over 50 years using latest genetic screens and international collaborations with guide dog schools around the world have success rates of less than 50%. So 50 years of breeding dogs specifically to be guide dogs, and less then half of them actually make it.
If the best of the best have a success rate of less than 50%, you need to understand that your dog (which is no doubt from a good line, but is not from a line that has been dedicated to producing service dogs for half a century), being trained by you (no doubt a good trainer, but not a full-time professional service dog trainer with years of apprenticeship under your belt) is going to have a less than 50% chance of making it.
ANYBODY here will tell you that you need to go into this with the knowledge that you will likely have to "wash your dog out," meaning determine that s/he is not suitable for service work. Which is really, really difficult to do when you've worked with him/her for a year and are incredibly attached. Most people who OT (owner train) have to go through several dogs before they train the appropriate service dog, and each dog is usually trained for upwards of a year before being washed out.
Service dog training takes 1.5 to 2 years anyway, so are you prepared to be spending the next 2-5 years of your life solely devoted to training a dog that may or may not eventually be your service dog?
THAT is what we're talking about here. Lots of people don't realize what they're getting into and think they can replicate professional programs on their own -- it takes a really extraordinary situation to be able to do so. The majority of people are not qualified to train their own SDs.
Look at it this way: Training a SD on your own through just reading materials is like saying you can read law books and be prepared to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court. Guide dog schools and several other SD programs (CCI, NEADS, KSDS, etc.) are like going to an Ivy League law school, which should prepare you. Lots of programs out there are like your average law school, which can prepare you if you work hard. Doing it on your own by reading a book and talking to a friend is like having a high school diploma and thinking you can read your way to Supreme Court competence after consulting a friend who is currently studying law.
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