Greenbeen... Assistance Dogs....and any others too

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by hugs4evry1, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    I saw you mentioned your assistance dog on another thread and wanted to further the discussion with you if you don't mind.

    What kind of special training did your dog need to help to alert you to your seizures? How old was he/she before becoming a help to you? Is your dog an official "service dog" and if so, what kind of special training did you need?

    We've selected a Golden Retriever breeder in Austria (and she's agreed) for a puppy for my daughter to help her as a "psychiatric service dog". But the puppy won't be born/ready until December.

    I thought I might advertise in the base paper for a K-9 handler to help us train the puppy next spring and we should be able to get the pup in obedience training classes too.

    Can you tell me more about how your dog helps you?

    Thanks for sharing,

    Nancy B.
  2. sues1

    sues1 New Member

  3. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    I agree, she really could use the help...things are getting pretty bad around here.

    Anyway...just wanted to bump it since I'm in a different time zone than most of you.


    Nancy B.
  4. pawprints

    pawprints New Member

    I don't have any training in dogs, but I can tell you Goldens are so loving and smart. We had 2, now 1. Both are quick to learn. When my father in law was very sick, my first Golden was right there for him. I have taken both to nursing homes.

    So like I said, you will do great with a Golden and training. Please post a picture in December. It will make my day.

    Good luck
  5. Greenbean7

    Greenbean7 New Member

    Sorry I didn't reply sooner, I'm only on from 8 to 5. Thank goodness for my work computer!

    I began Rey in obedience training the day I brought him home. Most classes won't let you start until the pup is 4 months old because they need to be completely vacinated before they are around the other dogs. I have trained several dogs for show, hunting, agility, and rally obedience, so I started Rey on basic stuff immediately.

    If you don't have experience I recommend a puppy parenting class that you take before you get your pup. You will be amazed what you can learn about puppy raising.

    Rey was not "trained" to alert on my seizures. He just does. I don't know how they are trained to alert, hope someone else can tell you about that.

    First thing that should be done with the dog before you call him an assistance dog is the Canine Good Citizen test. It tests on basic obedience and is a good place to start. I don't know if it changes from state to state but here the dogs are not allowed to take the test until they are 6 months old, I think it is an AKC thing because the CGC is administered by the AKC (we have several certified testers in our area).

    I was lucky that I could take Rey to work with me everyday for the first 6 months. Really helped with training in being around others and patience!

    There is no certification process in Washington, I can't tell you about other states. You simply have to call the dog an assistance dog and it cannot be denied entrance into any business. It is a good idea to have some kind of identification on the dog such as a vest saying it is an assistance dog. Everyone in our little town knows us so I don't usually use the vest on Rey.

    In order to avoid abuse of this privilage most trainers recommend that the dog be able to do at least two things you can't do for yourself. For Rey and I that is helping me get up and picking things up for me. He is also my sanity so that would be an additional thing he does for me.

    There are trainers and schools that train assistance dogs. I do not know if schools will take your dog or if you have to take one of theirs. I understand there are long waiting times for school trained dogs, again, not sure, no experience with them.

    We have one trainer here who works with assistance dogs in people's homes. She is very good. Although she didn't train Rey in assistance we did go through all of our obedience classes (she calls them leadership classes) at her establishment. She gave me lots of pointers and training ideas. Mostly repetition, repetition, repetition.

    There are good and great websites out there with probably more information than you can possible get through! I would look at as many as you can and make some decisions as to how you want to go.

    Cesar Milan's "exercise, disipline, affection" principle is very good for all dogs assistance or otherwise.

    Sorry this got so long but I wanted to give you as much info as I could! There are other dog people out here who probably have more experience then me, I'm sure you will get good tips from them also!


    Stop and smell the puppies!
  6. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    Thanks for the help....

    It's funny, yesterday I saw a guy at a crosswalk here with a dog pawing for the light to stop, thought it was cute. It was only on my way back that I realized he was a trainer and teaching 2 dogs to perform this trick. (Wish I had gotten a business card)

    Greenbean, I live in Stuttgart Germany now and for at least a few years so our rules will be different. Also it's wonderful to be able to take your dog just about anywhere over here.

    We'll be able to socialize the pup well as long as we're up and about.

    It's interesting to me that there was no training on the seizure alert....I'm hoping the bond will form so the pup can eventually learn to read my daughter's moods and possibly head off an anxiety attack and more.

    So much information to think about, thanks so much!!


    Nancy B.
  7. Greenbean7

    Greenbean7 New Member

    On the seizure thing:

    It is interesting because I think the dog picks up some kind of vib before the seizure hits.

    I've heard of dogs that would make let their person know by pawing or whining. The person would sit or lay down and the dog would sit or lay on them to keep them from getting hurt.

    When they came out of it the dog was right there for comfort and support.

    I don't know how they train them to alert, but it would be interesting to find out. I think some are just "naturals"!

    Forgot to mention it, but I also recommend crate training. Even my older dog who was never crate trained will go into it during thunder storms. She feels safe there.

    I have other things that I do that I think are really important to training, pack mentality and such, but I didn't want to bore you if you weren't interested in it. Let me know, I'm always glad to share!


    Stop and smell the puppies!
  8. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    I had planned to get the large sized crate and keep it here in the living room level with us.

    Also, the breeder let me know that my daughter will have to carry the pup down the stairs until she's at least 8 months old. We have 6 levels in our house but plan to use only the main one when the pup is young. (Protecting the joints)

    I can baby gate the other stairways off, also easier on potty training.

    The breeder already has 2 of her dogs working as service dogs so I'll be trusting her to pick the pup for us. She knows we want a girl though.

    I know I'll have more questions but I over did yesterday then slept badly last night....sorry.


    Nancy B.
  9. Greenbean7

    Greenbean7 New Member

    You might want to go with the extra large. It will look really big when the pup is small, but will look really small when the pup is big!

    I blocked off the back half of the crate so Rey could only use the front. That way he didn't have room to mess in one half and sleep in the other. He had to learn to hold it!

    I wanted a girl, too, but there was only one in the litter and she was the show quality pup. I did get a chance to take her when they were about 9 months old but my DH didn't think I could handle two teenagers! Good call!

  10. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    I'm considering going with a different breeder who has puppies sooner.

    There's so many reasons why although I am very happy with the other breeder's practices. But, if you look at the European breeder's web sites they all seem to do it right.

    I just think getting a pup before the severe weather of January and getting my daugher something that means so much to her while she's doing a tiny bit better could make a big difference.

    She's not working anymore, she had an improper sexual incident at work (one of her supervisors took advantage of her) and I gave her a choice...either I call the MP'S or she calls and quits. She quit.

    So she's concentrating on her health right now, her psych leaves in October so she has almost daily appts with him and I think it would be wonderful to start with the pup right after he leaves.

    That also gives us so much to do and concentrate on in the next 2 months.

    We used to have more people on the board with assistance dogs, wonder if they're still here?

    And also....I may be calling on you for help with all of my questions too.

    Thanks again,


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