01-26-2015, 01:40 AM
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
Join Date: Jan 2013
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You remember megs89 (I think) right? With Dooley? She was training him to be her psychiatric service dog. She had a trainer that she was working with and was doing it herself. I'll FB her and give her a heads up to your thread in case she has any advice for you.
I think it's possible to train the family dog to do some tasks if he's got a stable temperament and an agreeable personality for the work expected of him. What I would do first is find out from your client what exactly her expectations are for the dog.
If she wants to be able to take this dog out in public to restaurants, libraries, stores etc., then evaluate his temperament for that. He can't be reactive or nervous or too high energy. He has to be mellow and good at ignoring distractions. Some of this is temperament related, some of this comes with training. But just think about the things he would be required to do....Go through stores without becoming too focused on food or stealing anything, go through crowds without having to sniff and greet everybody, lay down at the child's feet for hours at restaurants or in a movie theater. He can't have any bad habits like marking or yapping. He might have to be limited to the home.
Also find out what tasks she would like the dog to be able to do for the children. What does she think will help her children? Sometimes pressure can help relieve anxiety. He can be trained to lean into the child, or press his head or paw/s into the child's lap. Maybe it would help if the dog can seek out and deliver a special comfort item for the child, like a favorite blanket or plushie. For adults, I know some would like for their dog to be able to guide them to an exit if they have a panic or anxiety attack and need to get out but can't think clearly in that state.
If the child has a psychologist or psychiatrist that they see, then mom should probably also discuss with them what tasks the dog can be trained to help mitigate the child's condition.