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I need a service dog, I am considered disabled and my other treatments aren't working. I've been researching PSDs for years, and I'm a bit baffled by the responses I keep getting. While I've had loads of experience having dogs, my family has never focused on traditional training. Our dogs were well versed in the house rules and acceptable in public, but by no means service dog material. Many, many times I've been discouraged by people online saying I shouldn't owner train and rather get a program trained dog (not a problem), but then I get told from other people that program trained dogs don't meet the mark. I'm lost, it can't be both ways can it? I can't be discouraged from owner AND programed trained dogs! Could I get some advice on owner training or some programs recommended? It'd be a great help.
 

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Zoe, Phoenix, Alice - ACDx
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You CAN owner train! I would just recommend finding a positive reinforcement trainer who is familiar with training service dogs who can help you figure out the tasks you need the dog to perform and help you train them.
 

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We have another member here, Megs87, who is also training her own service dog (PSD too, I believe) and is located in CA as well.

Hopefully she'll chime in here! She has a great repertoire of information and resources that could be very helpful for you.

I'll let her know about this thread :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys! I'll look more in-depth at owner training and possible resources. That friend of yours sounds like she'd be very helpful!
 

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I need a service dog, I am considered disabled and my other treatments aren't working. I've been researching PSDs for years, and I'm a bit baffled by the responses I keep getting. While I've had loads of experience having dogs, my family has never focused on traditional training. Our dogs were well versed in the house rules and acceptable in public, but by no means service dog material. Many, many times I've been discouraged by people online saying I shouldn't owner train and rather get a program trained dog (not a problem), but then I get told from other people that program trained dogs don't meet the mark. I'm lost, it can't be both ways can it? I can't be discouraged from owner AND programed trained dogs! Could I get some advice on owner training or some programs recommended? It'd be a great help.
Welcome to the forum... I'm in the progress of training my own dog, a mini poodle, currently 9 months old as my PSD... Training a PSD is different from training any other SD.... The dog needs to know YOU! Which is why I have been encouraged to owner train...

Unfortunately I can't do much with my dog at the moment, as I have recently had surgery on my shoulder, but again, due to the shoulder, I have a lot of people coming around, so we do a lot of training around them, and he has now learned to pee on command on leash...

You know how you feel, and you should be the best person to train your dog... You may need a professional trainer as a backup...
 

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I need a service dog, I am considered disabled and my other treatments aren't working. I've been researching PSDs for years, and I'm a bit baffled by the responses I keep getting. While I've had loads of experience having dogs, my family has never focused on traditional training. Our dogs were well versed in the house rules and acceptable in public, but by no means service dog material. Many, many times I've been discouraged by people online saying I shouldn't owner train and rather get a program trained dog (not a problem), but then I get told from other people that program trained dogs don't meet the mark. I'm lost, it can't be both ways can it? I can't be discouraged from owner AND programed trained dogs! Could I get some advice on owner training or some programs recommended? It'd be a great help.
When it comes to the need of a PSD, it can be a little harder to find a program that will train a dog for purely psychiatric reasons, but they are out there! Owner-training also takes an immense amount of work and dog knowledge, along with a base of knowledge in training. It's not just training the dog to be a well-behaved dog in public, it's training the dog actual complex tasks to mitigate your disability. I am cross-training my PSD-in-training in mobility/guidework. Although I just call him a service dog, or service dog in-training.

Also, remember that acquiring a SD shouldn't be the only treatment you're receiving. A SD is meant to coincide with therapy and treatment, not necessarily replace it. You (as I do) should also have a treatment plan, which happens to include a SD, but you also should work on other strategies to mitigate your disability. It's best to speak with your therapist about all of this, as far as your need for a SD, what a service dog could do to help your disability, (i.e. what can you not do yourself because of your disability), and what other things are implemented into your treatment plan along with your SD.

Instead of writing a novel lol, I'll give ya some informative links :):


How do I find a service dog program or trainer? | Service Dog Central

(click on "training" here):
Frequently Asked Questions | Service Dog Central

I don't know if you'll be able to see this thread or this section of this particular forum unless you're a member (You should join :)), but here's some threads regarding owner-trained versus program trained dogs, and it's just one of many if you do a forum search.

http://servicedogcentral.org/forum/index.php/topic,25971.0.html

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EDIT: Looks like you have to be a member to view some of the links. I'd suggest joining. Also just wanted to mention that if you do choose to owner-train, and you do not have extensive dog training experience, I would HIGHLY suggest hiring a trainer that is well-versed in service dog training, and task training. I have tons of experience, and I'm still paying for a training class as well as being mentored by a trainer.
 

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Megs, what about choosing a dog?

I know in programs, they are very selective about their dogs and the temperaments/personalities they have and some dogs that start with puppy raisers don't make the cut. Obviously you need a dog that is going to be very sound, not very reactive or excitable, not insecure or fearful. Would a mentor/trainer help in choosing a puppy or can you acquire a puppy from a program and then train it yourself?
 

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If you go through a program, they choose the dog for you. It's a long process in which the program, if it's a reputable one, picks the absolute most compatible dog for each person, based on LOTS of different criteria.

You can't acquire one through a program and then train it yourself, but when they do pair you with your partner (dog), they work with you for weeks to months to teach you the dog's cues and tasks and other behaviors, and of course how to properly care for and work with the dog. And in most cases you go back to a workshop once or twice a year, and always have the ability to call and chat with your dog's particular trainer.

If you go the owner-trainer route, it's almost always best to have a professional SD trainer pick the candidate/dog for you. An experienced/knowledgeable trainer with SD experience will know what the right candidate looks like when they see one. (NOT based on their actual looks, you get what I mean lol) And they then can begin working with that dog and you, to start building a foundation of training, as well as task training.

Either way, (program or owner-training) there is also always the large possibility of having to wash your dog out, meaning either the dog goes to a more suited human candidate, or the dog becomes a pet. There are many, many reasons that a dog can be washed out, and if I had to, and it came down to it, I'd have no problems washing Dublin out and of course keeping him as my pet.
 
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