Can I raise my own guide dog? - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 08:04 PM
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if you know how to train for a specific arena what's wrong with that?
there's no direspect or lack of appreciation for the pros.

Originally Posted by carmspack View Post
how would you do if you were asked to train your dog for a basic CD - companion dog, CDX , or UD , utitlity dog. Not so good ?
Give the professionals the respect and appreciation that they are due .
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 09:06 PM
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I'm only familiar with two programs because they are local and I actually know people that work for them and/or train dogs for them. No, the dogs are first trained by someone else not by the person whom they will later serve. The reason is that many of these dogs wash out. The dogs are raised and trained basics by an experienced family, generally 12-18 months. Many of these families have raised and trained over a dozen service dogs. Like Carmspack said it is *their* job to help decide which dogs make the cut and which don't. When a dog does not continue, the family who raised it has first dibs at keeping it and is also allowed a say in who gets to adopt it if they decide not to keep it. Since the whole process of obtaining a Service Dog is very expensive, these organizations are only going to put effort into dog and handler teams where the dog has already shown great potential for the work. Luckily there are plenty of experienced families available who are willing to do the first 12+ months of work and help put the best dogs forward through the program. IMO this is really best for everyone involved, including the dogs. If they aren't cut out for the work it's only fair that they be given the chance to stay with their original family or be adopted into an appropriate home.

Most people who truly need a Service Dog in order to maintain daily function do not have the time, energy, and money to waste on getting baby puppies and giving it a try. I know someone who is blind and completely relies on her Service Dog. I've seen him navigate her in and out of our office area several times and she also braces on him if she gets tripped up. Her dog is getting old and she has said a few times now that she is very worried because she will literally be lost and unable to function outside of her home without a working dog. Being blind, she doesn't have the ability to handle her Service Dog in public *and* train a new dog at the same time and she would not be able to train a Service Dog prospect without having an actual SD to help her get around.

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Last edited by Liesje; 09-09-2012 at 09:11 PM.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by carmspack View Post
the OP is talking about GUIDE dog --
I was responding to jourdan who doesn't need a "service" dog but is interested in a "therapy dog".
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 11:28 PM
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In the case of a service dog...unless you really really know what you're doing you will really delay how much time it will take to get your dog to be completely solid in service. Its one of those things that unless you have done it before, or have someone show you the way, it will take a very long time to do so. A service dog by an organization will be trained and ready to go into service anywhere from 12 to 24 months of age. If a novice was training their own dog...I can only predict that it would take twice as long.

The organization also has the resources to stop training a dog when they realize he/she doesn't have it. A person does not, you'll be risking a lot on a puppy and like carmen said, it will be a pet first so you'll have a very difficult time realizing your dog doesn't have it if that comes to be.

You can definitely train your own service dog...but you will never receive any kind of liability insurance from a certified agency. They just can't risk it. If your dog ever does anything dangerous in public and hurts someone it would all be on you. The agency can't take that chance because that dog isn't from their breeding program and isn't trained in their preferred and accepted method.

As for are talking about a therapy dog. Not trying to be rude about any of your anxiety issues but it is something that would be extremely easy to make up by anyone and just bring their dog around with them and therefore isn't allowed. Your dog has to do physical tasks for you and you have to have a disability accepted under ADA. There are extremely strict rules on this and if you did fake a service dog and that dog did something, you'd be in a world of hurt.

Last edited by martemchik; 09-09-2012 at 11:33 PM.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 12:21 AM
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when a dog goes through the selection , evaluation, and training of an organization and then once again through another training program to get the new human/dog team working well together there is a standard . When in public and working the dog wears some signage on its equipment which proudly displays the institute it came from . Should anything go wrong , a shopkeeper, for example, can contact the school and lodge a complaint. The institute then may ask the human/dog team to appear for more training or reassignment of another more appropriate dog. We actually had a team living in the Whitby area where observations were made - the dog was far to friendly and easily distracted -- pretty close calls in the parking lot of a small plaza , then in the corner budget friendly grocery the dog would lift his leg on the corners of some vegetable displays. This dog did get recalled.

A visually impaired person can't train the dog because a sighted person has to show the dog what he has to look out for , overhead hazards, obstacles in the path, moving vehicles.
A dog not properly trained presents risks of life or death situations.

Last edited by carmspack; 09-10-2012 at 12:23 AM.
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 01:30 AM
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I read a previous thread about training one's own dog to be a service dog. ...
First it would be helpful to know for certain what country you are in as you are getting information from at least two different countries in this thread -- the U.S. and Canada. Since you mentioned an organization from the U.S. I am going to assume you are also living in the U.S.

In the U.S. it is legal for someone to train their own Guide Dog just as it is legal to train their own Service Dog. You can train on your own or with a professional trainer to oversee your training.

Secondly, it would be helpful to know the degree of blindness that you are asking about. Lowsighted? Able to make out shapes but not features or read signs? Able to see in full lighted conditions but not in dim? There are so many variables.

Have you ever trained a working dog of any type? Do you access to people who can assist you?

Has anyone heard of a guide dog organization that will allow people to raise the puppy that will be their guide dog? Or that accepts pets owned by the blind person's family into their training program?
As to becoming a puppy raiser for a reputable organization that trains Guide Dogs with the final outcome that pup will then be trained for you, I don't see that happening. Even with fully trained Guide Dogs they are not assigned to their handler until final team training. At that time potential handlers are matched with a dog that has been picked for them based on handler's and dog's personalities, handler's lifestyle, and overall thoughts of the evaluators if dog and handler would make a good working team. Even then at times the first dog picked just doesn't click with the handler and a second dog must be tried.

On the issue of accepting pets .... again I don't see that happening. Different organizations use different breeds of dogs and most of the top facilities have their own breeding programs. Those that do not, have certain breeders that they go to.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 01:45 AM
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jourdan, what you are asking is neither a Service Dog nor a Therapy Dog.

A Service Dog is a dog trained to mitigate the legal disability(ies) of the handler of which "feel much better all the time" does not qualify per the Dept. of Justice. See the full definition here

A Therapy Dog is a dog that is of proper temperament and manners to be handled by the owner for the benefit of others such as visiting patients in a hospital, visiting residents in a nursing home, being used as a *Reader Dog* for children, or as part of a team working in the treatment of a number of patients.

Most dogs that help their owners feel better are still classed as pets or companions even if the owner is undergoing treatment for anxiety and depression. There is a section of these dogs that go on to being classified as an Emotional Support Dog but the only benefit derived from this is in the case where the owner lives in no-pet housing or requires their dog to fly in-cabin with them on a commercial flight.

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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 09-10-2012 at 01:47 AM.
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Hi all,
Gee I thought I had posted a reply and a "Thank you" last night, but I guess it did not go through.... Anyway, THANKS for your considerate replies, which I will read and take seriously.

It seems there are levels of training involved depending on the type of work a service dogs does. I can see the points about the skills and personalities involved in guiding the blind. At the same time, I see the need for vast numbers of service dogs here and abroad, where perhaps people cannot afford to purchase a professionally trained dog.

If I were suffering from PTSD or other problems that might not be visible disabilities, it would make me sad to think that people might suspect I am "faking it" in order to take my dog along on jaunts. Of course, I don't think anyone here is suggesting that anyone who posts on this list would do that. I just appreciate people seeking out any and all reasonable ways to train their own beloved dogs to assist them.

Thanks again for your responses
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 09:51 AM
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SheilaH, what exactly would you like your dog to do, as far as assisting you goes? I gathered from your original post that you wanted a guide dog, but I'm thinking now, from your last post, that you're looking for an emotional support dog?

When I think of a "guide dog" I think of a 'seeing eye' dog. Of course there's all sorts of ways that a dog can be of assistance (turning on lights, grabbing the phone, whatever) and be a service dog. Emotional support is different, it doesn't seem to really be recognized much, and the benefits seem to be downplayed, which is very unfortunate. I hope things will change someday.
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 03:28 AM Thread Starter
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Hi again
Someone just asked me to clarify what type of guide dog I am looking for. I have a degenerative eye disease so I was inquiring about guide dogs for the blind. I am not looking for a dog for emotional support, although, of course, dogs always do provide emotional support.
Have a great day/evening.
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