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Old 01-13-2013, 01:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Discussion on Owner Trainers

It has been awhile since I've posted a question to start a round table discussion so here goes ....


Currently in the U.S., there is no Federal Law against someone training their own Service Dog. Some states give individuals the right to train their own dogs while others are more restrictive.

Do you believe that individuals should continue having this right or should all training be done by "professionals" or by training organizations?

If you chose Professionals do you have any criteria you believe they should meet? Some criteria could include things like where the trainer received their training and under who? Did they have to take any tests and if so then who gave and evaluated the tests? Did they take any academic classes or classes given by instructors for professional instructors?

If you chose Training Organizations should they be strictly accredited and if so by whom?

Now remember these points -
* The more limiting in who can train then the fewer Service Dogs are going to be available. Is this a good or bad limitation?
* The more people and organizations involved at any level means costs go up. Again a possible limiting factor on the number of Service Dogs being used.


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Old 01-13-2013, 03:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is an issue that I've been on the fence with for years and I don't think I'll come to a good conclusion on it.

On one hand I strongly appreciate and enjoy the rights given to me to train my own assistance dog. It allows me to tweak tasks and my dog's training to best suit my personal needs and the needs of my disabilities. It is very empowering for me to be able to 'help myself' in this way and is a large part of maintaining my health at an acceptable level.

That said I don't think that the majority of PWD's are capable of training a dog to what I feel is an appropriate standard. It is very hard to be objective when you're independence and health will rely on your service dog and many people become blind to a dog's faults and don't wash them out when they really should.

I feel that program trained dogs are often not well tailored to a individuals particular disability, that they are highly over priced in many cases and that there is a huge feeling of "Program trained dog = safe or better" which allows many programs to fly under the radar and put out dogs that are ill trained and often dangerous.

The situation is little different when a PWD goes to a private trainer as the cost can quickly sky-rocket to the point where that person who is often of limited means can't afford a much needed aid for their own independence.

I have met badly trained dogs that were owner trained but I have also met badly trained dogs that were program trained. I think the law needs work, but I don't agree that it needs to take away the right to train your own dog, with the assistance of an outside opinion and help of a professional trainer it is a very viable option if you are able to be organized and structured enough to do the training.

I think there should be some higher standard of behavior set forth by the law and that service dogs should have to be certified... I'm not sure how this would work and who would over see it, or if it would become as difficult and paperwork heavy as Social Security currently is which wouldn't be conducive to a good system but something should be done to insure that dogs that are in public are not a safety hazard to themselves, their handlers, or the public.
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by JeaneneR View Post
This is an issue that I've been on the fence with for years and I don't think I'll come to a good conclusion on it.

On one hand I strongly appreciate and enjoy the rights given to me to train my own assistance dog. It allows me to tweak tasks and my dog's training to best suit my personal needs and the needs of my disabilities. It is very empowering for me to be able to 'help myself' in this way and is a large part of maintaining my health at an acceptable level.

That said I don't think that the majority of PWD's are capable of training a dog to what I feel is an appropriate standard. It is very hard to be objective when you're independence and health will rely on your service dog and many people become blind to a dog's faults and don't wash them out when they really should.

I feel that program trained dogs are often not well tailored to a individuals particular disability, that they are highly over priced in many cases and that there is a huge feeling of "Program trained dog = safe or better" which allows many programs to fly under the radar and put out dogs that are ill trained and often dangerous.

The situation is little different when a PWD goes to a private trainer as the cost can quickly sky-rocket to the point where that person who is often of limited means can't afford a much needed aid for their own independence.

I have met badly trained dogs that were owner trained but I have also met badly trained dogs that were program trained. I think the law needs work, but I don't agree that it needs to take away the right to train your own dog, with the assistance of an outside opinion and help of a professional trainer it is a very viable option if you are able to be organized and structured enough to do the training.

I think there should be some higher standard of behavior set forth by the law and that service dogs should have to be certified... I'm not sure how this would work and who would over see it, or if it would become as difficult and paperwork heavy as Social Security currently is which wouldn't be conducive to a good system but something should be done to insure that dogs that are in public are not a safety hazard to themselves, their handlers, or the public.
You hit on a lot of VERY valid points. I do not have time to write back about all of them but I will leave you with this for the time being.
RAW and SERVICE DOGS

Please review my website as what I do in this regard (Tailoring to meet the needs of the individual) is what we pride ourselves on doing.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by JeaneneR in RED
“On one hand I strongly appreciate and enjoy the rights given to me to train my own assistance dog. It allows me to tweak tasks and my dog's training to best suit my personal needs and the needs of my disabilities. It is very empowering for me to be able to 'help myself' in this way and is a large part of maintaining my health at an acceptable level.”
I love this statement and I appreciate and applaud you for it. But from what I gathered from a previous post, you really did not go it alone and you had professional help did you not? *NOTE the ADA does not cover service dogs in training. This is covered on a State level and varies by State to State. In some States ONLY Service Dog trainers attached to a recognized Service Dog facility may train their dogs in public.
“That said I don't think that the majority of PWD's are capable of training a dog to what I feel is an appropriate standard. It is very hard to be objective when you're independence and health will rely on your service dog and many people become blind to a dog's faults and don't wash them out when they really should.”
This is exactly why a good majority are not capable of training their own dog to be a service dog. Emotional influence combined with inexperience is a dangerous combination. With that said a good majority are capable under professional guidance and supervision. 2 of my clients are medical doctors and very bright people. But they will tell you that training dogs is not just a matter of intelligence it is a skillset that not everyone is suited for.
I apprenticed under my father for 10 years before I trained my first dog on my own. Since then I have learned more and more from my own experience dealing with clients. As I speak with other professionals in the field, all of them will say the same thing. The dog is easy; it is the client that is the real challenge when it comes to these dogs training and performance maintenance.
“I feel that program trained dogs are often not well tailored to a individuals particular disability, that they are highly over priced in many cases and that there is a huge feeling of "Program trained dog = safe or better" which allows many programs to fly under the radar and put out dogs that are ill trained and often dangerous.”
You hit the nail on the head with a lot of the program dogs. 99% use a cookie cutter method, and it is not suitable for the disabled person or the dog. ADI has an implied elitist sanction. This is the farthest thing from the truth as you are aware. They fly under the radar because they are shielded by politics, policy, and intimidation. Overpriced? That is debatable on multiple levels. The cost to the client should be fair depending on the financial position of the client. This would translate to paying 100% of the costs to just $25.00 of the cost. Ultimately if you are paying for a dog you should be guaranteed that you are getting what you paid for.
“The situation is little different when a PWD goes to a private trainer as the cost can quickly sky-rocket to the point where that person who is often of limited means can't afford a much needed aid for their own independence.”
Training your own dog professionally with a professional trainer can be expensive, no doubt but in the long run it is about half or less of what it would cost you if you paid for a fully trained dog on your own. Most do not pay for a fully trained dog all on their own anyway. Fundraising efforts reduce most of the costs for fully trained dogs.
“I have met badly trained dogs that were owner trained but I have also met badly trained dogs that were program trained. I think the law needs work, but I don't agree that it needs to take away the right to train your own dog, with the assistance of an outside opinion and help of a professional trainer it is a very viable option if you are able to be organized and structured enough to do the training.”
Under the guidance of a professional I agree. I also feel more accountability needs to be incorporated in the law when it comes to service dog training and giving service dog training advice.
“I think there should be some higher standard of behavior set forth by the law and that service dogs should have to be certified... I'm not sure how this would work and who would oversee it, or if it would become as difficult and paperwork heavy as Social Security currently is which wouldn't be conducive to a good system but something should be done to insure that dogs that are in public are not a safety hazard to themselves, their handlers, or the public.”
Way ahead of you. This was discussed years ago and an alternative to ADI as they are too limiting without accountability for the schools they sanction. It is for this reason the SDS Project was formed.
http://sdschools.org/index.php/about-us/
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think we need to involve the Government in the training of dogs or any other animal.

We have enough Government in our lives and wallets as it is.

Don't give them any ideas. Especially ideas for a new tax.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with Michael that the government is not the way to go. Outside testing would be nice, but it adds to the burden of the PWD both physically and financially to have to either travel to be tested or to pay to have the tester come to them. I would rather err on the side of making sure that the PWDs have the most freedoms possible.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree with Michael that the government is not the way to go. Outside testing would be nice, but it adds to the burden of the PWD both physically and financially to have to either travel to be tested or to pay to have the tester come to them. I would rather err on the side of making sure that the PWDs have the most freedoms possible.
This is a doubble edge sword. Sometimes you can't have it both ways. You want to go left but you still want the benifits of going right. It makes no sense. This topic has been batted around for years now. The problem is not getting better it is getting worse. Do you have a better solution to the problems?
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Do you believe that individuals should continue having this right or should all training be done by "professionals" or by training organizations?
I believe that people should be allowed to train their own Service Dogs.

BUT, I firmly believe that a Service Dog should be CERTIFIED before it can be allowed to be called a Service Dog (and have the privileges that come with that title).

I think a SD should, at the very minimum, be required to pass a CGC test. That shows the dogs knows basic obedience and the handler can control the dog in public. There are lots of CGC evaluators out there - no need for the government to get involved.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You hit on a lot of VERY valid points. I do not have time to write back about all of them but I will leave you with this for the time being.
RAW and SERVICE DOGS
What does that thread have to do with this conversation??
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lauri & The Gang View Post
I believe that people should be allowed to train their own Service Dogs.

BUT, I firmly believe that a Service Dog should be CERTIFIED before it can be allowed to be called a Service Dog (and have the privileges that come with that title).

I think a SD should, at the very minimum, be required to pass a CGC test. That shows the dogs knows basic obedience and the handler can control the dog in public. There are lots of CGC evaluators out there - no need for the government to get involved.
Service Dog Certification involves a lot more than just a CGC it also involves a PAT and task certification to certify the dog on all accounts. A CGC is great for Therapy Dogs but a Service Dog requires a lot more than that. I am glad you agree that certification should be mandatory as it will help fix a lot of the problems. The question is who is going to police it? ADI has proven to not be reliable with their sanction SDS is not ready to launch yet… Either way the government should back one certification process if they don’t anything else but help enforce it.
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