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Canine Spirit Guide 12-23-2013 04:54 AM

Task Ideas for PTSD - SDIT
Greetings :) Friends

What would you consider some 'tasks' or 'chores' that a PTSD Service Dog would perform to aid it's handler? At home? School? Work? Stores? Medical offices? Public Transportation? Therapy sessions?

I've been around a few groups that aid those diagnosed with the disorder - however 95% of the attendees are from the military, which in most cases I can't even relate or socialize with anyone because my case is severely different from theirs. (Domestic Violence/Sexual & Psychological Abuse/Multiple Near Death Experiences)

So what would you recommend? I'm in constant state of nervousness, worry, and anxiety; panic attacks daily, faint, dizzy, spacey, and 'out of it' often. Since I hold in my air when I breathe (quick and shallow breaths) it's hard to relax when my shoulders nearly touch my ears. Maintaining a dietary, sleep, and exercise schedule is just so difficult for me - thinking straight isn't easy let alone in peace.

Just imagine a GSD constantly hunched back in fear.

That's pretty much me.

Any suggestions? I would love to hear your advice.

My Warm Thanks <3

Rbeckett 12-23-2013 06:18 AM

Start with a long slow walk in private so you and your dog can just be together. Then progress to more crowded paths so you and your dog can get used to meeting oncoming people and dogs. Take you and your dog to a local dog park so it can get socialized with other dogs and be around other people besides yourself. Go to the Local Mental health or Veterans clinic and get some help with your specific issues in a one on one setting. Most importantly you need to do it now, take action and start a new tomorrow today.

Wheelchair Bob

DutchKarin 12-23-2013 09:17 AM

I'm sort of thinking about this from your perspective. I would think that a dog that stays close and is often just touching you as support and may give you the tactile experience to help ground you if anxiety spikes. Maybe teach the dog to distract you with a tug game at times. I would think that really good downs and "to bed" would be helpful so that the dog, which will want to be near, can also learn to stay at a distance if necessary.

I'm sure that there is some writing on this as well. Contact therapy dog associations and get more ideas.

Good luck to you and I think the right dog would be very therapeutic.

Peaceful calm Christmas wishes you way!

lhczth 12-23-2013 11:11 AM

Are you working with someone that is familiar with training dogs for handlers with PTSD?

I recently donated a dog to a veteran with PTSD though we worked through an organization that finds the dogs and helps with the training. The dog's job is to redirect the handler when something triggers them (bumping their arm, jumping on them, getting their attention and giving body contact), to wake them up during a bad dream, to give the handler security, that they have someone there to watch their back. This vet also has memory loss and is diabetic so the dog helps find things and is learning to be a diabetic alert dog too.

From what I have been told group sessions are not for everyone.

Send me a PM and I can give you the contact information for the organization I worked through. I think they only work with veterans, but they should have some suggestions about who to contact.

Cheyanna 12-24-2013 01:10 AM

I don't have PTSD, but I do get the dizzies. Fiona, my service dog, will lean against me. I have had spells where I could not tell up from down. Her leaning against my leg tells me down. Once in a grocery store, she took me to a shelf so I could hang on.

So I think that you should thing of a way that the dog can best help you. Do you need a distraction? Then a bark. Do you need something to draw your attention back to the present, then have the dog nudge you. If you get the dizzies, don't have the dog jump on you to bring you back to the present. Maybe the dog could Lick your hand or face.

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Rbeckett 12-24-2013 05:25 AM

My SD listens to my breathing and nudges me or wakes me up if she hears my lungs gurgling. She can hear what is going on in my lungs before I hear or feel it so if I get ahead of the issues early I avoid a trip to the ER for a week of rest and relaxation at the super clean Hilton...She saved my life at the end of November by waking me and going to get my wife to call 911.

Wheelchair Bob

Canine Spirit Guide 12-24-2013 01:03 PM

Wheelchair Bob you have an amazing dog, what training techniques did you use to accomplish that task? I love all of everyones wonderful wonderful ideas! I didn't even think some of of the things ya'll mentioned.

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Wild Wolf 12-24-2013 01:18 PM

I am training some service tasks with my male, and I am also assisting a friend train her PTSD service dog. (She is a member on the forum here, with Arkay)

One task I teach is pressure touch, which involves the dog either perching in the lap, laying in the lap, leaning against the handler or "hugging" and pressing the head down against/on the neck. I taught my male the "hug" and the leaning. He already knows perching and lays in my lap with a simple "up up" command.

I use my male for stability during a migraine, and to help me move around when I lose my vision and get hit with the various other stroke like symptoms I am plagued with.

I also taught the various service dog tasks such as laying under my chair, standing behind me in line ups and leaning on me in public when I ask him to.

I've only been training this stuff for about 3 months now, but I have been successful with my male. By no means an expert.

I am happy to help and share how I train things, and how I teach others to train thing... a lot to write out, and it is the holidays so if you want to shoot me an e-mail or PM I can write it all up for you next week.

Wild Wolf 12-24-2013 01:22 PM

For moments when you need to be "snapped out of it" you will likely need something more than some of the typical tasks.

Something like nudging you hard and licking you? Arms are good for that, maybe teach stepping and perching on your feet? My male naturally likes to go between mine and DH's legs for chest scratches, so I have been conditioning that as well.

holland 12-24-2013 01:23 PM

Sometimes these things don't need to be trained-

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