PTSD Therapy Dog Question - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
 
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PTSD Therapy Dog Question

Hello from Sacramento California Area.

I am a Veteran (Gulf War Era but not deployed into combat but support). I have a letter for a PTSD Dog from my VA Doctors. I have been looking at dogs for over a year now. I asked questions in my VA PTSD forums about dogs.

First I was thinking of an Australian Shepherd. But I have a Bilateral Shoulder Impingement which means my shoulders get dislocated easily. So, I looked for smaller apartment type dogs. For awhile I had high anxiety around strangers. Now my major issues remains that I trance out into a sleep paralysis--sometimes in public if I am not keeping my mind busy. I need someone to touch me to wake me or keep me awake.

So, my partner thought I needed something more like a Shibu Inu--more active but I found out that they are way too active. The only dog I ever had was a Police trained German Shepherd when I was a kid.

I got to help raise him and took him for walks. But one day my brother and his friend played a prank on us and jumped out of a tree into the side walk in front of us. So my dog was punished instead of my brother and his friend. He had to be quarantined and then my mom gave him up. But he must have went back to the police officer who gave him to us. In any case, I have avoided looking at German Shepherds because I know how protective they can be. But if I had to choose between a Shibu Inu and German Shepherd, I think the German Shepherd is an easier dog to train.

This is for a Therapy dog for me. I do not really like the slow paced yet big Labrador Retriever type dogs though I do not know why. But is a German Shepherd a good PTSD Therapy Dog?

P.S. I do mean PTSD Service Dog.

Last edited by couldIshouldI; 02-16-2010 at 06:06 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 08:22 PM
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Are you planning on getting a puppy and training them, getting an adult or getting an already trained service dog? This makes a difference as to what choices might be available.

If you are going to get a puppy or untrained adult dog and you have problems with your shoulder dislocating, could a dog pulling on the leash cause it? If so I would recommend a smaller/lighter dog of a more laid back breed. If you are getting an already trained service dog or obedience trained adult this might not be an issue assuming they have been VERY well trained to never pull on the leash.

The other thing I would be slightly concerned about is if you have anxiety issues in public, a German Shepherd might not be the best choice. They tend to read their owners' moods/feelings very well and if become anxious they may become protective over you or they might view people around you as a threat. Some types/lines of Shepherd may be more likely to respond that way than others though.


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by couldIshouldI View Post
Hello from Sacramento California Area.



This is for a Therapy dog for me. I do not really like the slow paced yet big Labrador Retriever type dogs though I do not know why. But is a German Shepherd a good PTSD Therapy Dog?

P.S. I do mean PTSD Service Dog.


I have placed a dog with someone with PTSD recently. The dog has worked out for this person. If you will email me a [email protected] I would like to talk to you a little more. I do not charge for dogs used for this.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 09:18 PM
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Right now, I'm searching for a potential psych service dog for a great family who applied with BrightStar....

Off the bat, I'm not sure either an Aussie or a Shibu are going to be good service dogs for you. I think Aussies can be a little cracked-out. Love them, but they are wild things! And I don't knwo a lot about Shibu's, but from what I've seen they are very selfish dogs who are all about "MAKE ME do something!"

From the research I've done about psych dogs, it seems like the best choice is a dog that fits your lifestyle but is also something you are drawn to and will really bond with.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2010, 05:22 PM
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Single post...PTSD but NOT in combat??? I can appreciate that you have an anxiety disorder, but what is the basis of a VA PTSD issue? This sounds a bit odd to me. Guess that's why there is no follow-up...

That said, I believe that dogs can be quite useful both for service as well as for therapy for PTSD. I intend to use my new puppy (once he is grown and appropriately trained) to diminish anxiety and re-ground patients working on traumatic memories. This will be done in-session (as opposed to being their service dog). I have found just a small bit of research, but it is an idea that I've been toying with for a while. We shall see how it goes.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2010, 06:09 PM
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Good grief, I can't even imagine using a Shiba for any sort of therapy dog as they tend to be vicious little dogs. These are not good dogs for the general public and should only go to experienced homes that are used to very independent, dominant, dog aggressive, one person dogs.

An Aussie is a much better choice for an apartment dog and a PTSD dog. A GSD would work well so long as you were able to give him the exercise he needs.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2010, 07:35 PM
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Single post...PTSD but NOT in combat??? I can appreciate that you have an anxiety disorder, but what is the basis of a VA PTSD issue? This sounds a bit odd to me. Guess that's why there is no follow-up...
No one need ever give in-depth details of their disability to this forum or to any others. No one need to ever answer such personal questions.

As to follow up, this is one area where many times follow-up is done through PMs from other members who wish to share information but not to go public on the Internet where everyone can read what they post. As a Mod in this area I many times also go through PMs if I think it is best for the poster.

Now, it is possible that the OP though hasn't posted anymore on this thread does return to read information given here. We go on with a thread under that assumption or because we know that the information given may help someone else.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2010, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by couldIshouldI View Post
But if I had to choose between a Shibu Inu and German Shepherd, I think the German Shepherd is an easier dog to train.
Oh God yes!!! I love Shibas but they are not in any way a dog that is easy to train and very willing to please it's master. They are one of those more "selfish" breeds.

If you are open to a GSD, why not look into one from a program that specifically breeds for service work? Fidelco comes to mind. They have been breeding their own service dogs for decades.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2010, 01:42 PM
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I believe Fidelco only does guide dogs, I looked at them in the past.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2010, 01:57 PM
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Here are some Service trainers I found in the area. I don't know them personally, so I don't know how good they are but they will give you an idea.

Assistance_Dogs

Home - Canine Companions for Independence

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Dakota "Koda" GSD 02/20/2008
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