Seizure Dog Training have a few questions - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-28-2011, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Seizure Dog Training have a few questions

So I haven't really posted on this site much. But I have a few questions regarding Seizure Service Dog Training. Here is the back round story as to why i want to start my GSD in this kind of work.

My name is Tendra, and my GSD is Kodak who will be a year old next month. My Fiance bought him for me as a Valentines Day gift this past year. Having Kodak in our lives has been a wonderful experience. I have had dogs most of my life but they were Blue Healer mix and Labrador. Anyways, my Fiance has Epilepsy. His first seizure occurred when he was 19, hes now 27. The doctors think he might have had it before his first seizure but there really is no way of knowing from what i understand. Me and my Fiance have been together almost 4 years now. And in that time I have never seen him have a Grand-maul Seizure. But i know he still has them due to the bruises and bumps he get.
I'm almost certain that Kodak has witnessed at least the Pete-maul Seizures he has. But i want him to know what to do if his daddy has a Grand-maul and mommy isn't around. I have never trained a service dog before, and to be completely honest I have no idea where to start. I worry for his safety 24/7 and i want to make sure if I'm not here, Kodak is to help him. It gets really scary at night because I sleep so hard anymore, I'm afraid if he has one in the middle of the night I wont wake up in time to help him.

So my questions are these:
1)Where would i need to start Kodak's training?
2)Does Kodak need to be Certified in order for my Fiance to have him next to him at all times?
3) Are there any classes i can take?

Any and all Help would be great. And Thank you for taking time to read and reply if you do.

EDIT- Kodak is very eager to learn, and has a good Toy/Treat drive. Here is what he knows so far: Sit, Down, Shake, Speak, Say Please, Say Thank You, Go get your toy/bone/rope/ball (he will go get the right item with the word) We are currently working on Stay, he is in his "I don't want to listen to you because I'm a big dog now" stage.

Kodak and Tendra

Last edited by Kodak6531; 12-28-2011 at 01:55 PM.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-28-2011, 03:32 PM
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Location: North Central FLorida, east of Gainesville
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To begin with you and your fiance need to both educate yourself on the laws - Federal and your State. If Kodak is going to be a SD for your fiance then the dog will need to be his and bond stronger with him then with you.

To be an alert dog Kodak would have to do that automatically. Some people believe that a dog can predict a seizure but in truth it is that they are reacting to something going on. They are reacting faster then it takes for us to realize that someone is going into a seizure.

What the dog is reacting to is the unknown factor and that is why it is not possible to replicate for training. Some people can train a dog "to alert" but that is when the seizure has began so the benefit of that is nil if at all. By then the handler or others can see the beginning (they notice a *tell*) and there is no reason for the dog to convey to the handler what they already know.

As you asked, it is better to train the dog to have a *task* to do after the seizure has began. This is where the training is based on the individual. They must know how their seizures are in the beginning. Some individuals know how they feel before a seizure begins to present itself to others so we will use that as an example. If they know how they feel in the first few minutes or minute then they can give the dog a command of what they want from the dog.

If your fiance does not have any idea that he is going into a seizure then he will need help from someone around him to report later of his first actions. This may be you, some other of his family, a co-worker, or someone on his medical care staff. As an example of what I am saying is, some people clench their fists or do some other action. This is the *tell* that the dog will be trained on. The dog will be, in the final stage of his task training, trained to the tell vrs. a voice command.

Once it is know at what point the dog needs to react, it must be decided on what the dog needs to do. This is something that your fiance must decide on. Does he want the dog to be trained to go find you? Does your fiance need the dog to lay down on him to keep him safe until he (the fiance) is once again aware of his surroundings? Once he knows what the dog needs to do then I would suggest finding a local trainer that can help him train the dog that task. I say him because again at this point he, the trainer, and the dog must work together.

Now to backtrack in time. Before you begin the training, you must evaluate the dog or have an expert evaluate the dog for the work. Being a SD can be very stressful work both physically and mentally. Relatively few dogs can handle it - relatively few dogs have the desire to work in the true meaning.

The first thing is to make sure the dog is both physically and mentally in the running for his age. I say for his age because once you decide to proceed you must be aware that at any time during the next year or so he may be better washed out and returned to pet only status.

Some of the goals that you will need on his training at this time are his obedience must be rock solid and that includes with distractions in unfamiliar places and obedience off leash as well as on.

We have stickies at the top of this section to help give you some basics and if you screen down you will see many threads on tasks etc. Please read these various threads and jot down any questions you may then have.

Just remember it takes approx. 18-24 months to train a SD to working level and those months are full months of daily work. If you or your fiance have never trained a working dog before you really should find someone to help you. Training a working dog is different then training a pet for around the home. There is more to this then reading books or looking up info on the Internet - though both can be of immense help. It takes hands on knowledge.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog

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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 12-28-2011 at 03:36 PM.
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