Service Dog Candidate & OTs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-15-2012, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Service Dog Candidate & OTs

For you owner trainers past, current, or setting up to begin: (Below is just a guideline -- answer just a couple or all -- toss in your own thoughts.)

At what age did you get your candidate?

Who picked your pup out for you? You? Breeder? Trainer? Other?

Will you or did you make use of any professional help during this stage?

Did you take your pup to puppy class? Any other classes?

What commands do/did you teach your candidate?

Do/Did you work with your candidate any differently then your pet dogs? How so?

What are your basic or minimum requirements that your candidate have to/did meet before going on to SDIT (Service Dog In Training)? Age? Certificates? Health Screenings? Temperament evaluations? Other?

Have you started putting together your official training manual yet? What is in it?

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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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 01:47 AM
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I'm pretty nervous posting about this stuff, as I am still so new to owning a service dog....but I may as well give it a shot.

This is all based on the next dog that is coming, not my current dog, as his circumstances were...surprising.

At what age did you get your candidate?
8-10 weeks

Who picked your pup out for you? You? Breeder? Trainer? Other?

I will be receiving guidance from the breeder, and a trainer experienced in selecting service dog candidates. My input is largely naming the traits I am looking for, and letting others evaluate potential a bit more heavily.

Will you or did you make use of any professional help during this stage?

Yes

Did you take your pup to puppy class? Any other classes?
The puppy will go to puppy class and basic formal obedience classes

What commands do/did you teach your candidate?
Do you mean for tasks, or in general? The usual sit down stand stuff is always prominent, though I do put a lot of focus on down stay.

Do/Did you work with your candidate any differently then your pet dogs? How so?
My next candidate will be worked differently than my first. Rules in terms of how socialization occurs and when it occurs will be more strict than with my current dog.

What are your basic or minimum requirements that your candidate have to/did meet before going on to SDIT (Service Dog In Training)? Age? Certificates? Health Screenings? Temperament evaluations? Other?
The dog needs to pass some basic health screens at a young age, in addition to going through some temperament evaluations. I will be consulting with an experienced trainer throughout the process so I can have unbiased opinions given to me.

Have you started putting together your official training manual yet? What is in it?
No. I'm happy to take suggestions for things that should go in it.

Jackie and the
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
I'm pretty nervous posting about this stuff,
You did fine ...


Question was: What commands do/did you teach your candidate?

Quote:
Do you mean for tasks, or in general?
Not tasks but in general. Remember this is a candidate not even SDIT level.


Maybe it would help if we tossed in a discussion into the mix of what people consider a candidate vrs. SDIT?

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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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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My opinions ...

Assistance/Service Dog Candidate:

Solid housebreaking and basic manners in the home.
The candidate should continue ongoing health checks and getting age appropriate vet work.
Puppy and Beginning Obedience training should be completed during this time.
Evaluations on the suitability of the dog should continue.

A dog being trained as an Assistance/Service Dog is not a rehab project. If a dog shows people or dog aggression or show shyness or fear when around people acting in a normal manner then the dog should not be elevated from the candidate level.

Until they are fully housebroken, walk nicely on a leash, and show good public manners they should only be going as pets to places where pets are welcomed. It is very important that the candidate not be allowed to form bad habits out in the community at this time. Any dog before going out into the public as a SDIT should be able to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluation.

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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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 11:27 AM
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At what age did you get your candidate? I got mine at 11 weeks, just because of transportation issues.

Who picked your pup out for you? You? Breeder? Trainer? Other? The breeder did, with requests for certain traits from me.

Will you or did you make use of any professional help during this stage? Sort of.

Did you take your pup to puppy class? Any other classes?
Jag is working on his CD. He has his RN, and most of his RA. Obedience classes are part of my physical therapy also.

What commands do/did you teach your candidate? Sit,down, stay, stand, get it, hup, load up, wait, etc.

Do/Did you work with your candidate any differently then your pet dogs? How so? Yes, in that I expect more of him.

What are your basic or minimum requirements that your candidate have to/did meet before going on to SDIT (Service Dog In Training)? Age? Certificates? Health Screenings? Temperament evaluations? Other? Jag has passed his temperament test and his CGC. I will get his OFA hps, elbows, cardiac, and thyroid and maybe DM.

Have you started putting together your official training manual yet? What is in it? I am keeping a log of training, from each training class, and each trail we attend.

I am lucky enough right now that I don't need a public access dog. If I have a bad day, I just stay home. But...Jag has learned to help me off with my coat, to pick up all sorts of things from the floor, and to pull clothes from the washer and dryer.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 12:19 PM
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What commands do/did you teach your candidate?
Sit, down, stand, stay, wait, table, say hello, touch, foot, shake (as in, shake your body, not shake hands), bang (dead dog), head down, load up, out, walk up, walk on

Jackie and the
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Strauss: The Patriarch
Wesson: The Grand Champion
Mikasa: The Hellbeast
Soul Eater: The Moon and Stars Dog
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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When working with a pup during the candidate stage you may want to think on how you go about working on socialization and habituation. In speaking of socialization many people tend to meld these two basic concepts into one and label it socialization.

In planning your training for your candidate, here is some info from Kirsten Richards, owner of Service Dog Central ...

Quote:
Socialization: a systematic introduction of the pup to a wide variety of living creatures, especially different types of people

Habituation: a systematic introduction of the pup to a wide variety of things, especially different locations and different surfaces


And to go further here are some highlights from the section on her canine age timeline.

During the first four months of a dog's life they experience a series of developmental stages wherein certain things are most easily learned. It has to do with how the brain develops. ... While you can do remedial socialization, if the initial framework is not laid during the time that those neural pathways are being laid, the dog will never be as fluent as a dog who was socialized properly during the primary socialization period. The primary fear imprint period usually occurs somewhere between eight and twelve months, which can complicate socialization. Pups can begin learning basic skills during this period, and should, but lessons should be kept short and purely positive. There should be no corrections at this young age. They are learning HOW to learn more than specific individual skills. ... Habituation should also be started at this time, but remedial habituation is much easier than remedial socialization. Habituation at this age should focus primarily on different footing surfaces.

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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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 04:46 PM
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At what age did you get your candidate? 16 weeks

Who picked your pup out for you? You? Breeder? Trainer? Other? Me along with help from the trainer I work with

Will you or did you make use of any professional help during this stage? Yes, I have an excellent trainer I work with, she breeds and shows collies and I help her out with shows in exchange for training help

Did you take your pup to puppy class? Any other classes? Puppy socializing class and puppy utility class (geared to prepare for competition obedience). Basic obedience class starts next week.

What commands do/did you teach your candidate? the basics; sit, down, stay, come, etc along with manners

Do/Did you work with your candidate any differently then your pet dogs? How so? n/a I only have one dog at this time

What are your basic or minimum requirements that your candidate have to/did meet before going on to SDIT (Service Dog In Training)? Age? Certificates? Health Screenings? Temperament evaluations? Other? 18 months (after she has passed Canine Good Citizen) for public access training and 2 years once/if OFAs and CERF are 'good' or higher for task training.

Have you started putting together your official training manual yet? What is in it? not yet, going to have to dig up my training manual for the service dog I lost last year
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILGHAUS View Post
For you owner trainers past, current, or setting up to begin: (Below is just a guideline -- answer just a couple or all -- toss in your own thoughts.)

At what age did you get your candidate?
We got Koshka at 9 weeks.

Quote:
Who picked your pup out for you? You? Breeder? Trainer? Other?
Our breeder chose him, and from what we can tell, he's going to do the job admirably in terms of temperament. Of course, he's young yet, buthe's pretty much exactly what we wanted.

Quote:
Will you or did you make use of any professional help during this stage?
So far, the only pro help is the trainer who's classes we take, but we're willing to consider other help if we find we need it.

Quote:
Did you take your pup to puppy class? Any other classes?
Koshka has graduated Puppy K, and will be going into further classes. In fact, I'm considering showing him in Rally, and we'll certainly be getting him his CGC and TT.

Quote:
What commands do/did you teach your candidate?
He'll learn all the basic obedience stuff. We'll add things like directed retrieves, bracing to help The Mate stand or get up, how to go get help, and probably how to bark menacingly on command. We won't be teaching him any bitework or protection stuff, as we don't think it's proper for a service dog that's meant to mingle with the public a lot.

Quote:
Do/Did you work with your candidate any differently then your pet dogs? How so?
We'll wind up putting a lot more training into Koshka than dogs we've had in the past. Along with that, we'll be teaching Krissie a lot of it, even though she isn't a service dog (just my emotional support animal).

Quote:
What are your basic or minimum requirements that your candidate have to/did meet before going on to SDIT (Service Dog In Training)? Age? Certificates? Health Screenings? Temperament evaluations? Other?
Well, Koshka will need to be able to pass the Service Dog Standards for ADI for us to be comfortable with calling him a service dog. Even though there is no certification in the US, we're going to do as much as we can to show he's capable of doing the work. We'll do OFA and CERF. We'll probably also do thyroid, cardiac, DM, and maybe vWD testing. I think that's about all. Hehe.

Quote:
Have you started putting together your official training manual yet? What is in it?
No, we really havne't gotten much together other than some scribblings of what we want to do and some rough outlining. Once we get truly started on serious training (mostly we're just learning the basics now), we will be keeping track of hours spent training, what we did in those times, and his performance. We'll probably also do some videos of him performing his duties when he's trained, to have on hand in case there are any issues. And probably some videos of his training along the way, to document his progress.

Other thoughts:
We will not be neutering Koshka, although we have no plans to breed him. (Only a very limited set of circumstances would persuade us to let him sire any puppies, but I won't say never just in case.)
We probably won't do activities like Flyball or Agility with him, as he will get worked hard enough helping The Mate, and we want to minimize risks of injury as best we can.
Our expectation is that he will be around 3 years old before we'll truly be able to call him a service dog. He'll be a service dog in training at around a year of age, provided nothing cropsuip that would prevent it. Until then, he's just our sweet puppy.

My Dog: Krissie ~ Beagle Mix Extraordinaire 09/09
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