Service Dog in Training - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Service Dog in Training

Hello, My name is Jennifer Huynh. I am a disabled veteran with PTSD (home-bound) with limited transportation (travel mostly by bus). I was wondering if anyone can give me some advice of how I can train my own service dog. I currently have a pure-bred German Shepherd puppy, Nyssa is 9 weeks old. I have bought the book called "51 Puppy Tricks" by Kyra Sundance. I am thinking of buying her next book "101 Dog Tricks" but there are some training that I can't seem to find in books.
Here are the commands that I would need to train my puppy:
PSD Assistance for Veterans with PTSD
Symptom(s):
Assistive Behaviors
Assistance Classification
reclusiveness:
canine accompanies veteran outside the home

physical task
night terrors:
dog wakes veteran (optional: turn on light)

physical task
startle reaction:
canine-defined personal space perimeter

physical task
dissociative fugue:
'take me home' command

physical task
hypervigilance:
search a room for the presence of humans

physical task
neurochemical imbalance:
Team walks to stimulate endorphin production

physical task
dissociative flashback:
tactile stimulation mediates sensory re-integration and orientation to time/place

physical task
startle response:
alert to presence of others (i.e., 'pop a corner' or 'watch my back’)

work--leveraging a dog's natural senses
dissociative spell:
canine interrupts

work--mind/body
emotional regulation:
canine as therapeutic distraction

work--mind/body
sensory overload:
canine as alternate focus

work--mind/body
social withdrawal:
canine-facilitated interpersonal interaction

work--community integration
lack of insight:
canine alert to emotional escalation

work-- leveraging a dog's natural senses (CBT)
hypervigilance:
canine environmental threat assessment

work-- leveraging a dog's natural senses (CBT)
Note: CBT means ‘cognitive behavioral therapy’. This is a therapeutic technique that is often learned in a talk therapy setting and has been repeatedly demonstrated to be legitimate and efficacious. Applying cognitive behavioral skills to interactions with your PSD can produce powerful outcomes.

Please help
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 11:39 PM
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Congrats on the new puppy. Do you have a trainer in your area you can work with? I think that would be the most helpful.

At this point, I would suggest focusing on socialization and basic obedience as between 8-12 weeks there is a critical socialization period you will want to take advantage of as much as possible. If you are not able to leave the house and/or have limited transportation, do you have any relatives or friends who might be willing to help you socialize the puppy or take you and the puppy (or even just take the puppy if you can't go) to puppy kindergarten classes?

Here is a good series of 2 books on puppy raising and training which is available free online--

1st book: http://www.dogstardaily.com/files/BE...ur%20Puppy.pdf
(I know it's called BEFORE you get your puppy but the info is good.)

2nd book:
http://www.dogstardaily.com/files/AF...ur%20Puppy.pdf


For more help I would recommend joining the Yahoo "Owner Trained Assistance Dogs" group:
ot-adogs : Owner Trained Assistance Dogs - A list for those training their own Assistance Dogs. Handlers with Program dogs are welcome.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 09:59 AM
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At this age your puppy is what is known as a Service Dog Candidate. Check through our threads in this section and you will learn quite a bit. You have quit a bit of time before you begin serious task training. The average time to train a SD is between 18-24 months.

During the candidate stage you are just putting down a foundation with the pup and evaluating if the pup is even suitable to be put into training.

Remember that training a SD is a lot different then training a pet dog. Buying books on training for tricks should not be the core but later just something that you do to fill in. Trick training is a good way to spend time doing mental exercises with your dog especially good when the weather is too bad to do much exercising outside other then a dash outside to potty.

That is a long list of tasks that you hope to train your dog. Consider that type of training to be started near the end of your SDIT (Service Dog In Training) stage.

1a. Puppy Obedience
1b. Novice Obedience
1c. Advanced Obedience
1d. Off leash Obedience -- you will not be taking your dog out into public and working it off leash but your dog needs to be able to respond and be trustworthy to work even if you drop the leash or cicumstances are that you are not able to control (via leash) the dog at any given time.

2. Public Access Training

3. Task Training

Important things to remember:
Don't push your pup beyond what they are mentally, physically, or emotionally able to handle or you will burn your dog out.
During each step of the raising and training you need to be evaluating your dog to make sure it is suitable for a working dog life.
If the dog isn't able to be happy in its work you will need to wash it out of its SD training.
If the dog shows signs of stress or aggression you will need to wash it out of its SD training.

If you have never taken a dog to advanced training levels then you will need the help of someone who has.

A dog trained for PSD needs the most rock solid nerves of any type of SD. It needs to be able to withstand a handlers meltdown or inability to give commands and continue working to get the handler to a safe location or stand by it until suitable help arrives.

Now going back to your list ... a SD of any type needs to be trained on those tasks that the individual handler needs. You can not find a task list and use it like a check off listing. You need to go to your therapist and sit down and discuss with them what you need (not those things that you find helpful) and make that your core task list. Many sites give listings of tasks but SDs should not be trained in a cookie cutter fashion. This dog is being trained as a tool for you -- to assist in mitigating your personal needs.

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 5 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 10:01 AM
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To help you understand more of what you need to be doing with your pup at its age you may want to check in on the discussion thread re: Service Dog Candidates at https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...idate-ots.html

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 5 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 10:06 AM
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You received a lot of great advice in this thread: https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...ml#post2289689
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