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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 06:05 AM Thread Starter
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Need Advice

I recently got my first German Shepherd. His name is Tank and he is simply wonderful. Tank is 11 weeks old and I have been looking online for a place to get him registered as my service dog. I am not sure how to tell the real sites from the fake ones. I also don't know where I can take him to get trained. I was told by a couple people that there is an organization that would help with the cost of training him but I'm not sure if that was a real thing or not.
All advice is appreciated. Thank you.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 07:19 AM
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i have no clue but am curious if you don't mind me asking service dog for what? service or therepy dog? service dogs for seizures and blind people can go anywhere, therepy dogs can't. also not all dogs can be service dogs. it really takes a certain tempermented dog to have a chance. my dogs wouldn't stand a chance. one is aloof with strangers and will always be and one is a total goodball and will always be. where did you get the dog? a dog with a real good chance of becoming a service dog usually has to come from a really good breeder that breeds for very specific temperments. not just any dog will do. anyways good luck! wish i could be more help!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 08:29 AM
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To start off with, do you have a severe mental or physical condition that prevents you from functioning in your normal day to day life? If the answer is no, then he should not be a service dog no matter how badly you would like him to be.

If the answer is yes, there is a lot you have to research. As scarfish said, the likelihood that your puppy just happens to have the drive, temperament, and nerve to handle service work is very low. If you are lucky and he does have it, then you will likely have to buckle down and do a lot of owner training. You can get help from a professional experienced in training service dogs (who usually go by word of mouth, I've never heard of a trainer from a non profit teaching outside of their company) but you will basically be putting in the equivalent of a small part time job working on his training every single week. Do you honestly have time to log 8-10 hours a week? To extend a ten minute grocery trip for milk into an hour long socialization/working session?

People typically get service dogs as older, already trained dogs from a company that raises and trains them because many dogs do wash out of service work simply because they cannot genetically handle it. Even when it's deemed they can handle it, they have to have the working drive necessary to maintain handler focus and carry out service behaviors even in challenging situations. For example, my dog alerts to oncoming panic attacks. It doesn't matter if we are sitting in my bedroom or some strange lady in Walmart is grabbing his collar and cooing over him, he has to ignore pretty much everything else and reliably alert to my panic attack. That takes a lot of training and it's not something you can do only half way.

I would also suggest going to ADA.org and educating yourself on the laws surrounding service dogs. There is no official certification, test, or training program for a dog to become a service dog. To have a service dog, the handler must have a debilitating mental or physical condition and the dog must provide an active service (his service can't just be that he makes you feel better, he has to perform a behavior) that prevents, mitigates, or helps reduce the handler's disability. Also, while not specifically in the law, it is generally expected among the service dog community that a SD blends in with the public. It is not there to stand out. Therefore a service dog is completely housebroken, does not bark, growl, whine, or solicit attention from people, never sniffs or damages product when in a public environment, maintains a walking pace with the handler without lagging or forging, and is able to ignore all of the various abuses the public often doles out on a service dog.

There is no one company that is "approved" or "official" in any legal way when it comes to service dogs. There are quite a few that train them, but they go through appropriate training and are matched with disabled handlers that need them. But this does not make them the only people who can train service dogs, nor does it make their service dogs any more or less legitimate than owner-trained or independently trained service dogs.

I feel like there is still more I might be missing out on, but I know there are others here as well that are also service dog handlers.

In short, any online service dog registry you find is a scam and if you think there is a legitimate one, you need to do a lot more research.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 01:56 PM
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Let's start at the beginning ...

First -- you have no obligation to tell anyone on the Internet what your disability is. If someone came up to you on the street and out of the blue asked you a personal question do you give them an answer?

Next, to really give you the proper info we would need to know what country you are in. When answering questions here, many just take for granted that the person asking is from the U.S.

As I am an Assistance (Service) Dog Team advocate located in the U.S. for U.S. teams based on U.S. (Federal Laws and State Statutes) that is how I will answer.

There are no "official" federal or state registries in the U.S. The ones on line for U.S. dogs are mostly scams -- the one or two others are not worthwhile. The scams will sell you worthless pieces of paper *certificates* that you can hang on your wall. If you have any computer savy and a decent home printer you can make your own. The capes they sell you can get cheaper by going to original companies that make them. The scams and the not worthwhile registries both are not hooked into any central database. The only place your information is stored is in their computer system and there of course is a great possibility that your information -- name, address, phone #, etc. is also being sold on mailing lists.

Many people start off with puppies and owner train them either on their own or through the help of dog trainers. I myself am currently waiting for a prospect from two very nice litters both born in December. I will train the pup myself. Now even though I have been an advocate for years, volunteered in rescue for a long while, have helped with the training for Assistance Dogs and wrote a book on SD laws -- I am not evaluating and picking out my pup. I am working with several others who are experts with breeding and raising of pups from birth through finding the right home for the pup. They are basing the placement of a pup for me based on the knowledge of what I want the pup for and what my individual needs are.

Some warning: as has been already posted, not all pups are SD material. Some of the larger Guide and SD organizations now have their own in-house breeding programs to raise the odds that they themselves will take a pup all the way from the beginning and end up with a well-trained suitable working dog. And even with these trained dogs it is still important that the correct dog is matched with the correct individual dog to make a great team.

Since you already have a pup the advice I would give you for now is to let Tank grow up as a happy puppy. Play with him and love him. Lay a great foundation beginning with housebreaking and teaching him to be an obedient companion in your home. Don't push him and expect him to be "wonder dog". Don't take him everywhere with you as your service dog-in-training. He is not at this age and will not be for awhile. He is now a SD Candidate (prospect) and a young pup. Doctors and university professors did not come that way -- they were babies, toddlers and young children first.

I did come back to add the following:
- My goals for 1st year -
1) Puppy and Beginning Obedience Classes (for social opportunities)
2) AKC S.T.A.R
3) Beginning Trick Class
4) Social outings with local SD group.
5) Work on items needed for AKC CGC evaluation

- Some of my goals for 2nd year -
1) AKC CGC Title
2) AKC CGCA Certificate

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; 01-10-2015 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Add info
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 03:29 PM
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The following item is what I wrote on what my organization calls a Candidate. It is not a law nor what all individuals or our peers follow. It may help you with some guidance. I used the quote included with permission. This item is part of a larger ongoing project (c) 2011, 2012, 2015


Assistance /Service Dog Candidates
by Theresa A. Jennings for ADAP

Approximate age – puppy through 12 to 14 months of age
Age based in part on breed and individual dog

Any normal remaining fear imprint stages will be during this time.
Solid housebreaking and basic manners in the home and to pet-friendly locations are part of candidate training.
Puppy and Beginning Obedience training should be completed during this time.
The candidate should continue ongoing health checks and getting age appropriate vet work.
Evaluations on the suitability of the dog for working should continue.
Foundation work of SD skills and task work can be started at this time.
A beginning trick class or reading a book on the subject can be of immense help in laying this foundation.

When working with a pup during the candidate level you need to think and plan on how you will 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.

Quote from Kirsten Richards, owner of Service Dog Central.

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.

A dog being trained as an Assistance/Service Dog is not a rehab project. If a dog shows people or dog aggression or shows 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.

A dog at the SD Candidate level should not be dressed in a SDIT cape, wear SDIT patches, nor claimed as a SDIT until ready to be passed up to the SDIT level. Any dog before going out into the public as a SDIT should* be able to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen Title or Certificate evaluation.
*Should as is capable of satisfactory completing the 10 tests of the CGC Evaluation - Not that doing the actual evaluation testing is required.

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; 01-10-2015 at 04:01 PM.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILGHAUS View Post
Let's start at the beginning ...

First -- you have no obligation to tell anyone on the Internet what your disability is. If someone came up to you on the street and out of the blue asked you a personal question do you give them an answer?
that's why i specifically said if you don't mind me asking. meaning if you don't mind answering.

i wouldn't mind at all if a stranger asked me a personal question. i'd rather be asked a personal question then a stupid one like do you know what the score is on the game. i always say, "what game? i don't follow any sports". i guess it's 'cause i'm a guy i have to like sports or know what game they're talking about. i'd rather a stranger be personal than stereotypical.

no disability should be something to be embarrassed about IMO. the more people talk about their unseen disability the more people around them get educated on it and avoids future ignorant questions and assumptions.

IME on the internet 99% asking how to get their dog certified as their service dog don't really medically need a service dog but rather think it would be cool to take their dog in stores. everyone has to some degree depression, bi-polar and other issues. when a medical doctor says you need one to function i'm sure he will give the referral to the organization you need to contact with his referral.

so, OP sorry i wasn't trying to be rude. i spent 15 months straight in the al-rasheed district of baghdad dodging bullets, RPGs, mortars, losing friends and even saw a lady get shot in the face but she didn't bleed out of the hole in her face but rather between her face skin and face bone. her face expanded in purple color and looked like the girl from the original willy wonka movie. i took pics of alot in iraq but didn't have the heart to pull the camera out for that.

it is what it is. my point is i can easily go to a doctor and claim PTSD and a dog would help, but i won't. i would love to be able to take my dogs everywhere. i can walk into a store and buy bread without a dog. i would feel like a real scumbag to say i need it. only a doctor can say that. i would feel like i was slapping the people in the face that really do need it if i did it out of greed.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 10:51 AM
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In 1879 General Sherman said, "You donít know the horrible aspects of war. Iíve been through two wars and I know. Iíve seen cities and homes in ashes. Iíve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is ****!"

So many returning vets know the real meaning of these words. There are not enough words in the English language thank our veterans and to acknowledge the price our veterans have paid.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 11:39 AM
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OK, thank you for your service to all who served. If you have read my posts over the years you will see that I often caution people that they do not need to feel that they answer personal questions over the Internet. In discussions via PM that is something that is also brought up.

So to go back to the OP, if you have any questions about the first few steps to get you going -- or if you wish to skip further along please let us know.

And please post and let us know if you are in the U.S. or elsewhere.

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 #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2015, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the advice. I am sorry I didn't reply sooner. I'm in the U.S. I live in Washington state.

Also I do not mind being asked about my disability. I have a heart problem. I wish I could say exactly what it is but we don't know. I had an unsuccessful heart surgery in March of 2010 where my cardiologist dis covered that the original diagnosis was incorrect and that I need more tests and surgery. I was told that getting a service dog would help me know when I am about to have an episode. I can sometimes feel when it will happen but other times I can't. My doctor said that for my safety in certain activities such as driving I would benefit from a service dog.

I assumed that I could get a puppy and have him serviced. I didn't know that isn't the normal way to do things.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2015, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspen22summer View Post
Thank you for all the advice. I am sorry I didn't reply sooner. I'm in the U.S. I live in Washington state.

Also I do not mind being asked about my disability. I have a heart problem. I wish I could say exactly what it is but we don't know. I had an unsuccessful heart surgery in March of 2010 where my cardiologist dis covered that the original diagnosis was incorrect and that I need more tests and surgery. I was told that getting a service dog would help me know when I am about to have an episode. I can sometimes feel when it will happen but other times I can't. My doctor said that for my safety in certain activities such as driving I would benefit from a service dog.

I assumed that I could get a puppy and have him serviced. I didn't know that isn't the normal way to do things.
Hello! I am also in Washington; if you live on the east side Diamonds in the Ruff in Spokane has classes directed toward service/therapy dog owners. They may be willing to provide you with information via email or over the phone or could maybe put you in contact with somebody who can help. I don't have a therapy dog but from what I understand you will want your pup to obtain his CGC and take him to as many places as possible so that he is bomb proof around people, in stores and elevators, up stairs...basically all your regular socialization stuff and then some! As far as whether or not he will alert to your heart episodes, I think that is entirely dependent on him and his personality; not sure if it can be trained... I think sometimes they either "get it" or they don't.

I'm sorry that you are dealing with this, unexplained health problems can really de-rail our lives. :/
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