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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What does it take to get a service dog and would my "condition" qualify in registering my dog as one?

Let me explain...

I'm 16 years old and as long as I can remember I've suffered from Agoraphobia. (For those who don't know what it is: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/agoraphobia/DS00894 )

I can't even go into simple places like Wal-Mart and I've even had to have my mom walk me out to the car because I'd be crying. I also have a problem where I constantly have to use the bathroom. Even if I don't, I feel like I do because for me it's an "escape" from what I'm doing. I was on medication for a little over a year for bipolar/depression problems. The results? I became suicidal and attempted to hang myself and cut myself multiple times. After my mom found out I was taken off the meds. This is when I realized how much animals helped me. I started taking my dogs anywhere allowed and oddly enough I'd have no problems so long as they were with me. After my dad passed away (It's been almost 6 months now) my problems got a lot worse. Now mom wants to put me BACK on medications but I'm scared it'll just be like last time. I haven't taken any since I was like 12 or 13 but just because it's been years doesn't mean I wont have the same effects and I'm not really willing to test it to see.

I've been thinking about this for months now, instead of medications would it be possible for me to get a service dog (My GSD would be the one I'd use) to take with me when I go somewhere. Would my problem even be considered a "disability"?

Does anyone have any information on this that I could read up about?

Also if I could register him, would he be allowed into colleges? I've dropped out of school. My fears became to much to handle and I became homeschooled but because of my mom having to take care of my dad when he was sick I never did work. Since turning 16 we've only sent in school papers so that I could get my permit. (Which took 3 tries for me to get (And barely got it) because I'd freak out so badly being inside the building and feeling the urge to use the bathroom, I'd forget everything I knew and my whole thought would be on getting out and to the bathroom.) I'd like to go for my GED next summer which will require classes because I can't remember hardly anything from school. Would he be allowed to come with me?

Information, links, ect would be awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Right now I don't have one but mom wants to get me one soon so I'll ask about it then.

Thats terrible to hear about the dog getting hit.
I'm sure it was a hard loss. < 3

Chance came from Animal Control so I'm not sure how much socializing/care he had before. I know he's scared of public bathrooms which is probably because of the stalls/shelter kennels being kind of the same trapped area. He did well when I took him to the pet store though besides barking twice but he listened pretty well when I told him to hush which is good to be his first time in public. He doesn't like the vet either but thats probably because of having his butt swabbed and getting IV's and whatnot his first time going. (He came to me in the late stages of Parvo.) He's smart and already knows lots of basic commands so I think he'd do well with some more work.

My first plans when I got him was to get his CGC, TDI and do agility and/or frisbee with him. I'm hoping to get him into his first obedience classes in March. The school I'm interested in offers CGC testing at the end of the 8 weeks which I'm sure he'll pass with some work. I've never had my dogs in classes before, I've always did trainning myself (Including with stubborn breeds like my old Siberian Husky) so this will be quite a new experience but I'm hoping the trainner can help me in finding who I need to go to, to get whatever needs to be done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow, that site has some really helpful things and honestly I can already find a need for one.

I have a fear of being embarrassed and when I have to leave the room several times (Especually when my peeing urge comes in) it really makes me feel panicy and I feel bad once I'm out of the situation and calming down because my mom has to drop what shes doing and come with me. Having Chance with me as an "excuse" and as mental support would really help.

The following task can be an effective coping mechanism in the workplace, preventing loss of self control in front of others. The dog is trained to assist the person to escape from a certain conversation, a room, or a building during a panic attack. The dog is taught to jump up and paw the person’s leg if small, nose nudge it if large, or to start nuzzling, licking the person’s hand, when given surreptitious hand signal. This provides the human partner with a plausible reason for taking a break from an intolerable situation with a boss, client or co-worker, thus saving face or the job. Some breeds can learn to vocalize, whine on command, “talk” or give a short yip, with a surreptitious hand signal, (for example, flexing the first digit of a forefinger) increasing the impression that it is urgent for the disabled person to take dog outside before the dog has an accident in the office due to the dog’s alleged stomach or bowel upset.

* Dog trained to “bother” his partner with pawing or a nose nudge, providing a plausible excuse to leave.

* Dog may be trained to vocalize on silent signal as if urgently needing to go outside.


That would really help me in not panicing as bad. I know it sounds bad to use a dog as an excuse but I can't even begin to imagine how much my life would change for the better if I could get out of situations that easy without having to bug my mom to stop her shopping or whatever shes doing just because I'm starting to have problems.

Standing between me and someone else would also be helpful.

There are many situations in which an emotional over reaction can be a very humiliating problem. It is especially inappropriate when it happens in the workplace and might cost someone a job or a promotion. Battling this problem through teamwork involves interacting with the dog in ways that can break the undesired train of thought triggering the emotional overload. A service dog can be trained to perform one or more tactile diversion tasks to distract the human partner’s attention at such times, though if insufficient, then an optional extra, [ See Disclaimer] such as petting or a “break the spell” approach can be tried, modified for the workplace.

These tasks may have an incidental therapeutic benefit, giving a feeling of solace to some handlers, but their primary purpose is to empower the human partner to recover and sustain emotional control in settings where uncontrolled emotional reactions are unacceptable.

* Lap Up on Command - dog stands on hind legs, forepaws in the partner’s lap, his weight and warmth a tactile stimulus, but only counts as a task if dog trained to remain passively in this position for at least 2 - 5 minutes or more during the emotional crisis. Should give dog a rest, all four paws on the ground, for one minute, before asking him to repeat it if this task is needed for more than a maximum of five minutes.

* Dog trained to lick the face and neck of partner on command for a minimum of one minute or more to distinguish it from untrained spontaneous behavior which is not recognized in a court of law as a legally acceptable service dog task. This is not “kissing” for comfort but an obnoxious behavior in its vigor, designed to “snap the partner out of it” so he/she can get up, leave the scene till regaining one’s composure.


This would help as well. Trainning the dog to get my mind on him and not the thoughts in my mind that cause my panic attacks would help me go out in public a lot easier. It's standing by myself while mom is doing something and having nothing to keep my mind from wandering off to thoughts (Such as having to go to the bathroom) is a big problem. I've also had times where I'll sit down and get so deep into my thoughts that it can take up to 10 minutes for me to snap out of it which has become so common now that it's scary.

And just things like that. I never really put thought into what could help me besides having the dog there but there is a lot more than I realized that could really help me through having him there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh and as for clicker trainning I have used it before though I haven't introduced Chance to it yet.
 
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