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Old 11-22-2014, 05:23 PM   #1
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Service Dog

Does anyone LO have a service dog? We go in 2 weeks to meet a trainer that's going to train one for DS. He's dev delayed, has ADHD, anxiety, autism like social difficulties(not sure how to say this exactly but he doesn't qualify for a dx but every Dr and therapist says this) and he is hearing impaired.
What does your dog do? Any advice?
Mostly we want the dog for safety reasons. He runs when he's overwhelmed, also to wake us when he wakes up. He's also bullied and we think the dog would help him socially feel more confident


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Old 11-22-2014, 08:42 PM   #2
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Cool idea. I don't have one but should look into it for ds
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Old 11-23-2014, 12:02 AM   #3
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Re: Service Dog

Duke worked for years in a SD capacity for Tharen, but he didn't work in the public (anywhere dogs were not allowed) as Tharen did not have a diagnosis until later. The big things to know with a service dog are your rights (read up on ADA) and to be super careful of programs who promise to train a dog for you/your child as many are scams (10-20,000 for a dog that is not that well trained ). Tharen is bipolar, his needs were slightly different but to give you an idea of tasks (and Duke learned many of these with little guidance, he wanted to help his boy, that is huge when it comes to children and SDs).

Duke blocked Tharen from dangerous things around the house (like the stove/oven/climbing things, Tharen was always too capable for his own good and with another special needs child it is hard to have enough hands), he also blocked Tharen from bolting into the road or away from me when out walking. This may not seem like a big deal, I could have just managed him myself but it allowed Tharen to walk on his own and have a bit of autonomy/behave more like a normal child. Duke provided deep tissue therapy (he laid on Tharen's lap) when he started having a tantrum and prevented him from hurting himself or others. Tharen's tantrums were far shorter with Duke to calm him, if I had to restrain him he would fight and become more stressed instead of calmer. Duke was able to predict a tantrum and sometimes head it off by sitting on Tharen's legs and laying his head on Tharen's shoulder so Tharen could focus on him instead of becoming more worked up. Duke woke at night and laid on Tharen to calm him during nightmares/night terrors to allow Tharen to sleep in his own bed.

This is really a cut down idea of what Duke did, he offered so much more. He was Tharen's best friend, confidant, nursemaid when he was sick, support when he was a wobbly toddler (ok he was walking pretty well but Duke was certain he might fall at any moment). He was just absolutely everything to Tharen. We lost him 2 months ago to a brain tumor, it has been really hard.

I have a SDiT (service dog in training), I am training him myself but I will put him through a CGC class when he is a bit older (probably around 1year). I am also bipolar but need slightly different things. I largely need support for my anxiety (my bipolar is mostly controlled). I need him to remind me to take my medication (because I will ignore my alarm), perform deep tissue therapy when I am anxious/stressed, performing guiding tasks when I am anxious/shut down/over stimulated, provide blocking (between me and people who are too close to me), and eventually assuming he is cleared by a vet provide counter balance when the world tips on me (I have some sensory/vestibular issues that cause me to be unsteady for no reason at all plus my meds don't help). He also picks things up that I drop, I can do it myself but because of the dizziness it can be important. I wouldn't have a dog if that were his only task.

I do find having my dog with me makes me able to get out and do things. I'm very paranoid/anxious and being able to focus on my dog prevents me from thinking everyone is staring at me (or not think about it anyway). Unfortunately that is not a trained task and doesn't count. ESA's are not Service dogs and do not have access rights. Psychiatric Service dogs are but people can be very judgmental.

ETA: there are some good service dog groups on Facebook with lots of information.
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Old 11-23-2014, 04:07 AM   #4
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Re: Service Dog

I found this site very informing on service animals and the disability presentation I attended that also includes miniature horses (only other widely accepted at least for Iowa as certified service animals).

Hope that you find someone and not get scammed.

Do your research is about all I can advise.
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