Jump to content
BC Boards
Rebecca, Irena Farm

Sam, Service Dog in Training

Recommended Posts

Well, there's no place to discuss service dogs. I'm on a separate board for that but they are all lab a GSD owners and don't really get it when I talk about Sam jumping through the bathroom window and trying to bring the sheep through the laundry room.

 

After that story I had to explain that no, Sam doesn't have severe separation anxiety. That's just a young Border Collie thinking he'd be helpful.

 

Anyway, I started having panic attacks really badly about four months ago and couldn't leave the house. Or wouldn't maybe. Not sure really.

 

But after them I was massaging Sam to calm down (we had taken a seminar together). He loved this and started demanding massages just as I got panicky. I'd take my meds and settle down, no attack.

 

Then he started demanding a massage way before I could even tell I was getting crazy. But if I took a half dose and did a calming routine with him, I could tell my vital signs were all ramping up, then I'd relax again.

 

So then I ventured out and Sam did the same thing.

 

I got to where I wasn't having panic attacks any more. For the first time since I was a kid I felt like a normal human.

 

I started training Sam so he could go with me to some of my major trigger places. I can't just slap a cape on a dog and start taking him in stores. Well, I could but it's disrespectful and endangering the rights of those who have and need very highly trained dogs.

 

But two weeks ago I started having other issues that were covered up by my more superficial symptoms (this has been the story of the last ten years. I feel like an onion). So Sam and I and my docs are coming up with a broader plan for him.

 

I have tons of pics of Sam working but I have to post via the full website.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good boy Sam! Aren't these dogs amazing?

 

I am sorry to hear you have been having some problems that have impacted your QOL. Fingers crossed that with Sam's help you continue to make progress and can normalize your routine again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Liz. Today and yesterday I have been stuck on the couch again, but it's a big couch and fits Sam and the BedBugz. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dogs are so smart. I know someone who has a seizure-alert dog (it is a Viszla). I am not sure, but I think that it is 'certified'.

 

IMO, I think that Sam would qualify to wear a service dog vest so he could accompany you into public places - if that would help you. I don't know what needs to be done to get Sam certified, but if you wish, I could contact the person with the seizure-alert dog and maybe put you two together (by email). She is a very knowledgeable dog person. This is her second seizure-alert dog, and she has trained both of them. She has also been involved in SAR for ~ 30 years and is the trainer for the local SAR team. She should be able to advise you on if Sam can be certified and how to do it - or be able to point you to someone who can.

 

Jovi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I started training Sam so he could go with me to some of my major trigger places. I can't just slap a cape on a dog and start taking him in stores. Well, I could but it's disrespectful and endangering the rights of those who have and need very highly trained dogs.

 

 

Becca, I disagree with your assessment about Sam wearing a service dog vest for your benefit. I have an acquaintance who has had just such a service dog for several years. He carries a letter from his Dr. that meets the service dog standards for allowing him to be accompanied by his dog (who wears a service dog vest) in any context. It sounds like a very similar set of circumstances to yours. The dog(a sheltie) is not specially trained in any capacity, but does, by his very presence assist this man in coping with situations that would otherwise be overwhelmingly anxiety producing. This way, he is able to reduce the meds he takes. I only mention this because you seem to indicate that you don't feel Sam qualifies as a legitimately recognized service dog simply because he is not trained in a specialized capacity. If Sam assists you in being able to handle situations that you may not otherwise feel able to cope with, perhaps you should consider inquiring of your Dr. what the necessary documentation is, so that he may accompany you anywhere under federally recognized guidelines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everybody!

 

To clarify, legally I actually can just slap a vest on Sam, and he does wear a vest and a functional harness and pack.

 

The vest is more for Sam's benefit however, to alert people he is working and is not available for socializing with his adoring public. ;)

 

Also, there is no legal "certification." I use this term as shorthand for my goal to bring Sam up to the legal standard of ADA defined "service dog."

 

Most of it is common sense and good manners. The rest comprise task training I might never have thought of adding to his alert and grounding assistance.

 

Sam's current trained tasks:

Alert to meds alarm

Stand in doorway until meds are actually taken :P

Physically move me if I'm unresponsive to phone or door

Help me find the exit/car when lost (he loves this game!)

Brace against pressure

Brace hard on command (he's a big boy, thank God!)

Lie in certain positions on command

 

I'm drawing a blank. He just learned a new one last weekend and I can't remember out of context. Very bad week.

 

Then there's the convenience stuff. He has a pair of wee saddlebags with extra meds, car keys, keylight, some cash, a reflective vest for him, and a couple other things I've forgotten.

 

In a couple of months, once the training is less intense, we will move up to a normal size pack and he will assume his full role as my externalized brain.

 

I'm really proud of Sam. It's like being hit by lightning to a) have the alert dog you need volunteer in your own household, B) have him able to take the advanced training mentally, c) have him physically a match for your needs d) have him temperamentally suitable for the work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so glad to hear this Becca - good things are on the horizon! Good dog, Sam. Sounds like he's exactly what you've needed. Isn't it amazing how we sometimes get exactly what we need, even when we don't expect it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good deal, Becca. Gabe is happy that his younger brother has stepped up to the challenge! WTG Sam!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really appreciate the effort she is going through to make sure her dog is fully qualified to do his job and behave well in public. I have a family member that needs a service dog. I would hate to think of what would happen if her rights were denied because of the idiots who abuse the privilege and take their pets into stores under the guise of being a SD.

 

Just today I was in line at the furniture store and the woman behind me had her Shi Tzu with her. Another customer asked her how she got into the store with the dog. Her answer went something like this...

 

"Oh, well, I just went online and bought a service dog vest. I have high blood pressure so I tell people he is my service dog. Really I just think it's fun to take him everywhere with me like restaurants. You should do the same thing with your dog if you don't want to leave him home alone."

 

:blink::o:(

 

That makes me so angry. I almost turned around and gave her a piece of my mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Desert Ranger previously had posted some websites regarding that... he had anxiety things going on from PTSD to who knows what... but Ranger's dog learned it all... Anyone wanting to know more can do a search on those threads for the info sites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got links too. The ADA recently made some changes that pretty dramatically affect Emotional Support Animals, Psychiatric Service Dogs, and the definition of a service animal in general.

 

There is an excellent web site which spells out these recent changes and discusses their implications in simple terms. And because I'm on a phone I will have to look that up and come back. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Emily, the whole family is clever dogs that watch out for ya. This is why I wanted a puppy from that line but I had no idea how important it would turn out to be!

 

Sam has his Real Pack now and will carry all my necessaries when we are out. Thanks to Erin who donated it so we could get this last phase of his basic training underway!

 

We'll add a couple more stores and one more church service.

 

The lady with the high blood pressure has an ESA. It's illegal for her to bring her pal into a restaurant. It is not legal for an owner to ask what HER disability, but she may not realize he can legally ask her what tasks her dog is trained to do for her.

 

Sam already does far more than what is legally necessary so I can't remember the minimum. Six maybe?

 

I've only had to answer this question twice. Both at Walmarts. They really are strict! It's good practice though, so Sam and I go to Walmart quite often. It's also a gigantic trigger place.

 

Anyway. They are very nice, stop me, and say, "Is this your service dog? Very nice! What does he do?"

 

By law, I only have to answer what he DOES. I never get past number one. "If I black out and forget where I am, he leads me back to the car."

 

They looked slightly alarmed and waved me through, okay, thanks, we don't want any searchh and rescue parties running through the store, bad for business, good dog. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Desert Ranger previously had posted some websites regarding that... he had anxiety things going on from PTSD to who knows what... but Ranger's dog learned it all... Anyone wanting to know more can do a search on those threads for the info sites.

 

I thought of him, too. He sells bandanas at https://www.desertbandanna.com/. He might have some good tips.

 

What a good dog Sam is. Sounds like you chose very wisely with him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By law, I only have to answer what he DOES. I never get past number one. "If I black out and forget where I am, he leads me back to the car."

 

They looked slightly alarmed and waved me through, okay, thanks, we don't want any searchh and rescue parties running through the store, bad for business, good dog. :D

 

Hahaha the image of the panicked Wal-Mart workers is too good!

 

I teach at a guide dog school, and our students have run into static several times at various locations, even with credential-laden trainers walking with them. One mall security guard, who was very nice, told us that a woman had brought in her "service cat"; another man had brought in a "service snake".

 

These people really are making it more difficult for those truly in need. The ADA law is definitely improving with it's definitions but too few places know or care about the law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hahaha the image of the panicked Wal-Mart workers is too good!

 

I teach at a guide dog school, and our students have run into static several times at various locations, even with credential-laden trainers walking with them. One mall security guard, who was very nice, told us that a woman had brought in her "service cat"; another man had brought in a "service snake".

 

These people really are making it more difficult for those truly in need. The ADA law is definitely improving with it's definitions but too few places know or care about the law.

So true! And people are quite blunt that they get the vest to circumvent the rules that *everyone else* has to follow, and therefore make it hard for those who really need assistance.

 

Good boy, Sam - I'm so happy for you, Becca!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have 2 dogs that alert to seizures. I have no idea how they do it. One day they started getting really antsy, pacing and running back and forth between me and one of my patients. A few minutes later the cat had a grand mal seizure. They have repeated their alert routine since then, so I know it wasn't a fluke.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seizure alert is getting pretty controversial, believe it or not. It is difficult to find a dog or animal that will continue to alert over years to come, consistently.

 

Many animals will become anxious at abnormal signs that precede seizures. Kind of like neural earthquakes.

 

The problem is that for a great many of these, they feel no motivation to continue reacting once the seizure activity is part of normal life.

 

It takes the right kind of dog to be trained into a true seizure RESPONSE dog, and then a Seizure Support Dog.

 

Medical RESPONSE entails specific trained and consistent responses to oncoming medical emergencies. The dog may apply pressure, bark for attention, guide the handler to safety, or stop and refuse to continue walking.

 

Medical support may include a great variety of tasks. For seizures, the dog may sit or stand near a fallen handler, help them to safety with physical support, bark for assistance this time, and lots more. Inside the home the dog

 

Sam is now a Medical Response Dog, and with further task training he'll earn support dog status (and undisputed Service Dog status too).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rebecca, this is so interesting. Especially coming from you, because over the years your posts have always been so intelligent and full of common sense. Best wishes to your partnership with Sam, may it continue to grow and prosper!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great fun today. Sam tried out some new gear, his full pack. I only half loaded it though. I put everything I hope he will carry and weighed it. Three pounds! Whoa. That's a lot for a baby dog. Even half weight I took the pack off halfway through Dollar General.

 

We also went to a grocery store for the first time. This was not on the original list of Sam Must Go places but it's top of the list now. Sam loves his new comfy under harness the pack attaches to.

 

And apparently it looks much more businesslike than his old harness (though that was a service harness too), because no one gave us more than a smile anywhere.

 

Tomorrow, first formal morning worship service. We were doing casual services only, until my diagnosis and Sam's function changed. Sam's getting religion!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Formal" religion, not just "casual" religion. Go, Sam and Becca!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm soooo happy that Sam likes his new pack! And what a bonus that it seems to be easing entry into stores for you guys. I'll be looking forward to hearing how tomorrow's service goes - I'm sure he'll do stellar, though. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the privilege of meeting both Becca and Sam at the Belle Grove SDT this spring. Becca, I'm inspired by your forthrightness and your fortitude! You go, gal! And Sam... what a talented, gorgeous SWEETHEART hunk of a guy! The two of you make a great pair. Keep it up and keep us posted on how things progress with you both!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it was just prayer and discussion before. And sometimes pizza. Pizza was Sam's favorite subject. Now it's going to be exegesis. Romans 12.

 

Might be tough cause Sam's pretty much a Christus Victor kinda guy and they come down squarely in the substitutionary/penalty reconciliation camp here. But it's all cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alchemist, were you the person I talked to for a while on the Open field? My memory is so awful even for me these days, I'm sorry. You can fill me in privately if you prefer. I hate these holes in my brain. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...