Psychiatric service dogs. Do you have a dog who you think might have the right stuff to become your psychiatric service dog? Here's what you need to know before you proceed.
You should have a psychiatric diagnosis from a doctor who you have seen within the last year. Your doctor should provide a dated letter stating your diagnosis and his/her recommendation for a service dog and a prescription for your service dog.
Have your dog evaluated for suitability as a service dog by an experienced service dog trainer.
Understand and be willing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Determine what specific tasks a service dog will perform for you. Enlist the help of a trainer to ensure these tasks are trained properly.
Train for and pass the Canine Good Citizen test and the Public Access Test with your dog.
PTSD. Over the past few years, combat-related PTSD has become highly visible. As a result, there are a lot of organizations providing service dogs to veterans. If, however, you have civilian PTSD, it may be more difficult to find resources to help you through the process of getting a service dog. Although I cannot provide you with a trained service dog, I can help you train your own. Give me a call at 612.548.1504 and I'll be happy to answer your questions.
My service dog program provides you the opportunity to train your own service dog with guidance from an experienced service dog trainer. When training is complete, you will receive a certificate and an ID. Here are the kinds of things we can work on together.
House manners. Why does it matter if you dog is well behaved at home? Because good (or bad) dog behavior oozes over into all aspects of a dog's training. If a dog is wild and crazy at home, it will be more difficult to get good manners from him in public - a requirement for all service dogs.
Lifestyle training. I work with you where you live, work and play. If your service dog will eventually go with you to watch the kids' soccer games or take the bus to go to work with you or accompany your college-aged son or daughter to school - we'll train in those places. If you eat out a lot, we'll go to restaurants. If you hike or fish or boat, we'll train for that. Together we will create a self-confident service dog who can focus on his job no matter when, no matter where.
Job-specific training. Since a service dog must be trained to specific tasks, we will work together to train your dog to do his specific job. If you need your PTSD dog to clear a room for you, we will train that. If you need your mobility dog to bring things to you or brace you when you have balance issues, we'll train that. Medical alert dog? We'll do scent and alert training. Whatever tasks need to be taught, we'll train them together.
What are the challenges of training your own service dog? It's hard work and if you've never had a dog or never trained a dog, it's harder still. It's time consuming, typically taking one to two years. It's frustrating, since training a dog never follows a straight line from beginning to end. You will have ups and downs and you may ultimately decide you simply can't do it. However ...
What are the rewards of training your own service dog? First, the bond that is created by spending hours upon hours working with a dog is powerful. If you were to have a trained adult service dog magically delivered to your door, that relationship would be entirely different from the one you will have with a service dog you've trained yourself. And the therapeutic value of training your own service dog is one of the best benefits. If you suffer from depression or angry outbursts, night terrors or a fear of being around people in public ... as you train your dog, he will come to understand you and what you need from him. The right dog will help you through the rough times, getting you outside yourself and focused on him - that joyous, wagging, silly, loving ball of fur who will become your best friend. The pride that you will feel as you train your service dog to do more and more challenging things will build your self-esteem, culminating in a lifelong partnership based on mutual respect.
Dog breeds. I work with a lot of Labrador retrievers who are in training to be service dogs. But I am also currently working with mixed breeds, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Australian shepherds, golden-doodles and a mastweiler (mastiff/rottweiler). More important than breed is temperament and trainability. If you have a favorite breed or a family dog who might be trainable as a service dog, give me a call. I'll help you figure out what will work and what won't. 612.548.1504
Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612.548.1504.
Copyright 2009-2017 Dee Bogetti. All rights reserved.
Lily (above) went to her forever home as a wee puppy. She's all grown up now and a working diabetic alert dog.
Want a rough idea of the costs associated with training your own service dog? Click here. This PDF also includes a Service Dog Health Screening form for your veterinarian to complete if you have an existing dog you want to train as a service dog.