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Old 01-24-2004, 09:02 PM   #1
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Question anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

I am just curious if any of you have used a service dog for PTSD? I place service and protection dogs with survivors of rape, domestic violence, childhood trauma, etc. I just placed one with a woman who was almost killed and relocated out of state.
Is anyone interested in this type of program or does anyone have a service dog?
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Old 01-26-2004, 09:53 AM   #2
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Arrow Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

Hi. I would really like to hear more about this program.

I am a young adult (18) living on my own. I have PTSD, Anxiety, as well as some other issues caused by severe abuse/trauma when I was younger. I did some research on service dogs and read some stories about people whith PTSD having service dogs. I think its a great idea. I would someday like to get a service dog, problem, they are hard to find and very very expensive.

 
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Old 01-26-2004, 09:24 PM   #3
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

Actually they are neither hard to find nor expensive. They're as close as your nearest animal shelter. I run the program on my own right now and am writing for some grants to provide aid to those who want a dog but can't afford some of the cost involved. I am training my own service dog. She was expensive but that's because she was born with the capability to alert on my narcolepsy attacks prior to having them. She was 750.00 but many don't need the alert abilities. You can find one that will work with you by constantly visiting your shelter or local rescues and you'll know when it's the right dog.
Dogs sense things and either shy away or are drawn to you. Don't take the first dog you see because it's cute, you have to have the connection.
Do you have any experience with dogs? What type and with what breeds? What type of living situation are you in? House, apt, etc.? I can help you determine what to look for needs wise and you'll have to trust your instincts on the match...I can help a lot with it, but it's got to be a connection. The people that click with their dogs have the most successful partnerships.
If you're interested, post some more info and I'll do my best to get you going in the right direction.
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Old 01-26-2004, 09:43 PM   #4
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

I know that a lot of service dogs come from shelters, and I know dogs from shelters aren't very expensive, but the dogs there don't have the training to be service dogs. I don't have the money to pay for training and I don't think I'd do much good training a dog by myself.

I'm in a large apartment with a small fenced yard (10 by 10) I have some experience with dogs. Miniature poodles, Rottweilers, Pitbulls, German Shepards, and Mutts. I really like dogs and they like me.

My doctor thinks getting a service animal would help me to be able to go out of the house more. Maybe so, hopefully some day I will find a service dog for me. If I knew how to train a dog to be a service dog, or where to get cheap/free training it would be a lot easier. Right now everything seems so difficult though.

I'd really like to hear more and get some more info about what you do.

 
Old 01-27-2004, 09:44 AM   #5
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

I'd like to hear more about this too. I have a service dog that I'm training myself. It's HARD work. You know where I can get some help?
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Old 01-27-2004, 09:33 PM   #6
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

I haven't heard of people with PTSD getting service dogs before. I would definitely like to hear more abou this. I suffer from PTSD due to sexual assault and other problems. I think that having an animal would make me feel much safer and get me more active than I have been in a while. This might sound like a really inappropriate question, but part of the reason that this interests me is because I want a dog that is capable of protection. Can a service dog be trained to warn in an intimidating manner strangers and others. I have had miniature schnauzers which are sooo protective of me sometimes I wished they were a bigger dog so that they might actually intimidate someone. I have also had wire fox terriers who loved and protected me but good luck training one. I like mutts a lot.

 
Old 01-27-2004, 11:03 PM   #7
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

There are service dog groups on the internet, books, and some clubs may also be in your area. Another place to check is the Delta Society. They don't have forums or chat, just great info on service dog laws, training, expectations, etc.
I am training Phoenix on my own as well. It depends on what you're training them for. If it's just for emotional support, basic and intermediate obedience is a must. They need to sit, lay, stay, come, on command as well as not jump on others and be properly socialized. You should never use a dog that has not been properly socialized...there's too much risk of it not working well under stress or running into other animals. I would suggest taking them to pet friendly businesses (petsmart, petco) and socialize them with many animals, children, toddlers and adults. They don't need to be aggressive to protect you. I discourage any aggression from the get go. This usually is not useful against a perp, but can be turned against you.
Another training method I use is clicker training. It's too hard to explain in print, but there are sites that will explain how to clicker train, but I find the easiest way is to do it with a trainer so you can ask questions and techniques. You can probably find a regular obedience trainer for this. Look for people who use positive reinforcement, not force. You want your dog to work because it loves you, not because it's afraid of you.
The more specialized training comes in when retrieving specific objects, counter-balance (for people who have a hard time stabilizing), mobility, and guide work.
I could better answer this if all interested would post what type of work they need their dog for...solely emotional support, mobility, counter-balance, etc. It would make it easier to know if this is something you can learn on your own or if you really need to enlist the help of a trainer. The only times I would say you absolutely need a trainer is for seeing eye, mobility, heavy retrieving or you have no experience with dogs and don't know what to do.
I'll keep checking...post your needs and I'll address what I can. Also, if interested in obtaining one, post wants w/ personality...if you don't get the right personality there's no way it will work. Personality and connecting are the most important factors...everything else is just training.
To the last poster after free spirit...I saw your name and a second page but it wouldn't let me go to a second page, just kept putting me back to the first, so if you don't mind, please re-post.
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:21 PM   #8
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

Hey pfunk, your post popped after I posted mine..so here goes. Yes dogs can be trainedd for protection work but I recommend against this if you are not totally comitted to ongoing training, about 600hrs in the first year and touch ups after that, have a great shutzund trainer and the dog has an absolutely stable temperament.
I fully intend to train Phoenix in shutzund should all this be in place. My narcolepsy attacks can leave me incapacitated and at risk for several things. One is the lack of ability to protect my kids, myself or during the sleep attacks I have walked into traffic, so she'll be taught to block as well. Shutzund is not something to use for show. You shouldn't use it as a, "Hey, check this out...and trigger the dog." This makes them unstable and also shows the owner to be irresponsible with a dog capable of maming or killing.
To give ou an example..Phoenix's dad is trained in shutzund...the owner was in a store the other day and he was in a down stay. A man came in and began harassing the manager, he remained in a down until it became physical. The minute it turned physical he did a bark and hold. He never physically made contact but turned on the growling, barking and showing teeth. The guy begged off for a minute and the dog went back to a down stay, then the guy went physical again, same result. He never bit, nor touched this man but kept it from escalating. Had it became violent and didn't stop, he would have bitten the man on the arm and held on as he pulled him off and stopped the threat. He would also have reacted the same way, without the physical contact on the man's part if he was given the command. That's a good schutzund dog. They are free thinking so if you're incapacitated, they will respond but not with excessive force. If told he will also guard.
When his owner is having a panic attack he does a jump alert, makes eye contact and then starts goofin' to bring her out of it. He makes her laugh and stops the attack. He also alerts on migraines, asthma and any other medical.
Most of these dogs used for this purpose are of size but do not intimidate with aggression. Any dog is capable of reading a situation and jumping in to protect their owner. This however should not be encouraged. Many times the presence of the dog is enough to stop someone from ever aggressing on you in the first place. The dog also should be socialized...many think that if they socialize their dog, they'll lose the ability to protect....nothing is further from the truth. A service dog needs to be great all around and well rounded. The more people they come into contact with, the more they learn what is trustworthy and what is not. It gives them a variety of experiences with people.
It should also be kept quiet if your dog is trained in schutzund because even if the dog is justifiably triggered you could be help liable for it because you knowingly used a trained attack dog as a service dog. This is bogus, but happens.....similar to a rotti being put down for a nip that is blown into an all out, unprovoked attack that mamed someone, when the reality is it left a puncture in the leg of someone trying to get into your house. Better safe than sorry. You also don't want some idiot who knows schutzund commands to try to trigger your dog...
You'll find that almost all people who work with service dogs are against this training. I am for it but only under very strict guidance, extensive knowledge of handling and training, diligence and continued training. If you're not up to this type of work, you need to rethink. The average person, unless at high risk of attack or assault, would be find using a sizable dog for a deterrant and in all honesty probably the only way for most to go.
The only reason for my wanting to train Phoenix is due to the fact that a full blown cataplexy attack will render me paralyzed for upto 30min. In the wrong place a lot can happen in that time, even less. I am still aware, just unable to move.
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Old 01-28-2004, 09:48 AM   #9
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

Here is my original post:
"I know that a lot of service dogs come from shelters, and I know dogs from shelters aren't very expensive, but the dogs there don't have the training to be service dogs. I don't have the money to pay for training and I don't think I'd do much good training a dog by myself.

I'm in a large apartment with a small fenced yard (10 by 10) I have some experience with dogs. Miniature poodles, Rottweilers, Pitbulls, German Shepards, and Mutts. I really like dogs and they like me.

My doctor thinks getting a service animal would help me to be able to go out of the house more. Maybe so, hopefully some day I will find a service dog for me. If I knew how to train a dog to be a service dog, or where to get cheap/free training it would be a lot easier. Right now everything seems so difficult though.

I'd really like to hear more and get some more info about what you do. "

Not sure if you saw it or not.

I would like to obtain a service dog that could go out in public with me. Because of my severe anxiety I'm unable to leave my house much. If I had a service dog things that I would want him to be able to do are - Go out in public with me, and help me know what sounds are real and which are not (like during flashbacks for instance) Also would want a dog who was very active and playful who I could take jogging/hiking and play with.

I have seen one pitbull service dog. It was so cute. I think it's great to have a well behaved/socialized service dog that is this breed so that it can help the general public to realize that if they are properly trained and socialized they are a wonderful breed.

I tend to get along best with pitbulls, rottweilers, and mutts. I don't have much experience with other big breeds and as for the smaller dog breeds, well I don't really have the same connection with them. I like a doggy that's big enough that I can give him a giant hug without worrying about squishing him lol.

 
Old 01-29-2004, 07:48 PM   #10
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

Hey! I train dogs (and other types of animals also) for people with PTSD, and other probs.
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Old 01-29-2004, 08:34 PM   #11
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaniLou
Hey! I train dogs (and other types of animals also) for people with PTSD, and other probs.
Please, do either of you know where I can get a serivice animal?

 
Old 01-29-2004, 10:53 PM   #12
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

Hi Dani, glad to meet another animal person. I think this is a great service and needs to more available to people in need.
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Old 01-29-2004, 10:54 PM   #13
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

You have to be more specific about what type of dog you're looking for. Do you need one who also can be used to protect, just a companion, any experience with breeds, training, etc. any medical problems the dog may need to help with???
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Old 01-29-2004, 11:03 PM   #14
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel77
You have to be more specific about what type of dog you're looking for. Do you need one who also can be used to protect, just a companion, any experience with breeds, training, etc. any medical problems the dog may need to help with???
Are my posts not coming through correctly I know the first time I posted it showed that there was a post but then it didn't show up on here. Then the next time it didn't show up there was a new post but my post did show up on the board.

Well here it is again...

Here is my original post:
"I know that a lot of service dogs come from shelters, and I know dogs from shelters aren't very expensive, but the dogs there don't have the training to be service dogs. I don't have the money to pay for training and I don't think I'd do much good training a dog by myself.

I'm in a large apartment with a small fenced yard (10 by 10) I have some experience with dogs. Miniature poodles, Rottweilers, Pitbulls, German Shepards, and Mutts. I really like dogs and they like me.

My doctor thinks getting a service animal would help me to be able to go out of the house more. Maybe so, hopefully some day I will find a service dog for me. If I knew how to train a dog to be a service dog, or where to get cheap/free training it would be a lot easier. Right now everything seems so difficult though.

I'd really like to hear more and get some more info about what you do. "

Not sure if you saw it or not.

I would like to obtain a service dog that could go out in public with me. Because of my severe anxiety I'm unable to leave my house much. If I had a service dog things that I would want him to be able to do are - Go out in public with me, and help me know what sounds are real and which are not (like during flashbacks for instance) Also would want a dog who was very active and playful who I could take jogging/hiking and play with.

I have seen one pitbull service dog. It was so cute. I think it's great to have a well behaved/socialized service dog that is this breed so that it can help the general public to realize that if they are properly trained and socialized they are a wonderful breed.

I tend to get along best with pitbulls, rottweilers, and mutts. I don't have much experience with other big breeds and as for the smaller dog breeds, well I don't really have the same connection with them. I like a doggy that's big enough that I can give him a giant hug without worrying about squishing him lol.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

So like I said before, mostly need a service animal to help with anxiety/ptsd/agoraphobia. I would like a dog that could protect me if I was in need of protection but also well behaved, friendly enough that he could come everywhere in public with me.

Last edited by lilTroublemaker; 01-29-2004 at 11:05 PM.

 
Old 01-30-2004, 12:03 AM   #15
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Re: anyone use a service dog for PTSD?

DDDUUUUHHHHH, sorry, I did see that, but had some recent trauma in my life and didn't re-read before posting. I'm sorry.
Anyway, you can do the training. I would go for a dog usually 6mos old or older because they're slightly mellower, easier to potty train and more fun than having to wait for the shots to become effective against parvo and other virus'. I would steer clear of the pits, not because I think they're mean, but because many people will have a preconcieved notion about you. I've seen it often. On the other hand, if you don't mind people making snide comments and are willing to educate those who are afraid due to ignorance, than great!! They deffinately need to be seen for what they are, great dogs, in the right hands.
the main things you need to know you can get in basic obedience classes, you just have to work on them constantly. My main commands right now for Phoenix are sit, down, stay, off, leave-it...and my favorite..GOOD GIRL!! She's awesome in the stores, she's mellow, mindful of others, doesn't jump, and automatically goes into a down if we're stopped for more than about 10sec. That she did on her own, but she came from an awesome breeder...very few in my part.
Now, go to the shelter as often as possible and get to know the workers. Tell them what you're looking for and what your situation is and once they get a feel for you, they will call you and let you know if they have anything that may fit your needs. I would see if you could have a person skilled in dog handling and personality assessments go with you, if you don't have this type of experience. You may want to contact your local obedience trainers or rescue groups to see if someone would do this for you on a volunteer basis, so the money can be spent on the needed supplies. Don't go for hyper, for the purpose of your hiking, just alert and responsive, they'll keep up. That's why I prefer the older dogs.
One breed I'm partial to is the Great Pyrenees, because it's been my experience that they're awesome with children, wary of strangers but not aggressive towards them and if they feel the urge to protect have a bark that you will feel inside your chest! They are awesome. But they are also stubborn!! They are not the type of dog you see in agility trials, fun sports, and in fact, AKC doesn't require the pyr to demonstrate in the obedience ring. That's not to say they're impossible, quite the contrary. Many of these guys are brought in as therapy animals in hospitals, nursing homes and rehab facilities because they are calm and don't tend to be scared easily. Fear and aggression are two big no-nos in a pyr....run away from one like this. Your best luck for these is a breed specific rescue or call the pounds. Many are given up because the owner didn't realize how big they get or they are stubborn and the owner expects them to be a human pleaser. My pyr, Nana, is awesome. My children can walk her. She is great on a leash, stands quietly by my side when I'm teaching bite safety and is laid back. Kids at the schools maul her and she just sits there. But you also have to know your dog, not all like this, but I have yet to see a pyr react badly to children or even indifferent...that to me would be a bad sign. They are also IMO the greatest type of protection dog because they are intimidating by size and sound, almost no risk of unprovoked bites and about the only way to trigger one is for someone to try to harm you or children. They won't tollerate that. Nana took a guy down once. I was in my kitchen to write out a check for the food he brought and asked him to wait outside, as I had only had her for 3wks. A few seconds after my back was turned my screen door opened and I heard Nana go nuts! I shot out of the kitchen in time to see him running up my stairs and her nailing him in the chest with her paws and flipping him onto the landing!! She stood over him growling until he chose to scoot out on his back, no check in hand, but body parts in tact.
This to me was the greatest display....she protected me, but never went overboard. She could have ripped his face off, but as soon as he was not able to hurt me, she just stood her ground. I have no doubt that had he continued to pursue me, she would have bitten, but although justified in her "attack" she could have bitten, but seemed to know what was needed to stop the threat. She has also chased of the power company a few times. She'll let them in my back yard if there are no children back there. I put a warning on their computers to knock before going back there because I heard screaming one day and looked out the front window to see her in hot persuit, but as soon as he was off my property and away from my son, she ran back to the back yard to watch my son. So she's not protective of outside property unless kids are there...inside, don't come in unless I'm home, not incappacitated and welcome you. She never advances on anyone, just barks furiosly until told to stop.
I hate this at times, because they are louder than most dogs....sounds like a 300lb rabid rotti on stearoids!! LOL I call her salesman control!! Seriously, I have been looking out the window, see salesmen knocking on doors, they knock on mine and hear her, turn around and leave before I ever answer the door! It's great. But I love the fact that they're not a high risk biter, they are sizeable, but don't eat much. They do need to be brushed often, but are what I call wash and wear. If she gets muddy, I just wait for it to dry and then brush her....most of it's gone before she's dry, but the rest goes with the brush and they stay pure white, with little bathing. But brushing's important.
If you get a chance, look up a few breeds and tell me what you think...also check these ones out and let me know your opinion on them.
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