Service Dogs for PTSD (or other disabilities): Part 1

Service Dogs for PTSD (or other disabilities): Part 1

Okay, I’m breaking my own rules here, I am going to talk about Service Dogs for a moment! But first, I want to share something that is special to our family…

It was four years ago today that I made a trip to the local animal shelter to see this crazy, goofy looking, little pup that Craig insisted that I take a look at and test… that he saw online, to see if it would be a match to him, and capable of being trained for the job of his service dog. Sure enough, the pup tested wonderfully and was a good match to Craig. That day we named the silly pup “Alex”.

I trained Alex to mitigate Craig’s disabilities, put in the time… hundreds of hours, effort, and a lot of daily/nightly work including task training. Alex by all means could carry the title service dog, however he is NOT a service dog. Craig has chosen not to use a service dog (at least at this point), which is OKAY! Alex works for Craig at home and is a wonderful part of our family. I could not imagine our lives without him! I think the picture collage to this says it all. 😉 These are random photos from day one of Alex being with us to present time.

For those of you that do not know much about tasks or are just starting to learn, let me tell you about the photos. They include retrieving items (due to memory/cognitive issues), alerting to people or unusual sounds, working depression, nose/scent work… which he is trained to alert to migraines, he also does house searches, helps with getting one with PTSD‬ and/or depression‬ outside, grounding from nightmares… he is also trained to get me out of the bed when nightmares start if I’m not already awake, working anxiety and grounding from triggers, grounding from flashbacks and helping maintain focus. There is a list of other things he is trained as well. 😉 For a more complete list and my personal writings regarding service dogs, please visit the service dog section of my blog…
“My Journal: Service Dogs” A Spouse’s Story PTSD

So now that I’ve taken a moment to be so very thankful for Alex, let’s get to the service dog talk!

I do want to state up front, I do NOT like spam. 😉 So please do not post specific names, trainers, or organizations. I have found it’s better to keep SD talk in general.

There is one major thing that I have discovered when talking about service dogs… Many do not know or have not seen a “quality trained” service dog! There are many out there, however do you know what they look like, act like, and what they should be like? There unfortunately are many people that take their pets out into public as “service dogs” when they in reality are not or are not trained correctly for the job at hand. Which in return makes it extremely difficult for the true service dog teams.

So I thought, how can I show others what a true service dog looks like? How can I show the extensive hours of work that goes into them? What is a true service dog like out in public (I found a good video that shows the differences as well 😉 )? I mean come on, there are some awesome obedience dogs out there, why can’t they be a service dog? Because a service dog MUST be specifically trained tasks to mitigate a disability, and the handler must be disabled and need a service dog. Not every great pet or obedient, loving, dog will be able to complete to a full service dog working status, just a fact. Even though all dogs are awesome in their own ways and we love them, it does not mean they can all be service dogs.

So I set out on a mission… to find videos for you to watch, that show what quality is and tasks trained for different disabilities. Boy was that a serious mission, lol! Finding quality service dogs (or good examples of SDiT) at work, exercising tasks correctly, and not just people telling about their SD or advertising for someone… was a difficult task. But I found some. 🙂

Just to note: Myself, this page, and my website are in no way affiliated to any of the following people, trainers, or organizations. I have not personally seen these dogs in action or met their handlers, and have not visited any facilities which may be linked to the following videos. They are NOT in any specific order. The videos just show the quality of what I look for to be in a true service dog. 😉 that I wanted you to be able to see.

Tribute to an Assistance Dog

David and Saint skills“- Canines for Service

Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks (pressure)“- Rebecca Potenberg

Block/Cover Training“- ServiceDog Vlog
… And let me tell you, this young lady has done a great job! So you may learn a lot from her other videos too. (please note this is a fully trained service dog which is being re-trained from wheelchair work to chutches, so learning a new position for this task)

Canines for Service Skills Demo“- Canines For Service

How to train a one way alert to service dogs (hearing and medical alert dogs)“- Donna Hill
…This is another great trainer to watch even if you are not self-training. By watching Donna’s videos, they give you a good idea of what is involved with training a service dog, as well as seeing the quality results.

Service Dogs and Public Etiquette” (Bad and Good etiquette examples)

So today as we enjoy AND appreciate Alex being such a huge part of our lives, and Craig’s life… even though he does NOT carry the title service dog, I hope those of you that have been curious and asking questions about service dogs enjoy the videos I found. 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

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