Dog Site - Dog Stuff
Dog Forum | Dog Pictures

Go Back   Chazhound Dog Forum > Dog Discussions and Dog Talk Forums > The Dog Breeds


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-20-2013, 10:36 PM
BriannaLeigh92 BriannaLeigh92 is offline
Active Pup
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 9
Smile Berner - Psychiatric Service Dog

Hi all! My name is Bri. I live in CT, and I have been looking for some resources around me for getting myself a psychiatric service dog. I am 20 and I have anxiety disorder, depression, agoraphobia, bipolar 2, and obsessive compulsive tendencies. I would want a PSD to help me with these issues, and I heard that berners make great PSD's because they are large I feel that it would also give me a sense of protection which is also a fear of mine. I am having a really hard time locating any places in CT that could help me and get me set up with a PSD. I would want it already trained and everything, I don't want to train myself (too stressful!) Any help would be greatly appreciated... Feel free to PM me or just reply to this thread. I am so isolated now because of all of my issues and really am not living my life at all, and I feel that having a PSD would be SO great for me. Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-20-2013, 10:41 PM
Julee's Avatar
Julee Julee is offline
Club Terrible - President
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Kent, CT
Posts: 2,743
Default

Welcome! Where are you? I live in Kent with a training partner in Wallingford. We both have owner trained PSDs and would be happy to help Shoot me a PM if you'd like, I'd love to chat
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-20-2013, 10:43 PM
Greenmagick's Avatar
Greenmagick Greenmagick is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 3,008
Default

I know an awesome Berner breeder in CT but have no clue on the PSD aspect
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-20-2013, 10:46 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 9,036
Default

Giant dogs are a huge hassle in public access situations. They're hard to fit into small spaces. I have a smooth collie (my autism SD) who is 26" tall and 70 pounds, and he can even be hard to fit places. I do not recommend a giant breed unless you physically need one (ie, a tall dog for someone really tall, a heavy and stout dog for someone who's heavy and needs mobility work).

As far as getting a dog trained, most places use labs or goldens, and so that's what you'd have to settle for. I owner-trained with the help of two trainers and dog that was already a year old and VERY well socialized, and trained in basic obedience and some SAR foundations. I do know some programs use rescues, so you might be able to find a bit more variety there, and some places do specialize in other breeds (GSDs, collies, poodles). I do not recommend owner-training for anyone with their first SD (I would have preferred a program dog, but there simply were none that trained what I needed). Very few people can get it right on their first try, especially without prior SD experience. I think going with a program is a very good choice.

One program that I have heard good things about as far as PSDs go is Susquehanna Service Dogs. http://www.keystonehumanservices.org...gs/default.php At least I think they train PSDs. Whatever program you go with, it is important to make sure they are reputable, actually train the dogs, and have healthy dogs. All SDs need to be temperamentally sound, but PSDs even moreso because they have to stay calm and collected even when you're not. A dog freaking out when you need help is NOT helpful.

Also, welcome!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-20-2013, 11:22 PM
Romy's Avatar
Romy Romy is offline
Taxiderpy
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 9,951
Default

Welcome!

Sael has a lot of great info. I agree that going with a trainer is a great choice for a first time handler. Even after the dog is placed with you there will be some behavioral fine tuning and having someone to mentor you through that and with any questions or problems that arise later is invaluable.

For breeds, I agree with Sael. There are a few general things you want to keep in mind when selecting a prospect.

1. Health. You want to select a prospect from health tested lines. It takes about 2 years to finish a dog and have it ready to work. It would be devastating to invest two years worth of training, time, money, and emotion, only to have to wash the dog a couple of years later because of joint problems or something similar.

My dog had to be retired at 5 years old because he developed epilepsy, which was a freak occurrence because there is no family history of it (he was poisoned).

2. Longevity. Similar reasons as number 1. Two year to train a dog. If you pick a breed that tends to live 7-9 years, you're only going to get 5-ish years of work out of it depending on whether it works up to the day it dies or has to retire early from age related health problems.

3. Size. There are pros and cons to all sizes of dogs.

Small dogs are very portable and less expensive to keep. Portable is a big deal when you're working with a service dog. They tend to live longer. If you don't need mobility assistance you might consider a smaller breed.

The cons, if they're small enough people can step on them. They can get bumped by shopping carts. Worrying about your dog's safety can make an outing more stressful. People also tend to take small dogs less seriously as working dogs. Many will assume you are just sneaking your pet dog into stores. Most probably won't say anything about it, but someone at some point might.

Giant dogs are good at mobility related tasks in addition to psychiatric tasks. Their presence is comforting for people with social anxieties. People will approach you about your service dog to say nice and not nice things no matter what, but I've noticed that they tend to take medium and larger breeds more seriously as working dogs.

Giant dogs are harder to fit places. Crowded aisles, in cars, in bulkhead seating in an airplane, etc.

Medium dogs have the best of both worlds (talking about aussies, collies, and stuff here). They're big enough to be sturdy, small enough to be pretty portable, and tend to have a decent lifespan and health compared to most giant breeds.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-20-2013, 11:43 PM
Romy's Avatar
Romy Romy is offline
Taxiderpy
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 9,951
Default

Also, there are things that make some breeds in general more suited to PSD work than others.

You generally want a dog that is independent, but still very handler oriented. It's kind of a weird combination and it's tricky to find an individual dog with the right balance of the two and then raise/train it correctly. What you don't want is a dog that is sooo into you, that they start mirroring your emotional state. Because then you have a dog that is upset when you're upset, scared when you're scared, and that's just about worthless as a PSD. You want them to have emotional autonomy, but still be really into you.

Collies tend to be like that. Some aussies can be too, though some are too far on the independent side of the spectrum. Some border collies can, though they can be a little dependent. My dog is a borzoi, he was the pilot dog for an org that trains borzois to be PSDs for veterans with PTSD.

I haven't met enough berners to be able to say whether the breed is a good fit for this kind of work, but I would be concerned and cautious about the health and longevity aspect. If you go with that breed, try to find lines with dogs that regularly live 10+ years if possible.

All that said about breeds, with picking a service dog prospect you're really looking for an individual dog that is perfect for the job. So you might have to sift through a bunch of berners, borzois, various herding breeds, maybe some mixes, or standard poodles, etc. until you find the dog. If you're really set on a breed, it's probably wise to pick one you want to live with and go from there.

Last edited by Romy; 02-20-2013 at 11:50 PM. Reason: grammarfail
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-20-2013, 11:48 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 9,036
Default

Quote:
All that said about breeds, with picking a service dog prospect you're really looking for an individual dog that is perfect for the job.
Very, VERY true. I started my search looking for a standard poodle. Thanks to Romy I ended up with a smooth collie. He's really the perfect dog for me, a fantastic service dog, and he's made me fall madly in love with collies. I'd still love a standard poodle someday, but I think my future SDs will be collies as well. I have since even found a program that uses primarily collies (and mostly smooth ones at that) that is willing to try to train a dog for me when I need a successor dog (hopefully many, many years from now!).
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-21-2013, 07:13 AM
Aleron's Avatar
Aleron Aleron is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 2,270
Default

I knew someone who had a Berner guide dog and I believe that he said the dog came from an organization in Canada that used them regularly. I would be extremely cautious of choosing a Berner for service work though, as they are what people call a "heart break breed". Early cancer is a widespread issue in the breed and I have known some who had cancer by 2 or 3 years old 6-8 years is probably their average lifespan.
__________________
Nikki & the Herding Breed Variety Pack
Visit Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Alerondogs
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-21-2013, 08:42 AM
BriannaLeigh92 BriannaLeigh92 is offline
Active Pup
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 9
Default

The only reason I thought Berner is because in public I have EXTREMELY high anxiety and NEED space...I figured a huge dog kind of demanded that people give me a good amount of space...if people get too close to me or crowd me and bump me my high level of anxiety actually turns into "rage" (its more like intense anger) and i literally just freak out. hence why people think I am crazy. people don't understand that individuals with high levels of anxiety don't know how to control it or channel it...so when people constantly crowd me and put me into situations where i can't control my anxiety and anger i just shut down. i would need the dog to literally be able to pull me to a quiet place. (i am physically able - i can walk) but i would need the dog pulling me to almost snap me out of my state and remind me to walk and move. which is why i suggested a berner. but I am open to suggestions based on this new information...does anyone have any other dogs they'd suggest?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-21-2013, 08:54 AM
frostfell's Avatar
frostfell frostfell is offline
Kung Pow Fish
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 818
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BriannaLeigh92 View Post
The only reason I thought Berner is because in public I have EXTREMELY high anxiety and NEED space...I figured a huge dog kind of demanded that people give me a good amount of space...if people get too close to me or crowd me and bump me my high level of anxiety actually turns into "rage" (its more like intense anger) and i literally just freak out. hence why people think I am crazy. people don't understand that individuals with high levels of anxiety don't know how to control it or channel it...so when people constantly crowd me and put me into situations where i can't control my anxiety and anger i just shut down. i would need the dog to literally be able to pull me to a quiet place. (i am physically able - i can walk) but i would need the dog pulling me to almost snap me out of my state and remind me to walk and move. which is why i suggested a berner. but I am open to suggestions based on this new information...does anyone have any other dogs they'd suggest?
What about a medium/small cute dog that draws attention to HIM. "HI! Look at me! No... over here. Me! me me me. Im CUTE! You love me! Pay no attention to my owner, shes not important. Look at ME! Yay! Okay thats enough now have a good day bye!"
__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
bernese mountain dog, psd, psychiatric, service

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:50 AM.


1997-2013 Chazhound Dog Site