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Old 03-13-2013, 10:25 AM
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milos_mommy milos_mommy is offline
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Originally Posted by BriannaLeigh92 View Post
That is very understandable, from what I have learned, it is fairly easy, and takes a trainer one or two evaluation visits to tell if a dog will make a good PSD. Psychiatric service dogs are different than other service dogs because they are more used for emotional support. The dog would be trained to refocus me, create a buffer between me and people when I am out in public, it would be trained to guide me to a quiet safe spot if I start having a panic attack in public, it would be trained to lick my hands or face when I am in one of my depressive states, and to push on various pressure points for relaxation. Like I said, not all that physical.
I think this is the opposite of true, actually. Many, many, many (most) potential service dogs "wash out", and I'm not sure of the difference in rates for PSDs and dogs for persons with a primarily or completely physical disability, but I believe it's the same or higher.

Most service dogs don't "fail" because they're not up to the physical tasks or able to learn tasks to help their handler, they fail because they can not handle the public access requirements, and those are no different for a PSD and more traditional service dog. A dog who gets too preoccupied with squirrels, becomes somewhat fearful of rowdy people, barks at escalators, etc. will fail...and while you can predict which dogs temperaments are better suited to handling public access work, it's not 100%, plus a lot of it is related to training and life experiences.

Also, the emotional work is much harder on a dog than a physical task. A dog who is required to be completely devoted to someone with high levels of anxiety or discomfort will often have trouble "disconnecting" from their handler's panic and not simply panicking themselves. Completing a very simple task for a handler who is highly distressed is much more difficult for a dog than completing a complex task for a calm handler. It takes a very specific, special dog to be able to do that....and that's not something an evaluator can predict most, or even half, the time, in a puppy.
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