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  #11  
Old 03-13-2013, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
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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  #12  
Old 03-13-2013, 10:32 AM
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An adult dog's temperament is easier to assess in a few sessions, but definitely not with a puppy. A puppy can wash out at any time for any reason... adults are a little more sturdy.
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  #13  
Old 03-13-2013, 10:46 AM
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Milos_Mommy, what you said is very, VERY true.

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Originally Posted by Julee View Post
An adult dog's temperament is easier to assess in a few sessions, but definitely not with a puppy. A puppy can wash out at any time for any reason... adults are a little more sturdy.

Indeed. This is why ultimately when I was looking for an SD candidate I went with a young adult. It's much easier to judge their suitability once their temperament is "set"
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  #14  
Old 03-20-2013, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
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.
I agree with Milos_Mommy that evaluating PSDs is EXTREMELY difficult and whoever told you it was easy has probably never actually done it. :P I evaluate and train dogs from shelters to be service dogs and so I know how difficult it is to find the right dog.

Also, it's not just about finding the right dog, it's about finding the right training for the dog you have. While a lot of behavior problems can be fixed with the right training, I've seen a lot of promising dogs also end up washing out because of the wrong training. If only it were as easy as clicker training vs. compulsion training; training service dogs is much more subtle than than that (well, training all dogs is more subtle but with service dogs the stakes are much higher). So one trainer can evaluate a dog and decide that it would be a great PSD, but another trainer - even a very experienced one - can cause that dog to wash out.

When talking about evaluating a puppy, there are even more variables. At 7 or 8 weeks a puppy can seem promising, but raised in the wrong home all that could turn around very quickly; and vice-versa.
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  #15  
Old 03-31-2013, 11:47 PM
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I won't place a SD prospect puppy until they are at least 5 months old. It gives me a bit better idea of the puppy and if it will work out. Still much more of a crapshoot than a young adult but much less of one than an 8 week old.
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