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  #41  
Old 06-16-2010, 06:55 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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I'm not going to get any farther into the "task" discussion, because frankly it's not my area of expertise. I do, however, agree with the others who said that it's not a matter of "personal opinion" what mitigates a "task," but it's a legal definition.

It's like when they talk about a "hate crime." IMO a LOT of crimes are hate crimes, because you have to have a certain amount of hatred toward the person to be able to pull off the crime. But yet, only a small percentage of those crimes are considered hate crimes; there's a very specific legal definition that it has to fit.

Getting [sort of] back to the original topic....
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Originally Posted by milos_mommy View Post
Even if I do it for only a couple of seconds (I've never done it for more than 2 minutes, as far as I know) it would probably wake me up right away to have a dog stimulating me.
This is very important to note for evaluating a service dog for yourself. Now we're talking about how the dog would have to do this behavior without being cued, as well as when you are somewhat unconscious.

For a dog to do a behavior without being directly cued, he has to have a certain level of independence; guide dogs and hearing dogs are pretty independent in their job because they have to constantly be making decisions on their own. So you need an independent, people-oriented dog; IMO it's difficult to evaluate for these dogs because it's hard to know how independent is too independent, and how much is not enough. Plus you'll need the dog to take cues from your behavior, which may be very subtle, so he'll need to be very intuned with you and your body language.

For a dog to do a behavior while you are "out of it," you need a dog that one trainer described to me as being "honest." An honest dog will do what he's supposed to do even when no one's around to watch him. These dogs are difficult to find.

So you need an independent, intune, honest dog. Whew. And that's just for that one behavior.

You also mentioned you'd need the dog to brace you? Now we're talking about a tall, body insensitive dog.

I really hope you reconsider getting a dog from an organization. Even a dog from a breeder would be a great option because at least if it doesn't work out, you can return it to the breeder; if you get a dog from a shelter you will have to find a new home for the dog yourself, which is not easy.
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  #42  
Old 06-16-2010, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milos_mommy View Post
Pretty practical and realistic. If the dog was going to lead me through the door, I probably would not follow it. It would not make me think any more than I already think that there would be anything on the other side.

Tactile stimulation, feeling textures, and physical stimulation (being shaken or rubbed or hugged tightly) bring me back from thinking that I am not on the same plane of existence as the rest of the world or thinking nothing is real.

Recovering in a safe place could take hours. If a dog was licking, nudging, pawing, etc. at me, I would come out of it a lot faster. Kind of the same as fainting. Even if I do it for only a couple of seconds (I've never done it for more than 2 minutes, as far as I know) it would probably wake me up right away to have a dog stimulating me.

What you're saying about tactile stimulation makes sense, since the medical problems you're describing sound extremely similar to what I have.

With dissociation, any tactile stimulation is helpful. Even just being aware of your sleeve feeling itchy. I've been practicing for a long time because when I go out I'm out for 20 mins to a few hours out a time. The latest time it happened to me the last thing I remembered before blacking out was: 1. My mouth was dry and 2. My breath tasted gross.

How lucid are you throughout the episode? (btw, you don't have to post your answer, these are just questions to think about while figuring out what tasks are most helpful)

The way Strider helps me is this:

1. We were extremely lucky and he began alerting early enough that I figured out the triggers. So thank you Strider, for helping with that.

How many triggers are you aware of? What kinds of things are they? I am triggered by various sensory things, including specific smells. We taught Strider to alert to the presence of a couple of specific reproducible smells because he can sense them before I do. Then we can leave the area where I am being exposed to the trigger, before something bad happens. Another trigger is being touched by strangers, especially from behind. To manage that trigger, he is trained to move around me and brace, essentially body blocking people from accidentally bumping me (like in elevators or grocery lines).

2. Leading to safety.

This really can be helpful. When I start to check out, I lose lucidity really fast. There is a window where I can sort of whistle very quietly through my teeth before I'm totally gone. At that point Strider is literally dragging me along while I whistle the signals for right, left, straight, stop, wait, faster, and slower. I think that's when most folks think I'm blind, because he's really good at it and totally weaves me through thick crowds at a good clip. Usually I have him take me to a bathroom or my car if it's close enough.

3. Body blocking during an episode. We didn't train this one. It most certainly could be trained. He generalized the regular body block to when I am checked out, and will only let my mom or my husband touch me while I'm out. This is definitely one that would be useful to train if stranger touches are a trigger, as people will come up to you and shake you, etc. if you're looking all weird and catatonic in public.

There are others that are related to different areas I need help in, but those are the main ones that coincide with yours. I hope it helps and maybe gives you some ideas for tasks that could help you.
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  #43  
Old 06-17-2010, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romy View Post
2. Leading to safety.

This really can be helpful. When I start to check out, I lose lucidity really fast. There is a window where I can sort of whistle very quietly through my teeth before I'm totally gone. At that point Strider is literally dragging me along while I whistle the signals for right, left, straight, stop, wait, faster, and slower. I think that's when most folks think I'm blind, because he's really good at it and totally weaves me through thick crowds at a good clip. Usually I have him take me to a bathroom or my car if it's close enough.
This is really fascinating, thanks for sharing!

Do you have "go to the car" on cue, or do you just direct him back to it?
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  #44  
Old 06-17-2010, 10:41 PM
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CharlieDog CharlieDog is offline
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I too would like to know if you've trained a "go to the car" cue. I'm considering how to go about teaching this to Enzo.
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  #45  
Old 06-20-2010, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizzybeth727 View Post
This is really fascinating, thanks for sharing!

Do you have "go to the car" on cue, or do you just direct him back to it?
I just direct him back to it, though a couple of times I lost lucidity completely in the middle of a crowd while guiding him back and woke up sitting on the curb next to my car (once it was over 6 blocks from where I last remembered). In those instances I don't know if I continued to direct him even though I was out of it, or if he just took initiative and decided to continue going to the car on his own since that's where I usually directed him before. He's really good at generalizing and stringing together behaviors on his own.

He's a pretty good example of an "honest" dog by your definition. We can leave him unsupervised around steaks for extended periods and he won't touch them, won't get on furniture, will continue to work when I'm out of it, etc. I had no idea finding a dog like that was so rare though. We're really lucky I guess.
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  #46  
Old 06-21-2010, 09:59 AM
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Another thing I'd like the dog to be able to do is alert me to "manic driving". Like if we're in the car, and I start going 80 mph, I'd like the dog to start barking or something. It would also be good if he could notice if I'm not wearing my seat belt and bark until I put it on.

I doubt I could teach a dog to alert to things like running lights or changing lanes repeatedly, but probably since my heart rate gets really high and my blood pressure and stuff when I'm having a manic episode, I could teach an alert based on that cue.
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  #47  
Old 06-21-2010, 10:37 AM
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If you are doing things like that why are you driving?
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  #48  
Old 06-21-2010, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RawFedDogs View Post
If you are doing things like that why are you driving?
exactly ? very dangerous and you could kill people.
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  #49  
Old 06-21-2010, 11:10 AM
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I don't drive. (Well, I drive to work, which is five miles away, but not if I'm having an episode.) But if I had a service dog who could alert me to things like that (mainly speeding), I might be able to drive more, alone.

People who have epilepsy aren't supposed to drive, but they can drive in a lot of states if they have an alert dog in the car with them.
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  #50  
Old 06-21-2010, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milos_mommy View Post
I don't drive. (Well, I drive to work, which is five miles away, but not if I'm having an episode.) But if I had a service dog who could alert me to things like that (mainly speeding), I might be able to drive more, alone.

People who have epilepsy aren't supposed to drive, but they can drive in a lot of states if they have an alert dog in the car with them.
i understand wanting to be independant , i struggle with this with my son every single day , i dont know you or how well your seizures are controlled , but this scares the crap out of me for you. in louisiana you have to be seizure free for 6 months before you can drive , know my son will easily make those milestones when he is able to learn to drive , but between the way his meds make him spacey and that plain old attention span problems from his seizures he will never drive as long as i am alive. it is to risky. i know everyones disorders affect them diffrent but i strongly feel if a person is having theses types of problems they should never drive.

it is hard to be independant when your dead.

again i am not passing judgement , but please please be careful
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