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Old 03-22-2013, 10:29 AM
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skittledoo skittledoo is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Northern Virginia
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Default Can I just brag on Cricket for a moment?

A while back ago I had considered whether or not Cricket would make a suitable service dog (psychiatric SD for anxiety disorder and dermatillomania/trich). I did end up trying to teach her some specific stuff to help me, but never really fully pursued actually training her to be a service dog.

I have really bad issues with my anxiety disorder and when I have panic episodes it can be really scary. I start to get that claustrophobic type feeling, start to shake and have issues breathing because I start to convulse.

A few months back I had a really bad one and ended up on the floor struggling to breathe. My cellphone was nowhere in reach and no one was home with me except the dogs and I was gasping for air. Cricket brought me my cellphone which was weird since I had never taught her to bring me my phone before. I was able to dial the last phone call I had made which had been to my mother inlaw and she got a hold of Josh who was close to home thank goodness and was able to help me out.

Another issue I have which is related to my anxiety is picking compulsions. I'm obsessed with picking at both my skin and hair (not so much on my head, but hairs on my arms, legs and various other random places). Those of you who have been around for a while may remember a couple years ago when I literally pulled out majority of my eyebrow hairs. Back then I started working with Cricket to grab my hand if she saw me picking at myself. She was still a puppy technically at the time and while she seemed to get it some of the time I was frustrated that I couldn't get her to do it unless I specifically asked her to verbally. I had a hard time trying to phase out the verbal cue and have her just react to me picking at myself by grabbing my hand away. Usually when I'm actually picking at myself I don't really acknowledge I'm doing it so I wanted her to be able to catch me doing it and react accordingly. So... I gave up on it and wasn't sure about making her a service dog after all.

Then today I was on my computer which is across the room from my bed now. Cricket was lying on the bed just relaxing. I was picking at my chin while I surfed the net and didn't even realize I was doing so. Next thing I know Cricket is in my face pushing me trying to get me to pet her. I shooed her away since I was trying to browse my tumblr and she grabbed my hand. I look down and noticed my fingers were bloody and went into the bathroom and realized I had picked the heck out of my chin to the point of bleeding. eeeeekkk... I hate hate hate hate that I pick and even more I hate that I tend to do it without realizing I'm doing it. My husband is constantly saying, "Amber, stop picking yourself. Amber, you're picking yourself again, stop!"

Even though Cricket isn't trained specifically to be a service dog, I have to admit I'm proud of her today.

ETA: I do wonder if having her redirect my hands to doing something else instead of just grabbing my hand would help more since I'm worried that as soon as she lets me go I'll go back to picking as I tend to do.
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Joey- Ibizan Hound
Cricket- Mexican Street dog (we think Xolo mix)
Bamm- BC mix
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