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Cruising With A Service Dog....everything You Ever Wanted To Know!


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I was just reading this post and wanted to say hi to everyone.

 

My name is Joanne and I don't have a SD but I have two dogs that I love more then anything.

 

I would LOVE to be on a cruise any of guys are on so I could get some dog kisses while I'm away from my dogs.

 

Also, I would be happy to watch your dogs while you did the things you wanted to do like swim or go on rides and so on.

 

I think it is wonderful that you take your dogs everywhere you go and on a cruise no less.

 

I can't believe people would give you a hard time about having a SD anywhere. What is the matter with people??? Do they think you really wouldn't rather be able to get around better on your own without a SD?

 

Can't you train your SD to pee on those peoples legs when you give them a look :D j/k of course.

 

Anyway, just wanted to say if I see any of you on one of my cruises you will know it's me because I will looking for you so I can spend time with your dog. Hope that's ok.

 

Does it bother you if someone comes up and wants to pet your dog? I always ask first.

 

Thanks for loving and taking such good care of your SD. I know they love you as much as you love them.

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Also, I would be happy to watch your dogs while you did the things you wanted to do like swim or go on rides and so on.

 

No offense, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find an SD handler who would hand his dog over to a stranger to be watched and whatnot. A lot of ppl wouldn't want to hand over their pets to strangers, but when you're talking about somebody's lifeline that's worth tens of thousands of dollars, yeah, most ppl aren't going to do that! ;) It was hard enough for me to leave my SD with one of my best friends when I went on Disney rides SDs can't go on (like Splash Mountain), as my friend isn't familiar with the commands I use or how to handle my dog and whatnot, not to mention trying to handle drive-by petters and so forth.

 

I think it is wonderful that you take your dogs everywhere you go and on a cruise no less.

 

It's not much of a choice - either they go, or we can't go. But they do make for good travelling companions! :)

 

I can't believe people would give you a hard time about having a SD anywhere. What is the matter with people??? Do they think you really wouldn't rather be able to get around better on your own without a SD?

 

Lots of things are wrong with certain ppl, LOL! I don't know how or why, but there are lots of crazy idiots in the world these days. As they say, the gene pool needs some chlorine! :p

 

Can't you train your SD to pee on those peoples legs when you give them a look :D j/k of course.

 

LOL!

 

Anyway, just wanted to say if I see any of you on one of my cruises you will know it's me because I will looking for you so I can spend time with your dog. Hope that's ok.

 

Some folks might not mind that, but most ppl don't like stalkers. ;) And most (but not all) SD handlers prefer their dog not be distracted while working, for safety's sake as well as the dog's training.

 

Does it bother you if someone comes up and wants to pet your dog? I always ask first.

 

Yes. But it bothers me even more if they just pet her without asking (although I do love it when their family/friends admonish them for not obeying the "DO NOT TOUCH" on my dog's pack).

 

Thanks for loving and taking such good care of your SD. I know they love you as much as you love them.

 

I do love her an awful bunch! :D

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OK I promise not to stalk you or anyone with SD. :D

 

I'm really glad that I asked about petting a SD. I find it hard to pass up a dog without wanting to pet him/her and I always ask first. But to be honest I don't ask about petting a SD as I always figured they were working and it wasn't time for play/love.

 

The only reason I asked about it being ok on the cruise is someone was talking about all the love and attention they get on the ship. So I thought maybe if a SD was under my table or sitting next to me in a show it may have been ok.

 

But I won't even ask now. It's good to know.

 

Also, I never really thought someone would let me take care of their SD while they were swimming or anything. Just said that because someone said they had to give up things like that when they had their SD.

 

I do have a question on SD though that maybe someone here would be kind enough to answer. What happens to the SD when they get to old to be a SD or if they get injured and can't be a SD any more. Do you still keep the dog even if you get another SD?

 

I've always wondered what happened to them in their golden years.

 

Also, I think they should have some type of collar to show they are a SD so people wouldn't bug you guys asking you stupid questions about your dogs. They would know right away that the dog is a SD. They have them for when a dog is in training so why can't they have them once you guys get them?

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OK I promise not to stalk you or anyone with SD. :D

 

Oh good. 'Cause I already have a stalker (a joke term a friend of mine and I use for each other) and one is enough for me for now. ;)

 

I'm really glad that I asked about petting a SD. I find it hard to pass up a dog without wanting to pet him/her and I always ask first. But to be honest I don't ask about petting a SD as I always figured they were working and it wasn't time for play/love.

 

Yeah, always good to ask about pets - you never know which ones may bite! :eek:

 

The only reason I asked about it being ok on the cruise is someone was talking about all the love and attention they get on the ship. So I thought maybe if a SD was under my table or sitting next to me in a show it may have been ok.

 

I think Roz mentioned that. She allows ppl to pet her dog sometimes. So, if you see her on a cruise, I bet she'll let you pet her dog. ;) But most SD handlers don't allow it, as the dog needs to stay focused on his job as well as stay well-behaved and keep the training up to par. Just like somebody petting or calling/talking to you while you were trying to work would distract you, same goes for an SD.

 

Also, I never really thought someone would let me take care of their SD while they were swimming or anything. Just said that because someone said they had to give up things like that when they had their SD.

 

I think that might also have been Roz. I know - you're really hoping to run into her on one of your cruises! :p

 

I do have a question on SD though that maybe someone here would be kind enough to answer. What happens to the SD when they get to old to be a SD or if they get injured and can't be a SD any more. Do you still keep the dog even if you get another SD?

 

I've always wondered what happened to them in their golden years.

 

It depends. If it is a program dog, some programs take the dogs back and place them as pets while other programs don't retain ownership of the dog once they've given the dog to the person as an SD, so it is up to the person to decide what to do with the dog. For private trainer dogs and owner-trained dogs, most ppl will keep their dog 'til the dog passes.

 

Also, I think they should have some type of collar to show they are a SD so people wouldn't bug you guys asking you stupid questions about your dogs. They would know right away that the dog is a SD. They have them for when a dog is in training so why can't they have them once you guys get them?

 

Most SDs wear some form of ID, such as a harness, vest, or pack. My SD wears a harness and small pack because I need the harness for some of the tasks she helps me with and the pack is very helpful, as well, including as an identifier. Even still, there are actually many ppl even in the US who have no clue what a service dog is or does. Even more still, there are tons of ppl who are just plain curious and want to ask questions like the dog's name, breed, gender, what she does, why I have her, etc. - even down to the ultra-rude, "What's wrong with you?" Yeah, some ppl have no manners!!

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Just wanted to introduce myself now that I have read the whole thread (pretty much) through. I am a 29 year-old woman from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Normally, I travel with Declan, my Collie/Shepherd/Husky mobility assistance dog extraordinaire.

 

I will be going on my first cruise on Mar 2nd on Royal Carribean's Voyager of the Seas. However, as hard as it will be for me, Declan will be staying home. This was for several reasons:

 

1) I owner/train Declan and as such bear the total cost of any vet care out of pocket. If he was to become ill while out of the country locating a vet and getting proper treatment, even for minor things could be cost prohibitive. And I would never forgive myself if something were to happen and I couldn't meet my responsibilities in caring for him. This is especially a concern due to what I have heard regarding stray and feral dogs abroad.

 

2)It is difficult for him to work in intense heat for long periods of time, as his fur is very dense. Even here in Calgary, we have to be careful. If and when he cruises with us, and make no mistake, I hope he does, it will be of shorter duration, in case of acclimation problems.

 

3) Getting the paperwork for international travel as an owner/trainer without the backing of a school or organization is more time consuming and difficult than I expected. Not saying it can't be done, just that I would have needed to plan far more in advance than the amount of time I had.

 

4) Despite the fact that I know he would work and behave beautifully aboard ship, I am not comfortable leaving him behind to go on excusions, and for me, that is one of the big draws. Yes he could be watched, but he is rarely away from me and does not like it, becoming highly anxious. And again, since my first responsibility, even on vacation is to him, I just can't justify it. As it stands now, this will be a once in a lifetime thing, and as much as I will miss him, I am lucky in that I can make do with my wheelchair, (as opposed to mostly walking) and the assistance of my intrepid wife, who will be with me. It will be slower and harder, but it is what I believe will be best for him.

 

JoKen: It doesn't bother me if people ask to pet the dog. It does bother get to me when they freak out when I say no though. I have actually had people swear at me for it. And as for letting people visit with my dog, well if he has been given his release command and/or is off duty, AND I HAVE GIVEN THE OK then I don't mind, but I know every handler is different.

 

Declan is four, and has been in service for about a year and a half. I hope to have him working for at least another 3-4 years, but that will depend on him. When he retires though, he will still be my baby. When he passes (though I hate to think of it) it will be in my arms, if I have anything to say about it.

 

And as for what is wrong with people who deny access to service dogs, most often they don't understand that he is not a pet. I have had dumb things said to me and about me while working with Declan. Declan wears a pack that ids him as a SD but people still just give me a blank stare. They are, sadly, ignorant.

 

As to your offer to watch a SD, I would actually love it if there was someone willing to do that, if I was bringing Declan. I don't know if I would take you up on it, not knowing you. But it's more a question of you knowing his commands and being able to keep him safe than anything else. Still, it's nice to know there are still such genuinely generous dog lovers out there.

 

Oh wow, sorry to ramble. Just wanted to share my thoughts on this four legged subject.

 

Cheers All. Looking forward to getting to know everyone.

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Jo Ken: I would NEVER let anyone watch Brenda, while we are on a cruise or anywhere or anytime! We, too, have never been separated in the 5 1/2 years we've been together.

Brenda wears a vest that has a CCI (Canine Companions for Indpendence) insignia on both sides and easily identifies her as a service dog. But, that does not stop the myriad of people, everywhere, in life that ask the same questions. Most are very kind and politically correct questions...some are so rude and indignant...you wouldn't believe it! I've learned to "move right through them!"

I allow people to enjoy; pat and sit with her (on a "release" command) only! I totally understand most people's love for these amazingly trained animals and enjoy watching them love her! I do scrutinize the "down time" very closely. And, I bring her back on task very easily; the public loves to watch how easy it is for Brenda to become a working partner, again!

And, of course, when I move so does Brenda....I've had people literally chase me down to ask questions or follow me.....

X: I'm so glad that you're cruising but sad that Declan will not be joining you. It's a wonderful experience for both of you. Brenda also has problems dealing with intense heat. She's a double coated, pure black Lab; meaning that her coat is curly and very dense. I could build another dog, on a weekly basis, with all the hair that she sheds!

I totally understand your reluctance, at this time and so admire your love and devotion to your dog partner. There will be other times, Declan is young.

And, when you speak of his passing.....It so saddens me and I think of my Brenny, who is 8 years old and I lay next to her on the couch and look into her big brown eyes, with tears in mine and I beg her to never, never, never leave me.......

I, too, although having a huge organization to back me, I take on all the expense for Brenda's care....and, I'm extremely cautious when it comes to what and whom she's exposed to.

Thanks for sharing your amazing and wonderful story with us!

Have a fabulous cruise!

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My service dog is a 10lb. Japanese Chin. They have extremely long hair that drags the floor. We bought her a vest that is made like those ties that you wet and put around your neck. It works well and keeps her cool and happy. Chins are prone to heat strokes so I watch her closely. We are going on a TA cruise this year. (she says she wants to see Europe like we did last year. This will be her 8th cruise so far. We do travel well together. If anyone is on the edge I'd say give it a try, The staff is always ready and eager to help with anything. Just give you feelings that are the easiest to hurt a week or two off and you will have a great vacation,.

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Those cooling necktie things are neat. I'd gotten one for my girl for Christmas, but I only just now realized we never used it on our cruise, LOL! (Have I mentioned that one of my disabilities is memory?? Hehe.) Too bad - it prob'ly would've been nice to have on the beach in Cozumel. She did get plenty of water to drink, of course. I brought enough pouched dog waters from home so she could have it in her bowl on the ship as well as to carry with us in the two ports we could get off at.

 

The only time my service dog and I are separated is when she is at the groomer's. (She's a breed that has hair that grows, so she needs doggy haircuts throughout the year.) That's about three or four hours long and takes place every several months.

 

When we travel, I carry a first aid kit for her in her luggage. It is the Ruff Wear First Aid Kit plus several items I've added to it, including EMT Gel, a stethescope, an ear thermometer, a first aid book, etc. I also have a .PDF on how to perform doggy CPR on my smartphone. Soon I'll be scanning in all her records and put them on my phone with emergency contact info., too.

 

We've never had an injury or illness or other need for a vet while travelling. And hopefully we never will! :)

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We Are Traveling On A Hal Cruise With A Service Dog To Panama. What Is Your Experience Taking The Dog On Shore Excursions, Any Problems With Local Authorities. We Have Up To Date Health Certificated And Papers. Especially, Any Situations In Lake Gatune, Panama?

 

Art & Robin

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Art & Robin: As long as you have all the necessary Immigration Documetation and have requested the Potty Box be placed conveniently for you....You're done!

Something that you should be apprised of is loose dogs in many of these countries, who do not have "leash laws!"

My dog becomes a different girl when she sees another dog, even a well trained service dog, makes her "hyper", let alone a loose one that would approach her! Don't let this keep you from touring land though. Afterall, even in the states there are dogs that are loose, etc. Just be prepared and use your "down-stay" command when you see another dog approaching! Other passengers will assist you with this.

I've had fellow passengers actually chase away any strays that they saw, long before I saw them!

You may also leave your dog, in your stateroom, while away! The cruise ship will put a sign on your door, stating that there is a service dog resting inside and no one will bother her/him. The ships are very accomodating and helpful! If your dog is left with food and water......and, she/he has had a potty break, before you left......you have a good 3-5 hour window to go on land and then return, depending on what you'd like to do or what he/she is used to!

I have NEVER left "Brenda" behind, ever......It's your call and your comfort zone!

Have a wonderful cruise!!!!!

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I wouldn't recommend putting your SD in a down-stay when there is a loose, potentially dangerous, unknown dog roaming the area. Keep walking, form a human barricade (especially helpful if you're with several other ppl), have others help get the dog away, etc. But an SD in a down is very prone to being hurt should the dog suddenly attack.

 

In Mexico we came across one loose dog right at the port as we were about to walk into the passengers-only zone (a bunch of shops before you get to the actual pier). He growled and snarled at my dog, so we kept walking. He followed us (to our left and slightly behind by two feet or so), but we kept calmly walking (calm is a key here, by the way!). Just as we got to the ramp to go inside the passengers-only zone, a Mexican man (working with the cabbies, I think) blocked the dog away from us, which was very nice. We went inside (after showing my SeaPass) and had no problems.

 

Actually, there was a loose dog in Key West, too. We were walking down the street that leads to the port (had already turned off of Duval street) and this tiny dog came up to us. I can't recall if he was barking at us or just trying to sniff at my dog. After keeping walking wasn't helping, I yelled, "GO HOME!!" at him. He stopped and stared, but left us alone.

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Quam: I do appreciate your input and everyone's experiences are different......My dog is an Alpha, she would NEVER backdown or just keep walking, her movement and her trying to make eye contact with the other dog is a "tease" to "come and get me".....I ALWAYS put her in a "down/stay", which puts her in a calm/less aggressive/assertive stance and I then try to scare away the intruder or ask for help, at that time.

Keeping on moving doesn't guarantee safety.....use your best judgement for your circumstances and your dogs safety.....

I have trained dogs since I was in college and I'm much, much older than that now. Every instance with a dog is different and takes your best judgment; knowing your dog and how she/he responds to every circumstance is important. It would also take into account your ability to keep your dog under control.....should the worst happen!

Being in a "down/stay", makes your dog submissive and calm.....that's exactly what you want....until the potential harm passes.

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Hey! Who else could work with an Alpha female, like me.....we're a perfect match.....I know when to use my "Alpha" self and so does Miss Brenny!

Her Alpha can sometimes get in the way of her trained/obedient side....I have to be mindful of that....She has such a wonderful work ethic CCI just couldn't take her out of the program.

Until they found me or I found her, they used Brenda for training demonstrations. Which is why she's at least 7 months older than the rest of her classmates.

Brenny always wanted the other dogs to do what "she" wanted and would have all of them submitting to her.....not in an angry, aggresive way just a: "I'm the boss, do as I say, way!"

I had to prove that I could control that side of her and it can be a challenge but she shines through and is a wonderful partner!

 

She does require a "firm" hand and I've got it!!!!! Otherwise, she'd have to be a "release" dog (these are dogs that do not graduate) and are given to someone in the public, to adopt.

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Hey! Who else could work with an Alpha female, like me.....we're a perfect match.....I know when to use my "Alpha" self and so does Miss Brenny!

LOL! You don't come across that way on here (at least in this thread - don't think I've seen you in many other threads). I can think of some famous ppl who come across a lot more Alpha than you - but they're not disabled and don't need SDs, just a slap in the head! :p

 

Her Alpha can sometimes get in the way of her trained/obedient side....I have to be mindful of that....She has such a wonderful work ethic CCI just couldn't take her out of the program.

I'm sure you do have to watch for that.

 

Until they found me or I found her, they used Brenda for training demonstrations. Which is why she's at least 7 months older than the rest of her classmates.

Ah, good. Glad to see they at least waited for the right person to come along.

 

Brenny always wanted the other dogs to do what "she" wanted and would have all of them submitting to her.....not in an angry, aggresive way just a: "I'm the boss, do as I say, way!"

LOL. The poor other dogs! ;) Admit it - are there things she ever makes YOU do?! Hehehe.

 

I had to prove that I could control that side of her and it can be a challenge but she shines through and is a wonderful partner!

That's good. Sounds like they were good about partnering her.

 

She does require a "firm" hand and I've got it!!!!! Otherwise, she'd have to be a "release" dog (these are dogs that do not graduate) and are given to someone in the public, to adopt.

 

Yeah, I would normally see Alpha dogs are being career-changed. And sometimes partnerships don't work and the dog has to be re-partnered/the person re-dogged. Glad it has worked out for you, though! (Not that you can tell by her name that she's a toughie!)

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Very true!!!!! Sometimes, people see the puppy (and all their puppy charms) and give them that cutsy/little girly name....which has absolutely nothing to do with who they'll grow up to be.....If I were to name her now....She'd be "Magic!"

The name "Brenda" does engender a bit of a quiet/timid/maiden type.....HAH!!!!! I have the wild woman/bucking/bronco type!!!!!

Oh! Well! What's in a name?

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I just love hearing about all your SD and I think it is so wonderful that these great dogs are able to help out so many people. But I do admit I don't know a lot about SD. I was wondering if you guys would mind helping me learn a bit more.

 

How long does a dog take to train to become a SD?

 

Is the dog already trained when you get him/her or do you help in the training?

 

I know a lot of dogs help out by picking up things from the floor, opening doors and so on but what else do this great dogs do?

 

I've heard that some dogs can predict if someone is about to have a seizure or if their owner has low blood sugar. Is this true? If so, how do they know, is a smell that they can detect that humans can't? What do they do to notify the owner?

 

I also, have only seen large dogs that are SD or being trained as one and was surprised and pleased to hear that smaller dogs can be SD too. But what type of work do they do?

 

I hope no one thinks I'm trying to pry into your illness or private life by asking all these questions. I'm just trying to learn more.

 

I have such a great respect for these dogs and for the owners who love them so much. It touches my heart to read about all the super things these dogs do.

 

Thanks everyone for giving me a little bit more of an insight to all the SD you have.

 

If anyone is offended by my post and thinks it is non of my business what type of work your SD does please don't be mad at me for asking. Just tell me to stop asking questions and I will.

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Jo: Wonderful questions....And, no one could take offense to the way in which you asked.

It would be rude to ask someone specifically what is wrong with them? But general questions like yours are very welcomed!

There are lots of different organizations that train dogs. Some are for the blind, some are for the hearing impared, some are for people who have specific health issues.

My organization of choice is CCI (Canine Companions for Independence), main office, in Santa Rosa, California 1-800-572-BARK...they have satellite offices all over the U.S.

CCI trains their dogs for Hearing/Service/Facility and Skilled Companions.

They have Hearing dogs available, right now!

CCI has breeding dogs who have passed rigorous health exams so that they may deliver the most healthy puppies to be raised by puppy raisers (people just like you, CCI needs Puppy Raisers), who dedicate themselves to fostering the female dog who delivers into the world; these amazing, wonderful puppies, who will go through one year of training.

Each puppy is identified with a blue tattoo in it's right ear, (done at about 6 weeks of age); then as the puppy grows, it goes to puppy training and is taken into public areas, wearing an identifiable vest saying "Puppy in Training", the puppy learns to socialize and get used to all sorts of sights/sounds/stores/restaurants/children and slowly becomes desensitized to everything in its environment.

The puppy is watched, closely, in classes as to its personality and character and what the trainers think that it may best be suited for. Is it hyper, does she/he have a very strong work ethic, is it very, very nosey (always looking and listening), is it very big and likes to pull a wagon/wheel chair, and so on!

You (the public), fills out an application for you specific need and then the wait begins. CCI receives the application (which asks many questions about you and your expections/life style and needs!

Once you are accepted and CCI thinks that you would benefit from one of their dogs...the interviews begin. First, by phone, then in person (you will go to Santa Rosa and to the most beautiful facililty, you will encounter for dogs), then you are asked to walk/talk and demonstrate how you are, in general with dogs. CCI (several trainers) observe you and gets to see who you are. You will get to tour their campus and you will fall in love with it all.....I promise!

Then, the letters start coming and the final phone call (it took me 2 1/2 years to get Brenda), now, the waiting is not so long......

Once your accepted, CCI will have a dog for you and a successor dog, when yours retires. It's a lifetime of wonderfulness!!!!!!!

You will live at CCI for two weeks, while you learn dog behaviour/skills/training techniques/grooming and everything you could ever know about dogs. You will work with several dogs (but, by this time CCI knows which of the available dogs is really best for you), they just want to see that the "fit" and "match" is as perfect as it can be. Mine was so spot on......Brenda was born for me!!!!!!

You will have a graduation, at the end of two weeks. Your dog will be taken away from you and given to the puppy raisers to spend some time with. And then, it's very emotional for all concerned. The puppy raisers will hand your dog to you, in front of hundreds of people and tons of tears. And, then she/he is offically yours! I get chills just remembering the moment! The puppy raiser will give you an album of pictures showing you your dog from the time she/he started the program! So cute!!!!!

You will get a license that admits you into every public venue that exists. You will receive a vest/leash/collar and i.d. tags. The cost is $100 (total), if you can't afford it...they will offer you a scholarship. The value of your dog is approx. $35,000.00.....how's that for a great deal!!!!!!!

You are NEVER alone with CCI; there are follow-up classes and retreats, every year and there's re-certification every 1 to 3 years. And they are always just a phone call away! They want you to be successful and fulfilled!

I'm sorry this was so wordy....but, honestly, I could write pages about the experience and what it has meant to me..and, my family!!!!!! :)

If there's ANYTHING that you want clarification of....ask away!!!!!

Roz

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Hi Roz,

 

Thank you so much for all you wrote. It gave me a big in site to how it all works. I loved reading about it.

 

I did tear up though when I was reading about the trainer turning over the dogs. That would be very hard. Both rewarding and heartbreaking at the same time.

 

I had once thought about becoming a trainer but then I knew I could never turn my dogs over so I wouldn't be any good. My dogs become my children. I don't have kids so all my life my pets have always been my kids and I become way to attached to them.

 

How do the dogs notify their owns of things? Do they bark? Give you a look or scratch? I'm talking about things like.....well, like the ones that are for hearing. I assume they notify their owners when someone is at the door or the phone rings.

 

Also, do you know what the little dogs are best at? Like I said, I've never seen a little dog as a SD before, or at least I didn't notice they were one but since I have two little dogs I was thrilled to hear that the little guys can help out so many too. I know my dog could have been a great bomb or drug sniffing dog. His little nose can smell things I've never seen a human or another animal be able to smell. It so fun to watch him sniffing away.

 

I can tell from the posts here that not only do the owners of SD love them very much but they also are very proud of their dogs.

 

I was also happy to hear the cost of the dogs are so low and sometimes even free. I really thought it would have cost thousands to get a SD which of course would keep so many people that need them out of reach for getting one.

 

I am so impressed by SD and their owners. It just goes to show that animals are worth so much more then many give them credit for.

 

I was also happy that I didn't sound like I was being nosey either. I really do have a great interest in learning about SD and how much good them do for people.

 

So thanks again.

 

I do hope we take a cruise together some day as I would love to talk to you about your dog more. :D

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Jo: CCI used to use Corgy's for hearing dogs but men would complain that they wanted a more masculine looking dog. Although the Corgy could fit on their lap and certainly traveled on an airplane easier! There are several who are still working and are so cute to watch performing their tasks!

CCI uses Pedigreed Labs (such as Brenda), or Lab/Retriever mixes. The mixes can come out looking like giant mastifs (with huge heads) but, they still have that wonderful sense of self and they're truly gentle giants.

CCI does not use the smaller dogs (not that I know of). I have heard of some small breeds doing amazing work. They can't pull wheelchairs or assist someone with mobility issues but they could be trained to alert to sounds and tell someone when their blood pressure is too high or sniff out cancer or alert to a seizure.

Hearing dogs will alert to their owners name being called/someone knocking on the door/door bell ringing/alarms going off/phone ringing/smoke detector/cooking buzzers/car horns/sirens/cars coming, on the street or in a dark garage, etc., etc. They alert by tapping their nose on the owners knee,leg,chest or tugging on their sleeve or pants. They can tap their nose on your leg; you ask (sign language) or say-"what"?, and the dog will either lay directly at your feet (someone's calling your name), take you to the noise, look in the direction of the sound, tug at your leash, etc., etc. The training techniques and various ways to "alert" you have changed over the years but the outcome is always the same......Barking does not serve a purpose for the hearing impaired.

The hearing dog can literally be put to work 24 hours a day, if you don't use the "release" command, they will "alert", all day long!!!!!

Training these amazing animals is so, so involved.....You must be consistant; you must be fair; you must insist on finishing the job on a positive note and you must recognize a job well done!!!!!

You can really teach a dog to do most anything you want, if you use the appropriate techniques and are very consistant. Remember, they think in the moment....they don't plot or plan against us and the past is the past....they move-on so much easier then humans do!!!!

I know you don't have children but the techniques that I used for raising 3 successful adults are very similar to what I use for Brenda (allowing for dog v. child) and the child ALWAYS being the leader of the pack, when it comes to the dog.....

I will put Brenny into a "time-out", if she is acting badly and I NEVER allow bad behaviour to go on without a correction. She is fed/watered and toileted regularly and is given praise and lots of hugs and kisses when she acts appropriately! I challenge her as often as I can to learn new skills.....she has close to 100 commands that she successfully completes! Remember, dogs are always 2 years old (in their heads) even though their bodies get older......they stay a 2 year old, forever! If you can remember that it helps to explain why they can act-out occasionally, even though their faces are covered with gray hair!

I don't yell/push/hit or ignore her. I treat her with great respect and I always expect the same from her!

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Wow, 100 commands? That is super! I really should take some training classes myself.

 

My one little boy is great but he has one spot under a table where he will take things and try to chew them up. He won't do it anywhere else. But he will turn into a devil dog if anyone sticks their hand under to try to get it.

 

My other guy is super calm and gentle but he will bark like a mad dog when the mailman comes. Everyday it's like the first time he has ever seen him.

 

Nothing seems to help in these two areas.

 

I can't even picture in my head how wonderful it would be to see a dog respond to 100 commands.

 

You know thinking about it all the SD I've ever seen are either labs or Retrievers. Maybe they have been from the same group you belong to. Or maybe not all all SD have a collar or pack that says they are a SD.

 

Whenever I see one though I always stop and watch and am so impressed at how well they work.

 

I wonder how a dog can tell if a person has high blood pressure or is about to have a seizure. Do you know? It must have something to do with their smell I guess.

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Jo: I'm sure you know that dogs have sensory perception 100 times ours. They will either be trained to the scent of someone's illness or changes in their body movement or actually a verbal command from the owner.

It's a miracle....some dogs will actually push the owner to the floor or roll them over or lick their face or whatever works between the two of them.....

Dogs can sense the changing of cell structure within the human body.....and that is what can lead to a dog alerting to a diabetic coma!

Dogs can be trained to push 911 on a phone and bark into the receiver. The 911 operators are becoming more and more apprised of alert dogs and are installing systems whereby they can tell the address by just having the receiver off the hook. Many, many cities have this technology already! Ours does and I'm grateful for that!

I know, I know it's amazing!

When I see a dog behaving badly and I know what that dog is truly capable of doing....I look at the owner and I'm disgusted at the lack of direction they are giving the dog.

Having a dog is a responsibilty that too many people don't take serious enough!

Dogs are capable of so, so much and under utilized and some treated so badly I want to scream!!!!!

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That's great to know about how a dog can dial 911 to get help for the owners.

 

Oh I hate knowing my dogs should be able to be controlled better. I have not been able to find a way to stop their two bad ways. I have tried taking them to training school which did great in most areas. I have read books, watched tapes and had others try to get them to stop but so far nothing has worked.

 

They do everything else they should do but why my dog barks at the mailman and no matter what I do won't stop I have no idea. He will stop barking any other time I tell him to.

 

Also, my little one seems to think that under this one side table belongs to him and he can do what he wants there. The latest thing we are trying is to ignore when he brings something under there.

 

It seems like he would go get something and when we tried to take it away he would chew it up. It was sort of like a game or something. So now we say nothing and while he still brings things under there he doesn't chew them up. He just leaves them there and then when he comes out from under there we get it.

 

It was like he found it fun to have us try to get it from him.

 

If you have any ideas or tips on how to stop them I would love to know it.

 

I know it's not the dogs. I know it's something I'm doing wrong but I don't know what it is.

 

Other then those two things my dogs have been great. They have learned everything I've tried to teach them except those things.

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How long does a dog take to train to become a SD?

 

It depends on the type of training it needs for the tasks it will do as well as the age the dog is at the start of training. Typically, a dog started with basic obedience as a puppy will become a fully-trained dog at 1 1/2 to 2 years of age, maybe a little longer. For a dog started as a young adult, it takes about a year of training. (Note that balance support dogs, wheelchair-pulling dogs, etc. can't do those intense tasks until they are fully grown for health's sake. That age depends on the size of the dog - large dogs take longer to reach physical maturity than small dogs - but most dogs are finished by age 2.)

 

Is the dog already trained when you get him/her or do you help in the training?

 

It depends - some dogs come from a program, some dogs are trained by private trainers, and some dogs are trained by the disabled person themself. Program dogs are typically fully trained when the disabled person gets them, but then the new team goes through two to three weeks of training together to learn how to work with each other, make sure the two are a good fit, make sure they will be good in public, etc. Some programs do match up the dogs beforehand and send them home for days and short overnights, especially for seizure alert dogs and Autism dogs. Dogs from private trainers can be done the way a program does them or done as board-and-trains (the dog lives most of the time with the trainer while it is getting trained) or the trainer helps with the training once or twice a week while the dog and person live at home with each other.

 

I know a lot of dogs help out by picking up things from the floor, opening doors and so on but what else do this great dogs do?

 

Lots of different things! You should check if your local library or bookstore has books about SD teams - CCI put one out and there are a few other books out there, too. Roz has prob'ly already answered this one, so I won't go on.

 

I've heard that some dogs can predict if someone is about to have a seizure or if their owner has low blood sugar. Is this true? If so, how do they know, is a smell that they can detect that humans can't? What do they do to notify the owner?

 

Yup, they can. It is a scent they can detect (with their super-power noses - I'm sure you know they smell a billion times better than we can). Alerts vary from dog to dog/team to team. Some paw their owner, some bring a med bag to their owner, etc. Whatever suits the team the best.

 

I also, have only seen large dogs that are SD or being trained as one and was surprised and pleased to hear that smaller dogs can be SD too. But what type of work do they do?

 

Small dogs are many times used as hearing alert dogs. The more hyper little dogs make good hearing dogs because they are so alert. Many hearing dogs come from shelters, too. Small dogs can also be used for other types of alerts and even the smaller jobs to help ppl in wheelchairs, like retrieves and such (no wheelchair pulling or balance, of course!). Ppl who use small dogs tend to get hassled about access more often, however.

 

I hope no one thinks I'm trying to pry into your illness or private life by asking all these questions. I'm just trying to learn more.

 

Not at all. If you'd said, "Hey, Quam! Hey, Roz! What is wrong with you??" then you'd have been rude! ;)

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They do everything else they should do but why my dog barks at the mailman and no matter what I do won't stop I have no idea. He will stop barking any other time I tell him to.

 

Dogs bark at the mailman because it works. Dogs bark to scare threats away. So, when the mailman comes and the dog barks and then the mailman leaves, the dog sees it as his victory - his barking scared the threatening mailman away! Works every time, too. ;)

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