Author Topic: So many questions, so few answers from google  (Read 2875 times)

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Offline sarahe

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So many questions, so few answers from google
« on: December 23, 2016, 12:44:07 AM »
My apologies, I tend to over explain and so I believe this will become very long.

I donít know if I qualify for an SD or if my dog qualifies to be an SD in training/SD

A bit about me and my disability-

I have developed very very bad migraines(lucky for me, they run in my family!). If you donít know much about migraines(I donít blame you, not many people really do!) they have 4 phases: prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome. Anyone who gets migraines can get any combination of these phases. Personally, I donít have the prodrome, but I have the other three phases. Without medication(or taking my medication too long after it's started) first I get an aura with no warning- which includes extreme nausea, dizziness, my vision goes from black cloudy spots to completely black accompanied with very bright little rainbow light like things zig zagging throughout, mental fogginess, huge sensitivity to sound and without my journal in front of my that's all I can remember right now. My headache can last for a day or two- crazy pounding in my head, the mental fogginess continues, and sound sensitivity continues. And then afterward I get very depressive feelings(that's the postdrome). But! If I can take my medication-key, before- or as soon as I feel the symptoms coming on(by the time I go into full on aura mode its hard for me to take the medication, due to nausea, and it doesnít seem to be as effective after the migraine has started) then I donít lose my vision, overall the aura is much much less(symptom wise, much more deal-with-able) and I only get a slightly bad headache that lasts a few hours and no postdrome. Seriously, thank god for triptans(my type of meds).

My pup-

A little over a year and a half ago I rescued a little, 5 and a half pound, 1-year-old Yorkie-poodle, named Lola. Her loving owners had to give her up because someone developed a disease in the family and they didnít have time to care for her.  Being part poodle she doesnít shed and is super easy to groom, though she does look more Yorkie. From day one she was insanely attached to me. We are like perfectly in sync. I hadnít really been planning on seriously getting a dog, but it was absolute love at first site. My boyfriend and I are pretty convinced she doesnít think sheís a dog. Though weíve given her a million toys she doesnít really know how to play with them, she wonít chase after a ball, or chew up a stuffed animal(or shoes, or anything that isnít food given to her or her various bones and such). She doesnít really play with other dogs, on walks she completely ignores them. She walks wonderfully on the leash- sheís never pulled, sheís always just right by my feet, even off leash. She doesnít excessively sniff- she doesnít try to sniff things on the sidewalk or eat discarded food. She adores vegetables- pretty much anything she can get- bell peppers, kale, cucumbers, carrots. She pretty much follows me around everywhere she can and either lays next to me or on my lap(though she prefers my lap.) She doesnít bark and hardly begs. I havenít taken her out to tooooo many public places, but I have taken her to a few restaurants with outside dining in the summer where she laid down by my legs and happily chewed on a bone(with only a little protest at first because she would much rather sit on my lap).

When I started getting migraines a few months ago, after the first few I noticed before I got any symptoms she would come over to me, look me in the eye and nudge(with her nose) my leg or my arm or pretty much wherever she could reach on my body. And she would insist on staying right next to me. After a few times of tracking this(I have a migraine journal), I noticed that she was alerting me to migraines. (I donít know if this can count as a task since I really didnít train her to do it.) if I take my medicine when she does this I still get a slight aura and headache(as I mentioned above) but they are far less bad than if I waited to take the medication. Also during the aura, she lays down next to me and will paw my hand until I pet her, which calms me down because I can become kinda freaked out because of the memory fog. (I donít think that counts as an actual task, but itís a nice bonus). It's also amazing when she can alert me because it allows me to get to a ďsafe placeĒ so I can deal with my symptoms(whether this means sitting down or going away from guests). It's hard when Iím out in public and donít have her with me to alert because I always feel like Iím a bit too late in taking the medication. I try to avoid going out alone since there's no warning as to when this is going to happen. Iím absolutely terrified it's gonna happen on the subway(I live in Philadelphia and take the subway daily) or somewhere equally as bad.

ó

I guess my issue is, I donít know if I'm ďdisabled enoughĒ. I definitely have doubts. Originally I got my dog to be my pet, so she hasnít had any serious training, she has basic obedience down(she loves to learn) but I would probably(I assume) need to get her more seriously trained if she were to become my SD. Iím afraid that people wouldnít believe me since, I suppose, sheís considered a ďdesigner dogĒ. (But I guess a note from my doctor would help?) But she really does help me so much. It's the difference between being in bed for a day or two unable to do much/ possibly having to go to the ER and being able to deal with my migraines and continue to be semi-productive. I also canít seem to find much about the laws about SDs in Pennsylvania/Philadelphia. Only a bunch on pet dogs attacking service dogs(definitely very important, but not exactly what Iím looking for). Does anyone have any experience? Especially with SDís in training.

Any advice or comments would be seriously appreciated. And I would be more than happy to answer any questions! Thank you so much!



Offline Kirsten

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2016, 10:59:21 AM »
To determine whether or not you are legally disabled, have a discussion with the medical providers who treat you for the migraines and ask them whether you are substantially limited by your condition.  You can use our article and flow chart to aid in the discussion:  http://servicedogcentral.org/content/qualify-for-service-dog and http://servicedogcentral.org/content/files/QualifyForServiceDog.pdf respectively

For a dog to be considered a service dog, it must be individually trained to do work or tasks that mitigate the disability of their disabled human partner.  There's a current thread that I posed a lengthy reply to yesterday that discusses this in greater detail.  Here:  http://servicedogcentral.org/forum/index.php?topic=42932.msg310789#msg310789

Will you get grief for using a very small dog as a service dog?  Yes, probably.  You'll also have to deal with size issues in that there are venues and situations where she's got to heel and remain on the ground and cannot be carried.  A very small dog is going to need more survival training than a larger dog when heeling to avoid being trampled or run over with shopping carts.  You cannot put her into shopping carts without the store's permission and you cannot carry her above the level of tables in restaurants or above food buffets or food displays like fresh meat bins in grocery stores because gravity will cause hair and dander to land on someone else's food.

It typically takes 18-24 months to fully train a service dog.  This recent discussion covers some of the steps required:  http://servicedogcentral.org/forum/index.php?topic=42954.0 and there are articles on the front end of the site on owner-training:  http://servicedogcentral.org/content/owner-training
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Offline Azariah

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2016, 12:54:28 PM »
I would "think" that if a dog can reliably alert you to your migraines it would be considered a medical alert and fall under the service dog definition. I get migraines and was asking similar question on a different thread as it would be a "nice to have" to get an alert in advance of the aura so I could get to a safe spot. No idea how you train that at all.

If you do fall under the disabled and task definition, you'll still need to train your dog for public access work so that it is well behaved in public. Walking nicely on a leash. Not whining. Being able to stay under a booth/table/desk and do nothing for an hour. Be exposed to lots of strange situations without exhibiting fear behavior. Etc... My puppy was able to get through a lot of this in 6 months but I have an unusually calm and well behaved dog and a lot of experience training on the obedience side. She still has some work to do but I feel comfortable with her in most public settings. For most people without obedience/service training experience I'd guess just the public access phase would take a good 1-2 years.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2016, 01:11:26 PM »
If it's not trained, then it might or might not be something you can legally count as a task.  Case law and even guidances are not clear on this point when it comes to alerts but it appears to me that the reason it is not clear is because the civil servants making regulations and guidances do not understand what an alert is and think it is a trained behavior.  If it is the only thing the dog does, then you have a weak claim on the dog being a service dog.

Azariah, what you have been doing is habituation, not public access training.
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Offline sarahe

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2016, 02:15:47 PM »
Thank you, Kristen! I spent the majority of the morning going through the links you linked in your post a, as well as the articles in the front end of the site! What I found especially helpful was all the terminology you go through, such as the differences between an alert and a signal as well as a candidate vs an SDit and a fully trained SD. All your articles on owner training were also extremely helpful as well.

After reading your articles on whether or not one qualifies for an SD as well as using your extremely handy flow chart, I've come to the conclusion that I am disabled by my migraines. My doctor is very worried because without taking my medication or taking it too late, I'm rendered just about or completely blind(along with crazy colors it just goes completely black) and and I'm unable to work or even do basic things for about a day or two afterwards. And this happens more than 5 times a month. I haven't talked to my doctor about an SD yet, I wanted to do some research(and she's also on vacation haha). But when she gets back I will definitely be sure to bring it up now that I have all this information!

So, correct me if I'm wrong please, but her nudging me before I get the migraine(she doesn't do this at any other time) could be considered a medical alert(thanks Azariah!). And then if I were able to train her to retrieve my medication(I keep some in a little bottle attached to my keys because I'm the forgetful type) because in the midst of an aura I'm physically unable to, that would be considered a task. (I being this up because the other day I dropped my purse and my mom had to get my keys out so I could get the meds)

Trining wise she has sit, down, bow, stay, sit-stay, down-stay, she naturally heels(depending on which hand I'm holding her leash in she either walks right by my left or right foot), she "goes potty" on command(especially helpful if it's raining or snowing outside), she doesn't eat anything off the ground or sniff too much. I've also taken her to let friendly places(yay for Philly having many) and shes always a charm. I volunteered at a shelter through middle school, high school, and college -always wanted a dog but my parents never got one, so that was the next best thing, so I got a lot of experience with basic obedience and manners, and I find it legitamently fun and stress relieving. She's also comes to work with me a few days a week(yay for pet friendly work places!) and she lays at my feet and either chews a bone or sleeps and waits for our next walk.  So would this mean that if I did chose to seriously go the SD route, with the training she has she would be considered an SDit. What would you recommend as the next step for training wise?

Also I just wanted to say kudos to you for having such a great website. I feel like I've learned so much! I also appreciate/adore that your dogs name is Tardis, it's so clever I can't believe I didn't think of it!

Offline Punktestern

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2016, 09:52:27 PM »
If it's not trained, then it might or might not be something you can legally count as a task.  Case law and even guidances are not clear on this point when it comes to alerts but it appears to me that the reason it is not clear is because the civil servants making regulations and guidances do not understand what an alert is and think it is a trained behavior.  If it is the only thing the dog does, then you have a weak claim on the dog being a service dog.

Azariah, what you have been doing is habituation, not public access training.

When I called the ADA hotline to ask that question, they said that a natural alert was not considered a task, but if you shaped the behavior to another form (so if your dog naturally stares or whatever and you trained a nose touch and sit sequence) then it was. Does that fall in line with what you've seen/know?

Sorry to derail, I just wanted to check!

Edit: I forgot a word. Clarified for clarity. X- P
« Last Edit: December 23, 2016, 09:54:00 PM by Punktestern »
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2016, 10:35:53 PM »
I get inconsistent views from various official sources. So the best I can say is that it is a grey area, but not an important one. I find it very difficult to believe that a person who benifits enough from alerting to make it worth dragging a dog everywhere to have that has nothing else whatever that they need help with.

I have observed people claiming alerting as their sole task with other suspicious behavior (like acquiring the disabilities of others or otherwise giving stories that differ widely and become refined as they find a way to fake something and even heard people admit to faking because it's hard to confirm or dispute whether the animal can really alert). Are all with alert-only dogs faking? No I don't think that can be the case. But I do think a disproportionate number of people fake alerting and mental illness specifically to get dogs on planes.

It's nice to know in advance the seizure is coming but that doesn't resolve the whole problem. I'm still going to have the seizure. If that seizure isn't a problem in and of itself, then it isn't a disability and there's no need to be warned it's coming. Right? So during and/or immediately following the seizure I'm unable to perform one or more major life activities. I've got an expensive and highly trained dog to help me and yet I don't want to put a small amount of additional training in him to mitigate the seizure. Doesn't that seem a little strange? The pattern I've seen is with dogs misbehaving and that being called an alert and the over all quality of the dog's training being poor and I have to conclude that at least some people are claiming alerting (that is fake) because they aren't able to train the dog to do something real.

It's just a very muddled and messed up area of the SD world that I would not base the entire legitimacy of my dog being a service dog on.
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Offline Punktestern

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2016, 10:42:12 PM »
I get inconsistent views from various official sources. So the best I can say is that it is a grey area, but not an important one. I find it very difficult to believe that a person who benifits enough from alerting to make it worth dragging a dog everywhere to have that has nothing else whatever that they need help with.

I have observed people claiming alerting as their sole task with other suspicious behavior (like acquiring the disabilities of others or otherwise giving stories that differ widely and become refined as they find a way to fake something and even heard people admit to faking because it's hard to confirm or dispute whether the animal can really alert). Are all with alert-only dogs faking? No I don't think that can be the case. But I do think a disproportionate number of people fake alerting and mental illness specifically to get dogs on planes.

It's nice to know in advance the seizure is coming but that doesn't resolve the whole problem. I'm still going to have the seizure. If that seizure isn't a problem in and of itself, then it isn't a disability and there's no need to be warned it's coming. Right? So during and/or immediately following the seizure I'm unable to perform one or more major life activities. I've got an expensive and highly trained dog to help me and yet I don't want to put a small amount of additional training in him to mitigate the seizure. Doesn't that seem a little strange? The pattern I've seen is with dogs misbehaving and that being called an alert and the over all quality of the dog's training being poor and I have to conclude that at least some people are claiming alerting (that is fake) because they aren't able to train the dog to do something real.

It's just a very muddled and messed up area of the SD world that I would not base the entire legitimacy of my dog being a service dog on.

We need a 'like' button (but I'd probably abuse it liking all of your thorough posts). Thanks for the response, that makes sense!
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Offline Azariah

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2016, 11:35:22 PM »
I can see the get me to a safe distance place as being a useful task too. I say that because I used to help a friend navigate at work when she had an aura. Someone is not always around to do that and a dog would be.
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Offline Cocoajensen

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2016, 12:42:06 AM »
Related question - The other night, b/c of my medications, I slipped & fell in the kitchen & could not get back up without help.  Now, Casper, my 4 y/o rat terrier, is a VERY well-trained companion, that might have been a service dog except for his high strung personality & SQUIRREL! moments.  He is the only dog, at the moment, that isn't kenneled at night.  He comes to check on my, and gets agitated, b/c I'm upset.  I attempted to use terms that I might usually use to get him to go get daddy (my husband).  Instead, he licks my face & acts, as I'd reasonably expect, confused.  I finally manage to get my voice raised enough to wake hubby, and he whines & moans & comes & helps me up & I'm fine.  These falls are a very real risk, I have several a year.  I'm assuming that training Whiskey to help me in some way - grab my purse (has my cell phone in it, then I can call for help).  I can send her to get help if I've fallen, and assuming she's being enough & her hips & elbows are good, she can learn to help me get up on my own.  Are those items that are considered tasks, b/c they have multiple steps to them that have to be taught?  Also being able to retrieve medical supplies that might be stored in a convenient place, that happens to not be where I fell.  And what about just retrieving things I've dropped, rather than have to rely on another to pick something up if I'm having balance or mobilit issues.


Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2016, 02:23:54 AM »
Related question - The other night, b/c of my medications, I slipped & fell in the kitchen & could not get back up without help.  Now, Casper, my 4 y/o rat terrier, is a VERY well-trained companion, that might have been a service dog except for his high strung personality & SQUIRREL! moments.  He is the only dog, at the moment, that isn't kenneled at night.  He comes to check on my, and gets agitated, b/c I'm upset.  I attempted to use terms that I might usually use to get him to go get daddy (my husband).  Instead, he licks my face & acts, as I'd reasonably expect, confused.  I finally manage to get my voice raised enough to wake hubby, and he whines & moans & comes & helps me up & I'm fine.  These falls are a very real risk, I have several a year.  I'm assuming that training Whiskey to help me in some way - grab my purse (has my cell phone in it, then I can call for help).  I can send her to get help if I've fallen, and assuming she's being enough & her hips & elbows are good, she can learn to help me get up on my own.  Are those items that are considered tasks, b/c they have multiple steps to them that have to be taught?  Also being able to retrieve medical supplies that might be stored in a convenient place, that happens to not be where I fell.  And what about just retrieving things I've dropped, rather than have to rely on another to pick something up if I'm having balance or mobilit issues.

I had a moment like that a while back when I was living alone with my fiance. I fell down the front stairs and made it back to couch but was immobilized crying in the middle of an anxiety attack. I encouraged Rayner to bark from his kennel, and he woke up my fiance who read a text I sent him and come into the living room to help. I couldn't call out because the wind was knocked out of me. Rayner heard me struggling and I clapped and spoke as loudly as I could encouraging him to bark. It was an odd moment of cooperation. He couldn't see me or hardly hear me but he knew something was wrong and I kept encouraging his vocalizations until he was blatantly barking. One good reason to teach a "speak" command.

Getting help, getting a mobility device or assistive device (a cell phone to call for help, a cane, medication) in an emergency related to your disability, helping you get up, and picking up dropped items your disability prevents or complicates you retrieving yourself should all be considered tasks.

Now, if you trained the dog to call 911 if your house caught on fire, it's not a task because it's not mitigating a disability. If the dog is trained to retrieve medicine you could carry on you, you may face a contest to the legitimacy of the task. If you taught the dog to help you up or fetch dropped items but didn't have a disabling reason you can't do this on your own it's not a task.

It's all dependent on the disability and how the behavior relates to and mitigates the disability.
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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2016, 02:28:06 AM »
I can see the get me to a safe distance place as being a useful task too. I say that because I used to help a friend navigate at work when she had an aura. Someone is not always around to do that and a dog would be.

I know a dog large enough to have a small pull strap attached to a vest or harness could lead their temporarily blinded or quite visually impaired handler to a safe place, but what can a 5 lb dog do to safely lead their handler? That isn't meant argumentatively, I'm genuinely curious how that task (if it would be useful) would be accomplished with a 5 lb dog.
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Offline Azariah

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2016, 03:12:51 AM »
Can a small dog guide the blind? One main issue with auras is you cannot see well. My guiding friend was more like guiding rather than pulling/carrying.
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Offline swimmergirl247

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2016, 04:44:26 AM »
just a few of my thoughts a a severe migraine suffer

how can a 5 lb dog get medication if you carry it in your purse/keys?
when you have an aura what do you thing your dog can do to help?

I will note that a dog does need to be a certain weight to be able to guide you. a 5 lbs of foces on a leash won't do you any good and your dog is simply to small to attact any type of pull strap or handle. if you want this a dog in the 20-40 bls range is much more preferable, but some have doe it with less dendind on how much you are dependingon it, but if ou blind or early blind during an aura that would be like the number one thing I'd want. it just can you feel the pull and is it safe.

I have a person in a project i'm working on that has a shitz sue migraine alert dog, still small but I think maybe 10-15 lbs range, here aura causes blindness and total paralysis of one side of her body. her dog is trained to alert (though a nose nudge) then she has a bit of time before the worst, scooter can get her pills, and juice box  get help if she falls, helps undress when she gets home(will pull her shirt and socks off), can bring a folding cane to her chair or bed, and pull the curtains and turn off the lights in her room. all hard tasks (meaning hoard to dispute) but while scooter is great her next dog will be larger, so she doesn't have adjust for her dogs limitations as much. but he is a amazily special dog and a god send for her.

so I guess I would ask yourself what CAN your dog do, and does enough of it alinge to what you might need? I would at least try and train 2 response tasks, your dog is on the "old" side to start training, but since he is a small dog he will likely live longer, but i would seriously be worried about your dogs safety in public too like constantly. I have a 66 lb mini horse(standard poode) and people still "miss" him don't notice step on his paws bump into his face etc. and if they can't be bothered to see a 29 inch poodle(then freak out either good or bad way) I don't know what else would grab there attention. just a word to the wise. 
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Offline Azariah

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Re: So many questions, so few answers from google
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2016, 10:56:33 AM »
1 year old should not be too old to start training???
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