Author Topic: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?  (Read 556 times)

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Offline kserotte

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Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« on: November 28, 2017, 01:38:31 PM »
I am a middle aged woman with MS, who recently developed balance and mobility issues.  I am able to walk if I have something to hold on to.  I also suffer from overwhelming fatigue.  I am considering a BMSD to help me maintain independence.

I'm not sure this would be a wise move for me or for the dog.  My husband and I have owned several dogs.  It has been impossible for me to maintain discipline with them because my husband refuses to participate in training.  He has spoiled every dog we have had.  He gives them snacks and table scraps.  He encourages them to chase after squirrels.  He actually trained one of our dogs to chew on his socks and to run out the door to the back yard before him!  She did not have these behaviors when we first adopted her.  Imagine trying to extinguish unwanted behaviors in a dog while your spouse encourages them.  It just doesn't work.

I thought I might have some success with a service dog if I make it crystal clear to my spouse that the dog is mine, and he is not to interact with it.  Even if that works, I worry that a well-trained service dog could pick up bad habits from the spoiled American Eskimo Dog who we have now.  What do you all think?  Is it a fool's errand for me to try to partner with a dog in this chaotic environment? 

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2017, 03:20:41 PM »
I don't let any of my friends or family members interact with my service dog in public except for the few times I need someone I trust to hold her leash for a brief period of time during specific types of medical procedures. When she is off duty in the house she is free to interact with everyone just the same as my pet dogs. I do her feeding and grooming unless I'm unable though and I issue her commands.

A pet dog with bad habits definitely can influence a well trained dog to pick up some of those bad habits as well. A service dog is even more likely to pick up bad habits if it is not coming fully trained from a program but rather being trained by the disabled person themselves. This is because an untrained, often young dog will not have the understanding of why it should refrain from the bad habits. It would be less about behavior slipping and more about not having a good frame of what to do and it being difficult to enforce good behavior with one dog and not with another. A service dog is going to be much more successful if you work with your Eskie to retrain some of those nuisance behaviors.

I think the biggest issue is going to be your husband. If he is absolutely adamant that he will touch, talk to, engage with, feed, and spoil your service dog whenever and wherever he pleases, it almost certainly will not work out long term for you to have a well trained service dog who maintains that training. It will be crucial that your husband truly hear the necessity for him to not spoil your service dog or encourage bad habits. It will make maintaining and furthering training extremely difficult and many programs would not consider placing a service dog in a home where not all family members are on board with complying with rules set out by the handler and/or program.
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Offline Azariah

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2017, 03:24:11 PM »
I'll give you my viewpoint but I'd encourage others to participate as well. I'm pretty experienced with obedience dog training but newer to service dog work. I have an older dog (almost 13), a 3 year old dog, and a 1 year old service dog in training.

Generally I've let my husband and kids be pretty laid back at home with our 3 dogs. There are a few things that I've made sure they agree too and are consistent with. An example would be if you give the dog a command to make sure that it is only given once and that the dog follows through on it. They can always choose not to ask the dog to do something. When we are eating I won't let any table food be fed until everyone is done eating and we've cleaned up. And I generally don't let the dogs stand in front of us begging while we eat. But I'll allow for table food to be given at the end of the meal.

As long as I'm consistent with my training with my service dog I haven't found the family to be a major issue as long as they follow a few boundaries. I can't think of everything right now as I'm pretty tired.

All of that being said - keep in mind that the other dogs in my house are very well behaved obedience dogs with a lot of training. My puppy does watch them for cues on how to behave and does mimic some of their behavior. So I think on the question for your Eskie it kind of depends upon how unbehaved it is. I'd assume you'll be getting a dog from a program and they can probably give you advice as well.

I'm not sure how much this helps...
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Offline Azariah

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2017, 03:25:52 PM »
Quote
I don't let any of my friends or family members interact with my service dog in public except for the few times I need someone I trust to hold her leash for a brief period of time during specific types of medical procedures. When she is off duty in the house she is free to interact with everyone just the same as my pet dogs.

This would be true for me as well. If we are out in public my husband and kids are not allowed to interact with Serenity. The one exception that I make is when we leave someplace - like a restaurant - I'll allow them to interact with her briefly after we exit. I try to draw a pretty solid line that when we are out in public she is working and more like medical equipment/robot. At home if she's off duty she's basically a pet so they can play and interact pretty freely with her.

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2017, 03:51:21 PM »
I do think that the Eskie could be a problem. I suppose it'd be possible to work around it, if you're very meticulous and careful, but I think it'd be extremely, extremely difficult.

Perhaps you can experiment with your Eskie? Think of it as practice for the future service dog. Decide what your rules will be when you get the service dog and start enforcing them with the Eskie. Practice training the Eskie. This could be a way for your husband to learn SD etiquette in a situation where it's not vital for him to know; so when you get the dog he already knows what to do, but if he makes mistakes with the Eskie it's not really a big deal. It would also be an opportunity to practice some training skills and to retrain the Eskie's bad habits so that it won't pass them along to the future puppy.

That's just a suggestion, though.



I personally never let my family interact with Max while he's working. That doesn't stop them from trying :dry:. It's difficult to be insistent, especially with family members. My family are literally worse than most of the obnoxious MOPs that I've met. And it's so much worse because they're much more distracting to Max than random strangers. So if your husband isn't willing to follow the SD rules, then it definitely might be a problem.

At home, Max is just a pet. He gets loved on, snuggled with, 'illegally' fed by family members when I'm not looking (:mad:), cooed at, played with, teased, and so on. But in public, I ask that they pretend he's not even there, other than to not step on him.
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Online SandyStern

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2017, 05:06:26 PM »
Welcome!
I use a balance-walker dog. I think you're being smart about this, and I'll give you my perspective. There are a number of things that line up on the "con" side of the list:
Would you be able to use the dog without hurting it? If you need the dog to support you, or if you are at risk of pushing down on the harness when you lose your balance, you could hurt the dog. Kirsten knows more about this, and I'm sure she'll explain it better.  If you could use the dog for true counterbalance, only pulling up on the harness with slight pressure, it could work. Having a dog pull you forward when you're tired is okay in very short bursts, but if you do it for any length of time, you will wreck your back from the diagonal force.
I think your husband is a huge problem. If you asked him not to spoil your pet dogs and he went right ahead and did it, he will might give you lip service, but the minute your back is turned, he'll think it's cute to have a conspiracy of "don't tell mommy" with a service dog.
Fewer programs are training balance-walker dogs now. Owner-training is very difficult. The dog works out in front of you, so his head will be into everything and you can't really control it.  Temperament has to be one in a million for that.  If a dog works behind you, he can put his nose to your leg and tune out the world. My dog has to cruise past a cheese display in the grocery store without my giving him any guidance.

On the "pro" side of the list, a service dog could bring you things in the house when you're too fatigued to get them, open doors, hit elevator buttons and do a host of things like that-- right up until the time your husband turned him back into a pet.  How frustrating for you!

Again, welcome to the community. We'll try to give you as much information as we have.

Offline kserotte

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2017, 01:43:07 PM »
Would you be able to use the dog without hurting it? If you need the dog to support you, or if you are at risk of pushing down on the harness when you lose your balance, you could hurt the dog.
 

I did not know this.  Thank you!  If I cannot train myself out of this behavior, I guess I'm barking up the wrong tree.

Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2017, 09:13:28 PM »
Having a dog pull you forward when you're tired is okay in very short bursts, but if you do it for any length of time, you will wreck your back from the diagonal force.

I disagree. Many members here use forward momentum on a dog who is the correct height and with a proper harness, with no negative side effects. Forward momentum when done right does not hurt, or else guide dog handlers would be in excruciating pain, especially those who've been handling for years and years with several dogs back to back. Guide dogs are using forward momentum to apply forward pressure felt in the handle that is balanced by the resistance provided by the handlers hand and arm. They are moving at a set pace and the dog is not being held back by it's handler. They are moving as one unit, the dog is simply walking ahead at a set pace in a set position.

It all depends on the height of the dog, the fit of the harness, the height of the handle and the forward pressure applied by the dog.

Someone using momentum pull should be completely upright, with their arm slightly bent at the elbow when harness is in hand. They should be holding a bridge handle or soft handle.

https://imgur.com/a/ViSl6

I made an oversimplified graphic on MS paint. A dog using momentum pull and a dog guiding will look pretty much the same, minus the handle if the momentum pull is done with a soft handle. Neither is painful. The biggest difference is the behavior of the dog while the handle is holding the handle.
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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2017, 09:23:27 PM »
There is a difference between a guide harness and a typical harness used for momentum pulling. If you're primary task is momentum pull you would be better suited with a properly fitted (to dog and handle length to you) guide harness. The harnesses that are going to be most useful for counterbalance are not going to have such long handles and are not going to be the ones most ideal for long periods of momentum pulling. Sandy is right, it will wreck your back to do momentum pulling for more than short bursts at a time. Jubilee will help me get up hills or walk forward when I'm tired, but if I do it for more than a minute or so I feel it in my back. Especially if you're prone to muscle issues or have weak muscles, pulled or strained back muscles are likely after a long enough period of momentum pull.
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Online SandyStern

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2017, 07:38:34 AM »
I think this is important, and maybe I should clarify.  There are some people who could benefit from the kind of gentle pressure exerted by a guide dog, but I don't think anyone with muscle weakness or fatigue would fall in that category.  I can only speak from my own experience, which is that when I started using the forward traction, I had an immediate childhood memory of the old ski-slope rope tows.  Before T-bars and chairlifts, there were rope tows. The skier would hold a loop on a heavy cable, and be pulled up the hill.  It was not a relaxing experience. If you weren't careful about tensing abdominal muscles and using both arms, you could end up with a bad backache from resisting the pull to one side.  It wasn't as much of a problem for us kids, but the adults complained all evening. If my dog is on my left and I use the pull strap more than briefly, the long muscles on the right side of my spine are going to spasm later in the day. I find that pulling can be helpful on hills. When climbing a hill, I tend to lean forward a bit and I can use my quads and glutes more. A little pressure from the strap can be a big help.

Everyone is different and even the same disability can affect us differently. I'm sure there are people who would get a big help from a dog pulling them forward on one side or the other. I just haven't met them yet!

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2017, 08:06:48 AM »
The configuration does make a difference.  A pull strap isn't going to position you for correct posture for long distance forward traction like a guide dog harness will.  A longer pull strap might help but it's also going to put you further back, making the dog more difficult to steer.  Guide dogs don't get much steering, just general directions.  A dog without obstacle avoidance training is going to need more input from the handler on things like narrow passes and low hanging obstacles.  And if the dog does have obstacle avoidance training, the handler needs to keep out of it and let the dog make those decisions or they'll damage the dog's confidence.

So is it a simple answer?  No.  But it is possible to do forward traction more comfortably than the technique you tried, Sandy.  Those guide handles are very carefully selected for the proper length based on the dog's height and the handler's height and arm length so that when the dog is pulling and the handler is relaxed the line from the handler's elbow to the dog's point of shoulder is a straight line.  The upper arm hangs down naturally, not pulled forward.  Guide dogs must keep a steady tension in that handle in order to guide, in order for their handler to feel what the dog is doing since they can't see it (or can't see it clearly).  With that tension you can actually feel when the dog turns his head, steps up or over something, changes stride length, you can even feel when the surface changes (say stepping onto hot pavement).  Without that tension, you get very little data through the handle.  So guide dog handlers operate with tension in that handle pretty much all the time the dog is guiding.

For those who have difficulty maintaining the proper posture there are offset and rotated handles available.  Does this mean a guide harness is a magic answer for balance or mobility dogs?  No.  But you do know a number of people who do work comfortably with that constant traction because you know guide dog users.  Cera and Arrow.  The three Albino Australian Amigos.  Sheenar maybe.  Responsiblek9 used such a harness for years (for mobility) before moving to a wheel chair.  I've used one for vertigo in the past, but am not using one currently because I don't have a harness of that style that fits Tardis (I use a longer pull strap instead).
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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2017, 08:11:39 AM »
If my dog is on my left and I use the pull strap more than briefly, the long muscles on the right side of my spine are going to spasm later in the day.

This has also been my experience. Like you said, everyone's experience is going to be different, but it's far more likely to experience pain and injury with muscle weakness and fatigue vs. someone with strong, healthy muscles. The latter person is less likely to benefit as much from momentum pulling though.

My PT has been excellent in incorporating a lot of the motions I use in dog sports with Jubi as well as how to best utilize things like momentum pull to minimize strain or injury to myself. It has made a world of difference in how much and how quickly I'm ripping my body up doing the things I love. It has helped in so many areas in everything from how to position myself so I'm most stable in a lunge on the dock and how to hold my arm so it is most stable when I toss the bumper to how to best hold a bucking Jubilee ready to chase a lure to how to engage my core muscles so my back is having to do less work to try and hold me up.

I am going to make this my shameless plug about PT and the usefulness in in having a good PT for anyone who struggles with any kind of orthopedic issues. There is so much to be gained from having a service dog, but it's phenomenal how much safer it is for the handler and the dog both short and long term if the handler knows how to best utilize what the dog has to offer and what their own body has to offer in terms of support as well.
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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2017, 09:44:06 AM »
I use forward momentum pulling on Olga as well as occasionally pulling up when my hip decides to take a dump and I have to pivot on my left hip to move forward. I'm currently waiting for my first PT appointment and I'm begging my doctor to give the green light for insurance to buy either a forearm crutch or a wheelchair because I have days where I have to either stop moving for a couple hours or be carried.

I've noticed if I rely too much on her moving me forward, it strains the right side of my back and it hurts quite a bit. I have resorted to using my english riding hands, where I was taught to "hug" the horse's mouth, not pull. If I allow for softer hands and follow her movements, I still get the forward momentum I need to walk avove a snail's pace but it's less strain on us both. I don't know if this is proper or not.

I'm also waiting on christmas money to get the BLD basic mobility harness because nothing else seems to be stout enough and I dont want to risk wearing down Olga with a harness that might not fit all of my needs and thus be used incorrectly. By then I should know about my own mobility assistive equipment and may not even need it if I get a wheelchair so it's all up in the air at the moment.

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Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2017, 10:32:41 AM »
Whoopsie.  :unsure:

I probably shouldn't have tried to explain something I don't use regularly. But I know that some harness configurations and handles allow for comfortable forward momentum for more than just a moment or two.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Are my spouse and our spoiled Eskie deal breakers?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2017, 10:54:23 AM »
Those harnesses are ridiculously expensive.  Why not hold off until you know for sure what you need?
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