Saturday, September 13, 2014

Are you considering training your own service dog?

In my new book, A guide to choosing and training your own service dog, I address a lot of the questions you are likely trying to find answers to.  

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 2.
"There was a man whose family wanted him to have a service dog. They thought if he got a puppy to train himself, it would fill a void in his life. He reluctantly agreed. He signed two contracts – one buying the puppy and one with a service dog trainer to help guide him through the training process. A few months after he got his puppy, he gave her back to the breeder and defaulted on the training contract. Why did this happen?
"Neither the breeder nor the trainer properly vetted this gentleman. If they had, they would never have placed a puppy with him. He lived alone in an apartment. The family members who wanted him to have the puppy in the first place were not available to help him with the logistics of working long hours while raising and training a puppy. With no one to help him, he found himself more and more frustrated. He lived in a place where the summers are long and extremely hot. His puppy arrived in the middle of one of those summers. The only time he could be outside with his puppy – around the apartment complex where he lived – was very early in the morning and near or after sunset. By the time he got home after a long day at work, he was tired. He wanted peace and quiet but what he got was an enthusiastic puppy who had been home alone all day and needed to play. 
"This man’s income was not sufficient to hire a dog walker or send his puppy to doggy day care. Fearful of losing his job, he was unwilling to take his dog to work. Eventually his hours were cut and his borderline income decreased even more. The stress in his life increased and so, although he loved the puppy, he had to send her back. 
"A puppy who does not get the right amount of exercise, human contact, consistent long-term training, and intellectual stimulation will not thrive. Think long and hard before you make the decision to train your own service dog. It is a huge commitment. And it can be heartbreaking if it doesn’t work out."
In A guide to choosing and training your own service dog, I address the cost of service dogs, how to go about choosing the right dog to train, purebreds vs. rescue dogs, and puppies vs. adult dogs. And I answer questions like "Do I have get rid of my family dogs before I get a service dog?". Learn about the rights leashes, collars and vests, as well as how to keep your working dog healthy and safe. There are resources and forms and checklists galore ... all meant to help you make a good decision about a service dog.

I invite you to take a peek into the wild, wild west that is the world of service dogs.

Available on Amazon.

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