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I receive numerous calls from prospective clients daily concerning their need and desire for a trained Psychiatric Service Dog. Most people are concerned with:
1. Do I qualify for a Service Dog?
2. How long does it take to get a dog from you?
3. How much does it cost?
To me this tells me that the person inquiring isn’t at a point where they have become serious about actually acquiring an actual dog, but are still trying to determine the “ifs” about getting a dog. The problem is, because they start out like this, as things progress they tend to either miss, forget, or somehow omit the really important questions that you do need answers for.
LAYING YOUR FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS WITH YOUR PROVIDER
The following questions would more likely, if you continue, lay the foundation that will determine the successfulness of your Service Dog experience with your provider:
1. What qualifies you to train a Service Dog for me?
2. What is your educational background?
3. What Awards have you been honored with for your work with dogs?
4. How long have you been training Service dogs?
A. What references do you have?
B. Do you have a professional source that can verify the quality of your work?
THE REAL DELIMMA
No matter how, where, or when you do get your dog, once you do, you are stuck with an animal who is going to live with you, in your house, with your family, and around your community. What will happen then depends on
- The particular dog that was selected, trained, and placed with you.
- The relationship and bond that dog has with you.
- The quality of the training imprinted in the dog you receive.
You need to be involved in the selection process.
Make sure that the dog selected is capable of doing the tasks you are purchasing them to do. Many times my clients aren’t focused, and don’t send me or communicate to us about important tasks that they need their dogs to do. Without our background of expertise they would be up the creek. Make sure that your provider knows every detail about the dog you want and need.
Your provider needs to understand that you are paying them, and they are working for, YOU. They need to be focused on your needs, and training your dog the way you want. If not, you are wasting your time. Most providers don’t even train their dogs for a specific person. They instead generically train a dog, and then put it with you, and expect it to work. That usually doesn’t happen.
THE TRUTH ABOUT SERVICE DOG PROVIDERS
Some years ago several trainers from a Guide Dog facility in California came to me to observe what and how we trained dogs. They were part of the upper echelon of trainers at that facility and were interested in a comparison between what we were doing, compared with what they were doing. Some of them were quite experienced, and very good at what they were doing. I was looking for some trainers, and they were very interested. Unfortunately, our training was on a level so far above theirs that they were stupefied, and completely unprepared. You wouldn’t think that a business like that would use lower level trainers with no other experience, but obviously they did. Especially when they make over $50,000.00 for each dog they train, you would expect a higher level of training, more knowledge, expertise, and ability in their trainers. It is a simple fact that most Service Dog training schools hire advanced beginner trainers, and use them to train YOUR dog.
We take our dogs out daily, and see other “Service” trained dogs all the time. We have yet to meet a single dog trained to do the job in an adequate measure. The selection, training, and placement of the dogs we encounter is poor in comparison with what we offer. My only comment here is make sure you are going to get the quality and behavior you are paying for.
Recently another “Service Dog” School in California went bankrupt. The owner had a website that looked good, and put out blogs that seemed intelligent. However, she lied. She claimed to have a 5 year-old -son with Autism, but failed to inform you that she had institutionalized him at 18 months, and only visited him occasionally. She also didn’t inform her clients about the numerous unsatisfied dog clients she was dealing with, which caused her to file bankruptcy, and close her business. While many clients called us for help, people had invested thousands in her business, and lost it all.
I realize that not every client is going to be happy with the results of their experience. Some times it’s their fault, and once in a while it’s the suppliers. However, when we have a questionable experience with a client we replace the dog, and make sure that the client is happy. Unless they have been dishonest, or just are looking to make a quick dollar at our expense, we please them all, and go beyond reason to do so. It’s only fair.
THIS IS A CRITICAL BUSINESS
No matter what anyone says, this is a critical, and sometimes life and death business. Every client who contacts us does so with great needs. Every client we deal with is here with serious concerns. We try very hard to find out all the particulars as soon as possible, in as much detail as we can, but often the client holds back. We ask for videos of the home, the family, and the affected individual, along with doctor’s statements, etc., and constantly find the need for more. Even when you’ve got the information YOU need, training the special dog you’ve chosen to perform the tasks and functions needed, on the level you need them, the way the client needs them to be performed, is always critical and important. Though life goes on, catches you up with emergencies and problems that get in your way, slow or stop your progress and cause you trouble, no excuse is acceptable to our clients, when they come to get a “trained” dog.
WHAT IS A TRAINED DOG?
A trained dog is a dog that is conditioned to perform specific behaviors and ‘tasks’, a specific way, under specific conditions, in specific environments. When you change the specifics, it affects the performance and responsiveness from the dog. Therefore it is extremely important that during the training process, when the dog is learning, that they be subjected to different environments, handlers, and circumstances that will match those they are going to encounter, when they go to their handlers home. If not, the dog will most probably NOT perform or behave in the manner which the supplier has trained them for YOU.
WHAT IS A PSYCHIATRIC SERVICE DOG
In my blog “WHAT IS A PSYCHIATRIC SERVICE DOG”, I try to explain the differences between the older model of Service Dog and the newer Psychiatric Service Dog.
HOW ARE PSCHIATRIC SERVICE DOGS USED? I have found over the past 35 years that our handlers use their dogs as:
• A detector of neurological energies caused by abnormal brain-wave related behaviors.
• A counter-balance against unwanted neurological behaviors.
• A safe guard against unwanted behaviors, both voluntary and involuntary, in the handler.
• A shield against stress, caused inside the handler, in the environment around them, and by others.
• A doorway to connection, with the family, society, and the world around them.
• An enabling presence, giving them the ability to function as needed.
• A balancing presence, keeping them balanced by counter-balancing unwanted neurological and physiological problems, created by the hypothalamus in their brains, and causing physiological behaviors for them, which they cannot control.
• A comforting presence, by physically responding to the handler, keeping them safe, happy, and functional, in a world that they have to live in.
UNDER THE NEW ADA LAWS:
• Each of these functions can be considered a “task” that the dog performs for the client.
• Unlike a guide, or mobility dog, a psychiatric Service Dog’s tasks are designed around enhancing their handler’s ability to function better.
• The first task the dog has is to help their handler balance their mental/emotional behaviors.
They are trained to help their handler:
1. To feel less stress
2. To be less frustrated
3. To communicate and respond better
4. To be more neurologically balanced
5. To have fewer emotional disruptions
6. To focus and concentrate better
7. To be more cognitive and rational
For someone with a Developmental Disability, Severe Anxiety, PTSD, Seizure behaviors, Panic Attacks, Depression, Hyper Tension, Bi-Polar and personality disorders, and accompanying physical disorders and disabilities, these dogs can be life transforming and lifesaving.
AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR IN A GOOD SERVICE DOG PROVIDER.
BOB TAYLOR’S LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS And CURRICULUM VITAE
• Multi-National (18 X) Protection, Tracking, and Obedience Dogsports (Schutzhund) Champion
• MULTI-Master Tracking Dog National Champion
• Merit of Honor-German Shepherd Dog Club
• Over 150 Service dogs trained, certified, and successfully placed in the disabled community.
• Thirty years, California Superior Court K9 Expert
• Trained over Over 1,000 dangerous dogs
“In my opinion Bob Taylor is the formost trainer in his field.” Seymour Weintraub, President, Columbia/Universal Pictures, Producer of Tarzan and other animal movies.
“Having searched the world, we believe Bob Taylor is the best dog trainer we can find.” Chairman Lee, SAMSUNG CORPORATION, Korea.
“Having trained at the top 7 facilities for K9 training in America, I must state that Bob Taylor’s training is beyond compare. “The late Dr. David Kelso, PHD, Fema Director for Search & Rescue K9s in Northwest United States for 10 years. Handler of America’s top Search & Rescue, Service Dogs, Therapy K9s, trained by Bob Taylor.
• Ex(Retired) Los Angeles Police Officer,
• Ex(Retired) Long Beach Animal Control Officer.
• CONSULTANT: Southern California Animal Control Officers Association
• CONSULTANT: United States Federal Post Office, & So Cal Edison.
• Retained as Manager of Animal Services by Samsung Electronics, Seoul South Korea.
• Over 28 years CALIFORNIA’S SUPERIOR COURT CERTIFIED K9 EXPERT
• Helped create the “Dangerous Dog “ Laws for the State of California
• Worked on several dozen cases in SUPERIOR COURTS and ANIMAL COURTS throughout California involving dog bites and vicious dogs, nuisance dogs, etc.
• Have worked with Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego District Attorneys, and Public Defenders Offices from 1985-2012.
• In the past six years retained to testify with three murder trials involving dogs.
• Rehabilitated and trained over 1,000 dangerous dogs.
• Titled over 50 dogs in the sport of Schutzhund.
• 6 TIMES United States National Dog Sport (Schutzhund/Police K9) Champion for Tracking, Obedience, and Protection K9 training.
• 3 times National Tracking Dog Champion (1st, 2nd, and 4th out of the top 57 trackers in America in 1992).
• Awarded the “Merit of Honor for Outstanding Contribution to the German Shepherd breed in America”, by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America-Working Dog Association
• Qualified 12 Times to represent The German Shepherd Dog Club of America at the World Meisterschaft (Championships). Trained the highest scoring female at the World Championships. Trained several other National and World Championship Champion K9s.
• Extensive education with several UNIVERSITY (Long Beach State University, LA & LB City Colleges) & College Degrees.
• Author of 8 published kindle books on Dog Training and Psychology.
• Owner/Operator DOGWISH, Inc. 10 years, 38 years running dog training businesses in the State of California
• In 2006 Bob Taylor was awarded the “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Journal of Longevity Magazine, for his work with the Disabled.
• Red Cross “American Hero” for 2006, by Dr. David Kelso, VP AMERICAN RED CROSS.
• Make-a-Wish Foundation Vender of the Year 2009, 27 years of service as their Critical Dog Trainer
• In 2007 and for four consecutive years Bob was retained to return, and trained special Police Dogs that he bred, raised, and personally trained, to guard the homes of several actors and high profile VIPs on 3 different Caribbean Resort Islands.
• Bred, trained, and placed over 150 Service Dogs for people with Neurological Disabilities including: Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Alzheimer’s Disease, Severe Anxiety & Panic Attacks, P.T.S.D., Mitochondrial Disease, Cerebral Palsy, Prader Willi’s Syndrome, and several other related disorders, Seizures and related disabilities, etc.
• Consultant for the State of California Board of Education, Department of Developmental Disabilities (presently this have a pilot program and am training many dogs through the State Regional Centers), to train for the public, and for Public School Special Needs Teachers.
• Involved in Research with the University of Riverside, Professor Choe, concerning the special scent discrimination abilities of Dogs for Detection
Bob Taylor is currently involved in:
1. A pilot program with the State of California, Board of Education, Department of Developmental Disabilities to place Service Dogs with:
a. families through Regional Centers
b. Public School Special Needs Teachers
2. Research with Leading Universities (University of Riverside & Irvine) on Scent Detection, (Bed Bug Detection K9s), using his own trained dogs
3. Placing hundreds of Service Dogs throughout America, etc., with The Dog Wish Incorporated that he founded and runs, as the President of the Board of Directors.
4. Has obtained Certification on Dementia and related Neurological concerns, including caregiving, from 3 prominent Universities, including Duke University, John Hopkins School of Nursing, and the University of Tasmania in New Zealand.
5. Has written several books on Dog Training, and Dog Psychology.
Bob has numerous letters of personal referral from active clients he has placed dogs with during the past three years.
I hope this blog has helped you and resolved many questions you may have. If you have more questions or concerns, we are here for you. Call Bob at 760-662-3767, or email us at email@example.com.