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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome a few years ago, but I’ve likely had it my whole life secondary to a connective tissue disorder.


I’m wondering if there are some ways Peggy might be able to help me manage my symptoms. She’s shown some interest in my elevated heart rate once I’m already lying down, but doesn’t seem to notice it when I’m standing (which is when I could really use an alert).

Just putting this out there in case any current Poodle Forum members (or folks who are just googling “POTS service dog”) have any insights on training POTS-specific tasks to a poodle.

My one concern would be making her more protective of me than she already is. That’s not something I want.
 

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I have a different type of orthostatic intolerance, called neurally mediated hypotension. It basically means my heart is too slow when standing up, which could lead to fainting episodes.

I have no idea how to train Peggy but I know there are smart watches who can give you alerts based on your programmed max heart rate. I’m sure you know about those though.

(Is it just me or the pic in my siggy has disappeared ?)
 

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I have dysautonomia, but not POTS. I had the tilt table test, and it was inconclusive. I’ve struggled with the nerve condition for 10 years. I also have kidney disease and hypertension. Some tasks that would be useful for me from a service dog are emergency medication retrieval, counterbalance, picking things up and handing them to me (so I don’t get lightheaded from bending over), and guiding me to safety when I lose my vision due to a migraine. I also had hope that a service dog could alert me if my blood pressure gets too high so I can take emergency medication before it gets too bad, but that likely wouldn’t apply to you.
 

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I have puzzled and puzzled about your unique needs for a service dog-and now must be at a dead end on how to alert you. I so wish that I had some advice. Hopefully one of our certified trainers(Click N Treat and Lily cd re) might have some ideas.
 

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I think its difficult to train a service dog for POTS, which make them a much more expensive service animal to own. However I think they are great to offer stability and emotional support. You can teach Peggy to get help, if you feel faint or if you do faint. I've read they can be taught to even recognize symptoms before they occur. I have no idea how you would train. You can probably reach out to usserviceanimals.org to get some details.
 

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I don't, but I have friends that do. Both of them have service dogs that can warn them when their heart rate starts going haywire, as well as bring medication bottles to them. One friend's GSD bitch will lay on him, and not let him up, if she thinks he's going to pass out.

Neither one of them has a Poodle. One has a Doberman Pinscher (who is retired from public work due to injuries) and a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. The other one has two GSD (one retired from public wok due to injuries and the other a young puppy) and a Belgian Malinois.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have a different type of orthostatic intolerance, called neurally mediated hypotension. It basically means my heart is too slow when standing up, which could lead to fainting episodes.

I have no idea how to train Peggy but I know there are smart watches who can give you alerts based on your programmed max heart rate. I’m sure you know about those though.

(Is it just me or the pic in my siggy has disappeared ?)
I’ve not found one that alerts you. Will have to do some research!

I wore a Fitbit for a while, but it constantly congratulated me for working out when I was just standing there. I also found I was checking it compulsively, which wasn’t good for my mental health.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have dysautonomia, but not POTS. I had the tilt table test, and it was inconclusive. I’ve struggled with the nerve condition for 10 years. I also have kidney disease and hypertension. Some tasks that would be useful for me from a service dog are emergency medication retrieval, counterbalance, picking things up and handing them to me (so I don’t get lightheaded from bending over), and guiding me to safety when I lose my vision due to a migraine. I also had hope that a service dog could alert me if my blood pressure gets too high so I can take emergency medication before it gets too bad, but that likely wouldn’t apply to you.
We have a lot of overlapping stuff to deal with. I’m sorry. :( I have a connective tissue disorder, which causes frequent dislocations. So it’s hard for me to manage even a medium sized dog. But I’d love a big beefy pupper for stability and also maybe even to prop my legs up on. That would be amazing, but it’s not gonna happen. Boisterous adolescents are too much for my slippy shoulders and ribs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have puzzled and puzzled about your unique needs for a service dog-and now must be at a dead end on how to alert you. I so wish that I had some advice. Hopefully one of our certified trainers(Click N Treat and Lily cd re) might have some ideas.
I think I might start with teaching her to lie on my legs and apply pressure. She does that naturally anyway so it shouldn’t be too hard.....at least not at home. Out and about will be trickier. She’s not naturally very handler focused. The world is too exciting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think its difficult to train a service dog for POTS, which make them a much more expensive service animal to own. However I think they are great to offer stability and emotional support. You can teach Peggy to get help, if you feel faint or if you do faint. I've read they can be taught to even recognize symptoms before they occur. I have no idea how you would train. You can probably reach out to usserviceanimals.org to get some details.
Thanks for the link!

Peggy doesn’t really have a service dog temperament. She’s too excitable. But she’s soooo smart, I feel like I should harness those brains a little. I’ll come up with something for her to do. Maybe even something as simple as retrieving things for me so I can avoid standing and/or bending over on bad days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't, but I have friends that do. Both of them have service dogs that can warn them when their heart rate starts going haywire, as well as bring medication bottles to them. One friend's GSD bitch will lay on him, and not let him up, if she thinks he's going to pass out.

Neither one of them has a Poodle. One has a Doberman Pinscher (who is retired from public work due to injuries) and a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. The other one has two GSD (one retired from public wok due to injuries and the other a young puppy) and a Belgian Malinois.
I think poodle sensitivity would be great for alerting, and Peggy has naturally pressed into me before during a bad episode. But many of the things I could really use help with would require a much larger dog. I’d sooooo love a breed that could help me with balance... I think I’d feel much more capable of navigating the world with a dog like that by my side.
 

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I think poodle sensitivity would be great for alerting, and Peggy has naturally pressed into me before during a bad episode. But many of the things I could really use help with would require a much larger dog. I’d sooooo love a breed that could help me with balance... I think I’d feel much more capable of navigating the world with a dog like that by my side.
Yeah, balance work is why my one friend went with a Swissie. According to all the calculations, his Dobe should have been more than large enough for the type of help he needs, but he noticed him struggling with some things. My other friend's Malinois doesn't do any balance work at all, because he's too small at only 60 or so pounds.
 

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I believe C&T waited until Noelle was over 12 months before even starting to train her as a service dog - until then she concentrated on letting her be a puppy and on the good citizen work needed for wide access. Peggy is very attuned to her world and to you, and she may surprise you yet!
 
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I’ve not found one that alerts you. Will have to do some research!
My Polar a360 did it and I think my Polar a370 does it too but I’m not using this feature. It’s not intuitive though and I had to call Polar to get help to program it. That was 5-6 years ago, maybe they have improved now. At the time, Polar was the most reliable watch for heart rate, at a reasonable pace (not if you were a marathon athlete, for example).
 

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I think I might start with teaching her to lie on my legs and apply pressure. She does that naturally anyway so it shouldn’t be too hard.....at least not at home. Out and about will be trickier. She’s not naturally very handler focused. The world is too exciting.
I've been working on DPT with Annie in the house for a few months now. We started the public version in class a few weeks ago. I was feeling miserable and hurting, so I sat on the floor and asked her to crawl on lap and put pressure on. Ok, let's be honest, I lured her on and rewarded heavily. She thought I was a bit nuts for interrupting her normal crate routine, but it helped.

Head down, which I think you already taught helps teach this, as does crawl (I am doing this sitting on the couch/floor/bed with my legs straight), the challenge is working on duration. After we have worked at it for a while, she falls asleep on top of me, but bridging those two so she relaxes sooner without hopping off has been a challenge. She wasn't ready to commit to napping in public yet though, so probably more work on relax on the floor in public is needed before I try and get her to relax on my legs again! Still hard to do in pandemic times.

I have tried the version where the dog just puts its front legs up on a person seated in a chair and discovered Annie has very boney elbows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I had a POTS episode tonight—after a really good few days—and it has noticeably affected Peggy.

She was snoozing and lounging happily, not a care in the world. Then suddenly she was standing behind me in the kitchen, right up against my legs, refusing to budge. It wasn’t until I looked down at her that I started to feel lightheaded and realized my heart rate had soared above 150.

Now she’s on high alert, eyes darting between me and every door and window, low rumbles in her throat, while I elevate my legs.

I wish I could explain to her that I’m okay, but....the body doesn’t lie, and she knows my body is doing something weird right now. Tonight has confirmed to me that she’s capable of alerting to these episodes, but I’m not sure I want her to.
 

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Oh boy. I can understand your ambivalence. On the one hand, it would be handy to get an alert about an episode before you hit the floor. On the other hand, you don't want to be trying to manage a jittery unpredictable Peggy at the same time you are also dealing with your immediate medical crisis.
 

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Of course Peggy was upset.She was probably scared for you. Medical issues are so far from norm. Peggy picked up on that. Think she could alert you with some training. You will have to figure out what is best for both of you. Sorry your illness is popping up again. Sending ((HUGS)) your way.
 
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