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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Sorry for the length of this post. I've noticed that there's quite a few owner-trained SDs here (not gonna lie, the community here has really helped sell me on poodles), so I hope you can give me some pointers! (Don't worry, I'll get a pro to help me out on the actual training part of this.)

TLDR; I think I need an at-home SD, but that may change, so how does that affect public access rights + training/socialization plans?

I have seizures, migraines, and a not-very-clearly-diagnosed psychiatric condition (it's confused by my neuro stuff, but suffice to say I have auditory hallucinations, anxiety, and mood episodes). However, I've been doing pretty well on the seizure front (3 months seizure-free!), and most epileptics (2/3) become permanently seizure-free eventually. I might be counting my chickens before they hatch though.

So here's my dilemma: I want a dog for sports (agility, flyball, obedience, rally), but I also want to task-train my dog to do things like call 911 on a canine phone in case I have a seizure when I'm home alone, alert to hallucinations, etc. I don't want a full-time SD, but this puts me in a weird position for public-access training, since I'd have to take my dog with me when I travel. I can't predict what will happen to me long-term either. But it seems really unethical to bring a SDIT everywhere with me if I don't intend on doing public access in the future (CA grants public access to SDIT's).

Also, what I would call my dog at the end? Are they a SD? Would I have to keep doing public access occasionally to keep their access skills up?

Another thing: @Click-N-Treat mentioned in her thread about picking Noelle that she specifically selected for aloofness to strangers, which makes a ton of sense in a SD. But I prefer a love-everyone personality, so I'd probably try to socialize my puppy in that direction... would that be confusing and counterproductive?

Let me know if tagging specific members isn't allowed please: @snow0160 @Asta's Mom @lily cd re @Skylar
 

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I think that if there is any chance you may ever need the support of your dog outside your home, whether for seizure alerting or other purposes, it makes sense to do the full training and ensure your dog is comfortable working in a wide range of environments. C&T's Noelle demonstrates that being a highly competent service dog is no bar to also excelling in dog sports!
 

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Socializing a service dog puppy to meet and greet all strangers as friends is something you will have to untrain later because SD's need to be invisible in public. A friendly service dog is going to have a conflicted mind. Do I work or greet the nice lady who keeps cooing at me? Noelle gets cooed at and oohed at all the time. But, because I trained her not to solicit attention, those cooing strangers are just sound effects to Noelle. She ignores them all, as she should.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm confused. You want a part time service dog? What do you mean by that? Are you saying you want a dog that works exclusively at home but not in public?
Sorry, I guess I didn’t explain myself clearly. I WANT an at-home service dog (if I’m honest, it’s mostly because I really, really like super friendliness and it would resolve that. Also it seems super stressful and inconvenient to have a full-time SD following me around), but it may be more helpful for me to have a full-time one, depending on how things progress medically. Hang-up 1 (I guess I need to figure out my priorities).

With an at-home SDIT puppy, I guess I should still do public access training? Since my dog needs to travel with me even though I don’t use them in public?

But in order to continuously maintain those public access skills in an at-home SD, do I effectively have to have a “part-time” SD? Would I need to keep doing public access with them occasionally just as refresher courses of sorts? Hang-up 2.

Given the possibility of a later conversion to a full-time SD, if I didn’t do these refresher courses, would it still be feasible to re-train a dog to be public-access-worthy later in life if they haven’t been doing it for a long time? Hang-up 3 causing hang-up 2.

I don’t really know how to label this, would it be a part-time SD? Sorry for the confusion again, and thank you for answering and for being so patient :) Also sorry if I’m just being crazy and massively overthinking this.
 

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I think the hang up I am having is what you mean by friendly. Do you mean you want a dog that runs up to strangers and says, "Hi! Check me out! Meet me!" Or by friendly do you mean you want an extremely cuddly dog? Noelle is supremely affectionate and cuddly toward me. Right now she is snuggled up against me. Noelle gives all her poodle love just to me. It's strangers she ignores, never me.

It is perfectly all right to have a SD that only works at home. If you think having a dog with you all the time would be hard, don't go down that road. There are times when bringing a SD is extremely inconvenient.

Get a competent trainer to help you. Look for CPDT-KA certification, or KPA-CTP certification, or CDTA certification. These are trained trainers who use positive reinforcement and are dedicated to training that is LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive). Good luck.
 

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If you have the means to do so, you could maybe get two dogs, one to serve as a service dog and one to be friendly around strangers? Not sure how that would work out, though, if you are the only one training. And I wouldn’t consider it unethical to train a SD to be full time if you think you might need it. It’s certainly a lot better than those phony “emotional support dogs” that are really just normal dogs with a paper and harness purchased online.
 

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I was in a somewhat similar situation. I am in somewhat poor health, and there is a chance my disease will progress enough in the next few years that a dog would be helpful in public (I really hope not!!!!). Plus- during Annie's puppyhood, I was unable to drive long distances and was relying on public transit, so Annie needed to travel with me, a lot, sometimes 5 or more hours, and I needed her to be well behaved and comfortable.

My goal was to train Annie to public access standards because I thought it was great criteria for how a dog ought to behave in public, it provided concrete goals, and because I like to take my dog anywhere (allowed) with me. We did a lot of trips to pet stores, hardware stores, the mechanics, trains and buses, transit stations, etc and focused on calm and quiet when she was a puppy. Even if you decide against service dog training, those are great skills and experiences for any dog.

I somewhat succeeded in my goals. Annie is generally very good in public, ignores people, politely waits in cars for permission to exit, walks loose lead at my side and ignores people when in crowded areas, will wait at a stay with the leash dropped and is almost as invisible as a 50lb dog on stilt-legs can be on transit... in fact, I had her in Union station (Canadas busiest transit station) and she was significantly better behaved and more confident than a dog in a service vest waiting nearby.

But I also kinda failed. 1) squirrels became a big issue, big enough that I still wouldnt consider her ready to wear a service dog vest anywhere squirrels may be found and 2) I trained her to love other dogs, so she sometimes pulls towards other dogs and will bark and whine if they get excited and bark and whine at her.

I did manage to train her to ignore people mostly unless given permission to approach, but it definitely crosses into how approachable she is the rest of the time, and makes her less inclined to visit with people. Can you do better with professional help? Probably, but it likely will affect how your dog behaves in other situations and their general "friendliness".

Basically, I learned that, especially for a first time dog owner, you cant have all things. You cant have a dog who loves people and ignores them, loves other dogs and ignored them in public, etc. Forget me trying to teach service tasks, just trying to get Annie to remotely approach public access was a huge undertaking, I have so much respect for the self trained service dog owners on here!

As an idea- you could look into the Canine good neighbours/citizen program? That would give you a class to take to get your dog closer to public access, in case you do ever need to do it.

If I were to have to get a service dog in the future, I think I would likely choose one with a very different temperment than Annie- but I also wouldnt choose a dog with a service dog temperment to have as a pet, as the qualities that make a great service dog arent necessarily what makes a fun, friendly, and outgoing companion. Does that make sense?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I think the hang up I am having is what you mean by friendly.
Hmm, I don't want my dog trying to greet strangers on the street when we're out walking, but I'd like them to sit for pets from strangers when asked (and to enjoy the petting). But at home, if I'm having friends over or something (I'm big on house/dinner parties), I'd like my dog to "make the rounds" with guests, and just check in with me periodically. Is this possible?

It sounds like Noelle was naturally aloof, but still loves people and being pet when it happens, she just doesn’t seek it out. Is that accurate? If so, that's pretty much my goal in public, and at home, I guess maybe I could clarify the boundaries/rules with a release word like "go visit"?

Do you think this is feasible? Would it resolve the "conflicted mind" obstacle?

Get a competent trainer to help you.
Definitely! One minor complaint I have with the word “owner-trained” is that it implies you doing it all on your own. I think I prefer the word “privately-trained” so people on the street don’t go getting ideas, as pretty much all of us need professional help (including group classes) at some point.

EDIT: also, do you happen to know if there are KPA-CTP that aren't listed on the website? There are... weirdly few in my area (SF Bay). Is it like breeders where the trainers will refer you to one another?

Also unrelated, but I want to become a KPA-CTP some day too, so you’re kind of my role model now. Have you been interested in seeking out other certs? CPDT does ongoing seminars as a requirement, I think there’s also ABPT (but KPA’s program sounded the most demanding + educational).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you have the means to do so, you could maybe get two dogs, one to serve as a service dog and one to be friendly around strangers? Not sure how that would work out, though, if you are the only one training.
I definitely will be seeking professional help for this, so I won’t be the only one training, but I don’t think I’m ready for 2 dogs right off the bat! Some day though... I’m sure I’ll catch MPS :p

I did manage to train her to ignore people mostly unless given permission to approach, but it definitely crosses into how approachable she is the rest of the time, and makes her less inclined to visit with people.

Basically, I learned that, especially for a first time dog owner, you cant have all things. You cant have a dog who loves people and ignores them, loves other dogs and ignored them in public, etc.
I see, that’s what I was concerned about. Hmm... would a workaround be to explicitly train a “visit” command, while leaving the default on “leave strangers alone”? After socializing a puppy to love everyone, I mean, to then tone it down this way? Seems kind of risky from your experience.

As an idea- you could look into the Canine good neighbours/citizen program?
I will definitely get my dog their CGN/CGC regardless of all this! It’s a good point that ADI public access standards are really just good manners in a pet, so I’ll train toward them anyway.

I also wouldnt choose a dog with a service dog temperment to have as a pet, as the qualities that make a great service dog arent necessarily what makes a fun, friendly, and outgoing companion. Does that make sense?
Good point.
 

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When I got Asta I was not really looking for a service dog. I just chose the puppy that was the most confident. I lucked out with Asta.
I trained Asta with one command - Help me so he would go looking for my husband and bring him back to me.
I just thought with my cauldron of mental health issues this command was really needed. When I posted about it everyone on the forum told me he was my sd not an esa.

Then with the help of my mentors here, I have trained other bipolar commands. We are a work in progress. Can read about in it Asta's training thread. We do train for public access but it is a slow go which is okay with me as his main job is to watch over me and act if needed. We do train the basic commands to keep those going along. Often in a training mode I will issue some basic commands and some bipolar commands. Asta loves it when we switch it up.

I think that working with a trainer is a great idea as long as you are the person on the other end of the leash. No service dog trainers anywhere near me so I go with the help from all my friends on PF. With a private trainer I would work up a list of specific to the various tasks that the dog needs to be trained.

Asta was about 4 when we started off on our journey. He will be 6 this year and we keep on training. Training to me is a bright spot in my day - working with my beloved boy and seeing him perform his tasks with authority when he finally masters it.
I don't know how other dogs do - but Asta is able to stretch out the commands depending on the circumstances. We must have 4 or so different Down situations. We have 2 Stay close commands. His behavior invites work. Although I say I train Asta, what I am doing is really shaping behavior. I listen to Asta and if I listen carefully I will understand what his behavior he already has - and stretch it out, give it a command. This works well for us.
Don't know if any of this will be helpful for you. I really think that SD can really help with those of us who are challenging day by day, with mental disorders.
Anything you would like to ask - I will try to answer.

Soon according to our Moderators we will have a Service Dog sub-forum. This is a good example of a conversation that seems a great thread for our new sub-forum.
 

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I've been trying something new during Peggy's training sessions, where I say "Go say hi to Matt" which releases her to go say hi to my husband and then return to me.

Frankly, I would be thrilled if she only greeted people when I gave her the okay, and I'm hoping this might work as a foundation.

Would you consider cued greetings friendly enough?

I did some petsitting for a couple with a therapy dog, and he's just pure sweetness—best friends with everyone he meets. But he walks at a perfect heel and would never lunge excitedly or beg for pets.

He was actually trained from a young age to comfort elderly folks in nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities, alongside his owner who worked in a number of them. So essentially he was trained to "love," but to do so in a controlled manner.
 

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I I use "Go see!" As my release word, but her desire to actually go see strangers has faded a lot since we started working on ignoring people. Similarly, as I have been working on focused attention on me around other dogs, her desire to go see them is decreasing too.
 

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Noelle has a cue, "Go make a friend." She never hears it when dressed in her work uniform, only when off duty. Her cape sends a signal that work is starting. Cape off, work is ending.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Would you consider cued greetings friendly enough?
Cued greetings are perfect! Just quoting myself from above:

Hmm, I don't want my dog trying to greet strangers on the street when we're out walking, but I'd like them to sit for pets from strangers when asked (and to enjoy the petting). But at home, if I'm having friends over or something (I'm big on house/dinner parties), I'd like my dog to "make the rounds" with guests, and just check in with me periodically. Is this possible?
It sounds like I might be able to achieve this with a vest-off + at-home = default friendly behavior, whereas vest-on/in-public = default attention on me. Finally, if vest-off + release word given (in public and private) = go greet stranger. I think this covers everything; it seems like a lot of cases to keep track of but it seems doable?

I did some petsitting for a couple with a therapy dog, and he's just pure sweetness—best friends with everyone he meets. But he walks at a perfect heel and would never lunge excitedly or beg for pets.
Do you happen to know how this dog was socialized/trained? Is it just a naturally outgoing personality toned down by public access training?

I I use "Go see!" As my release word, but her desire to actually go see strangers has faded a lot since we started working on ignoring people. Similarly, as I have been working on focused attention on me around other dogs, her desire to go see them is decreasing too.
I suspected this might be a side effect. It sounds like toning down a natural friendliness later in life is still easier than toning it up, so erring on the side of friendliness (socialization-wise) early on is the best way to go.
 

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Do you happen to know how this dog was socialized/trained? Is it just a naturally outgoing personality toned down by public access training?
I'm not even kidding: Petco.

His handler just worked his way up through all the Petco classes, and did the rest on his own. He's a very calm, no-nonsense kind of guy. And the dog (a goldendoodle) definitely has a wonderful, mellow temperament—one of those rare goldendoodles that really did get the best of both sets of genes. Not in-your-face friendly, but gentle and sweet. Not overly sensitive, but intuitive.

For example, I slipped and fell on some ice while I was walking him and, without my prompting, he planted himself to help me back up.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
And the dog (a goldendoodle) definitely has a wonderful, mellow temperament—one of those rare goldendoodles that really did get the best of both sets of genes. Not in-your-face friendly, but gentle and sweet. Not overly sensitive, but intuitive.

For example, I slipped and fell on some ice while I was walking him and, without my prompting, he planted himself to help me back up.
I feel like this is really the temperament we should be trying to get with poodles. Is there any reason that this isn't the goal?
 

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I feel like this is really the temperament we should be trying to get with poodles. Is there any reason that this isn't the goal?
I probably didn't explain my point very well.

I think those adjectives absolutely describe a well-bred poodle, whereas the doodles I've encountered tend towards being extremely high-strung.

What this particular dog demonstrated to me was the solidness of a larger, heavier breed, combined with the intelligence and intuition of a poodle. Truly, a rare thing.

Just like Peggy has jammed her nose into my heart when I'm having a particularly bad day with my chronic health condition and need to slow my heart rate, that Good Boy just seemed to understand what I needed in the moment after I fell.

But while Peggy could never support my body weight, he effortlessly planted himself while I pulled myself up.

I suppose a spoo on the larger end of the spectrum might be able to perform similarly, but Peggy is 45 lbs and only a little above my knees at her shoulder.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I suppose a spoo on the larger end of the spectrum might be able to perform similarly, but Peggy is 45 lbs and only a little above my knees at her shoulder.
Interestingly, the rules for a mobility service dog (see here) dictate that the dog should be around 30-50% of the handler's weight AT LEAST, depending on what tasks you are asking of the dog. The minimum is usually some 22" tall + 55lb, which I think larger spoos could easily meet. I've met poodle breeders who specifically breed for service work that produce heavier-boned, taller dogs that weigh 70-90lb.

Thank you for your clarification!
 

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Then with the help of my mentors here, I have trained other bipolar commands. We are a work in progress. Can read about in it Asta's training thread. We do train for public access but it is a slow go which is okay with me as his main job is to watch over me and act if needed. We do train the basic commands to keep those going along. Often in a training mode I will issue some basic commands and some bipolar commands. Asta loves it when we switch it up.

Don't know if any of this will be helpful for you. I really think that SD can really help with those of us who are challenging day by day, with mental disorders.
Anything you would like to ask - I will try to answer.

Soon according to our Moderators we will have a Service Dog sub-forum. This is a good example of a conversation that seems a great thread for our new sub-forum.
I would LOVE a SD sub-forum! Bipolar is one of the conditions we're considering for me. I've heard about people who have their dogs help them with hallucinations (e.g. alerting to real rabbits while ignoring hallucinated ones), and I'd love to figure out a task for auditory hallucinations. I don't have delusions, so I don't think I'd have to worry too much about real-life interacting with my hallucinations (although I understand this is a very real concern for some people), though to be fair I've never experienced those kinds of interactions.

What made you decide to make Asta a full-time SD instead of an at-home one? I haven't found the relevant thread yet in my searches. It sounds like he's proving that poodles can be trained for public access even later in life, as long as they have solid foundations, which I'm very glad about.

I will definitely make my own training thread here after I get my puppy too; I've loved the training threads I've read here :)
 
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