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14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So... lemme start by staying, I DO have SOME experience with this and with training dogs in general, tho they were not MY dogs. They were dogs my mom had back when I lived with her and helped her train her--at the time--service dog, as well as her other two.

But... that said, this is still my first time being the actual OWNER of a dog and training them myself.

These pups were part of four who had been abandoned by their mothers to fend for themselves around two and a half months old. The mothers, Mama and Kuroi, are two strays, who travel with Kuroi's son, Aniki, who is also a stray and born that way. Not sure about the girls.

Their father is my neighbor's dog, Gucci.
Hes a Carolina Dog/Husky mix.

His bitches are a yellow Staffy(Mama) and a black Lab(Kuroi).
Kuroi had left two and Mama left two.

Kuro's were a boy and a girl. Both black with a hint of white. The boy had a broken gunbai symbol on his chest, while the girl only has white on the tips of her toes.

Mama's two boys took more after their father in color, being a more golden color than yellow, with pretty blue eyes.
(I'll show pictures if asked of the gold boys and the girl.)

I was going to simply ease them to trusting me and then call PetPartners to come collect them, but one day I walked out and saw the girl, with mattress stuffing in her mouth, looking like she was trying to eat it.This, along with noticing how emaciated they were, triggered a mama bear mode in me and I rush over to snatch them up!

The pups were living in the abandoned house next door, so I had to go in and trap them to get them.
The first two I grabbed, would later be dubbed, Kinji and Kurohana.

I grabbed them without much trouble after cornering them in a room. They growled but didn't bite me and as soon as I picked them up, merely stiffened in my arms. I later was able to grab their other golden brother, later dubbed, Kiiro. It was still really cold here and I constantly worried over their safety, seeing the brothers curled up outside.

It took some time, but I did get Kiiro, only to leave the last boy all alone.
I tried to get him too, but this one was too smart. He didn't corner himself in a place I could reach. Instead, he hid himself in an area too small for me to fit. It took about a month... maybe a month and a half for me to catch him.

This boy, who I dubbed Kage, was only with me for maybe a month or two, before I was able to decide he was stable enough to be sent to PetPartners for further prepping before he could be adopted.

Kinji was sold to a nice family who hes been happy with.
Kiiro I tried to train as a service dog for myself since hes so mellow and smart(tho not as much as his sister). The trouble is, he tends to freeze up around too many strangers when we're out and will neglect understanding of his commands. I don't want to put him through that kind of stress... so I decided, to send him to PetPartners instead.

Kurohana tho, my bright little lady, is the one I am currently working with.
She has a very Alpha, personality, so shes a bit harder to train than him at some things and she needs to work on ignoring things around her when we're out, as shes highly curious of everything around her. That said, I did get her to work well with me before, when I tried training her at the start--till my mom insisted that she wasn't good enough because she has a separation anxiety issue, which I feel with time I actually can probably resolve--but after switching to Ki, would up noticing she had need of a brush-up course.

I suffer from Depression, PTSD and Anxiety attacks.
My goal is to train her as my service dog, then get her properly registered once shes able to handle all her tasks and basic service dog etiquette. Shes a fast learner and gets excited when she knows shes going to go to work. Bouncing and yapping excitedly, puppy barking and bowing. She holds still while I put her gear on and knows to wait patiently while I lock up the house before we go.

Shes very pawzy so I feel she will learn proper things for me easily for any attacks, as well as to redirect my attention when my anxiety shoots up too high. Shes also a big lap snuggler so training her in DPT won't be too much of a problem. Shes also gotten good at heel and side. She will sit and go into a down-stay when I'm there with her, but we still need to work on if I get up or move to another location. She even has no problem pottying on command and then returning to me as soon as shes done. Honestly, a leash is just for show at this point as she just follows by my side.

But I wanted to ask, for anyone who has trained a husky, lab, or lab/husky mix(as shes got that Lab/Husky combo going on...), if they can give me any points of advice. I would also appreciate anyone giving advice on good places to buy good quality gear and what to look for that would help me specifically for my issues.

I currently have a harness for her, as well as a short lead and a long lead, along with a dog water bottle for her. I plan to get her some puppy sandals too since I have no car and we will be mainly walking places. My mom gave me some but they were hand-me-downs that still seem a little big on her right now.

Shes around 7 1/2 to 8 months old.
I want to also invest in a dog walker's phany pack as I tend to wear a phany pack as is, but one that can keep all her stuff in it, as well as mine would be best. So I've been looking around and mostly been getting my stuff off Amazon as I'm on a tight budget.

Ki will eventually be given to PetPartners soon, once they find him a foster. At that point I can REALLY kick her training into high gear. But honestly, any advice I can get would be amazing. Also, task suggestions as well. I really want this to work well, as I know it takes time, but I wanna give it our all.

If you want, you are also welcome to message me too. I would love a mentor in this to better help me in this as my mom does offer good advice but shes more pushing me to do training SHE did and she doesn't have the same kind of disabilities I do. So a portion of it has no context to my situation.

I do hope I can get some helpful advice and I look forward to hearing from you all.


14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The most important thing be that she be as mentally stable as possible, and exposed to as wide a variety of things as possible. When the vest is on, she is working, and shouldn't be visiting other people or dogs. Also, from what I've heard from others, a PTSD dog cannot be the least bit reactive or protective, since they will feed off of your reactions.

One thing to be aware of is that a SDiT may not have the same right of access as a fully trained dog. And honestly, until she is completely task trained, she should be identified as being "in training". I have friends who trained their own service dogs, and didn't remove their "in training" designation until the dogs were nearly three years old, and they had been training/working since they were 8 week old puppies.

Also, there is no requirement in the US that a service dog be certified/registered with any organization. It's training that makes a service dog, not certification. Most of the "get your pet certified as a service dog" websites are just a scam. According to the ADA, a business can ask two questions: 1) is that a service dog?, and 2) what tasks does it do?. They cannot ask for any kind of proof of registration or certification. And yes, if your dog is being a nuisance, while they cannot refuse you entry, they can ask you to remove the dog from their premises.
I do tell people shes an SDiT, not an SD, yet. Don't worry.
Also, yeah, my mom informed me about the whole you don't need papers thing.

Shes very people friendly, so I'm not worried about her being hostile and I am working with her training in that too as much as I can. Also, don't worry, I know when the gear is on, shes on work-mode, tho I admit a lot of people seem to think they can talk to her despite that. I had people all, 'Oh, no no, you can TALK to them, just not touch! I'm not TOUCHING her!' Nooooo you can't DISTRACT them in general lady!

I've had doctors even sweet talking her... and it drives me crazy.
She isn't as bad as when I was training Ki tho as his blue eyes were like a signal beam for people.
I even recently had a lady who tried to tell me a service dog can't go out back with me to the exam room, as its unhygienic... and tried to threaten me with refusing to re-assign me as a patient there over it because I 'gave her attitude' because I told her its illegal to do this and that...

Basically, I told her service dogs can't be separated from their handler. She tried to push it again and I repeated it with more boom. She then tried to insist on seeing her 'papers' to 'prove' shes registered. I told her, 'You know its illegal to ask me that right?' She was like, 'What?' I said, 'You can ask me only two things. Is that a service dog?' and 'What tasks does it help you with?' She got pissy and remarked that if I wanted to get back there I had to go through her, to allow me to be a patient again(since it was through a low budget place where you need to reapply every year) and she could decide to not let me get seen by a doctor.

I said, 'Are you SERIOUSLY trying to deny me because I need a service dog?' She said, 'Weeeell you aren't really a patient with us YET soooo... since you wanna give me ATTITUDE.'
I glared at her and she backed down but I was still pissed...

Thankfully after I left, their manager called me and apologized on behalf of her and told me not to worry about it as she saw EVERYTHING. She had been standing nearby, watching it all go down and said not to worry about anything.

14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ah, found it! @Sweet Potato I've heard good things about this website: Psychiatric Service Dog Partners: Guidance, Info, & Support

They do a lot of education and support for PSD handlers, including resources about owner training and your legal rights. I'm not a SD handler myself (and PSD don't exist at all in my current country of residence - or rather, home trained ones do, but they have no public access rights), but I've been fascinated by service dog work for a long time. Good luck!
Thank you very much, I'll look into it~.
Currently, I have been training Kuro in a number of tasks and shes been catching on really fast but, I heard Labskis tend to have that sharp wit. Just today we were working on Block, Cover Me, Pressure, Between, Under and Touch, as well as a few sight based reactionary tasks. She catches on ridiculously quick and I'm so happy for that, as too much stress on my end trying to train, can cause an attack and cause me to need a break. So I'm glad shes so easy.

And also, thank you two for standing up for me. Confrontation kinda makes me shut down...

14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As DaySleeprs said, in the US, Psychiatric Service Dogs are task trained to help mitigate the symptoms of psychiatric illness (specific tasks vary depending on the handler's needs). They are more than just an ESA, and have the same right of access that any other service dog has.
Thank you two for standing up for me...
I... wouldn't have been able to handle that kind of confrontation properly.

14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Glad to help! There's so much misinformation and misunderstanding about service dog law out there. I had to go out of my way to educate myself when I started working retail in the US some years ago, because I was kind of appalled at how little we were trained on what to do with service dog handlers in the store (nothing, we were given nothing. Maybe managers got more but...). Last thing I wanted to do was make life harder for a handler.

One thing to consider carefully is that you will encounter confrontation like this as a SD handler. You'll get gatekeepers (store managers/employees) asking questions they're not legally allowed to ask, or telling you that they need to see 'papers' or 'registration' for your dog (this is often because people have shown documentation from those scam SD registries before). You'll get random people insisting they're allowed to touch and distract your dog, or that you can't have a service dog because you don't 'look' disabled, or even asking invasive questions about your disabilities. It sucks, but I understand that it's something every team encounters because the education just isn't there.

I know some people with anxiety issues choose not to go the SD route for these reasons, or stick to using the dog in dog-friendly areas rather than dealing with the extra attention you get when you have to do public access with the dog. Not trying to discourage you at all! Just want you to consider all the aspects so you can be prepared.
Oh, trust me. I know. Before, when I tried to train her half-brother, before I realized it was just too much stress for him to be around people as it was for me and switched to Kuro's training, I used to get a LOT of attention from him thanks to his pretty blue eyes. People would be clear across the other side of the road and start cooing at him.

The event I mentioned above in fact to LeoRose about my encounter at the clinic was having to do with him.That said, I did have an event recently with a nurse at that same clinic who knew and voiced she knew why shes not supposed to talk to her and then blatantly disrespected that and not only kept talking to her in the room, but distracted her SO bad she set back training for the rest of that day because Kuro wouldn't listen anymore.

That said, I physically can NOT leave to go anywhere without her.
It causes me to have more frequent attacks if I'm alone... and makes going out unmanageable.

Before this, I had an ESA who people were really nice about, because he was a cat who never left his pet backpack so people had no issue with him. But this one chick who hates cats, refused to allow me to bring him when she gave me a ride to the SS office...

Because of this I actually wound up so stressed and overwhelmed that when in the building, while having to wait--seeing that most of the seats were taken and if I sat down I would have to sit next to someone--I choose to sit on the floor. But an attack due to the stress of this and not having my boy with me to help distract me with hand licks when he'd alert to my attack and help ground me... I wound up wide-eyed, rocking and having to using drawing in my portable notebook so I didn't have to look at anyone.

And yes, my cat alerts to me... he acts more like a service cat than an ESA if you can believe it. Enough that I had wished I lived in one of the few areas of the US that allows cats to be service animals, because he actually tasked.

He was basically a SA that couldn't be called an SA because hes a cat.
Hes leash trained but unless the store was pet friendly, he would stay in his pet backpack and be totally fine with it.

He'd alert and meow when he could sense my stress level was getting too high, but also if he noticed I was in pain or too hungry/dizzy and would meow till I found a place, sat down and placed my hand into his bag so he could help me calm down with licks and nuzzles.

At home is no different. He will jump up when I go and sit in between the curtains in the shower to de-stress and will lick my hand, use his paw to pet the top of my head, nuzzle me, ect. If I'm too overwhelmed outside it he will come up and lay on my chest and lick me till I start to relax.

Hes an amazing cat but since most of the US sees cats as not good enough to be SAs, I decided to train a pup for myself instead. I was lucky that most places let me bring my cat, but there were still some places that didn't, so... a SA was desperately needed as it kept me from being able to go where I needed to go.

14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, as DaySleepers said, you will likely run into stuff like that a lot as a SD handler. :( I've got friends that use service dogs (one has a Doberman Pinscher, the other a German Shepherd, a Belgian Malinois, and is now training a Flat Coated Retriever puppy), and some of their stories have been hair-raising.
When my mom trained her pups, she actually had another named Rani--all the dogs were Shilo Shepherds--and while Rani was doing amazingly, all it took was for some jerk to actually KICK her in her side, for her to become useless as a SA. She got too scared when she'd be working that she'd be kicked again.

And I don't mean an accident, I mean that they punted her right in her side. I have NO idea why.
But I know people can be horrible. I plan to do my best outside to protect Kuro just as she would protect me. If she were in any real danger I would snap at attention real quick. Its the only time I can swallow my fear of people, is when I notice an animal is in trouble.

14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I hope the training goes well!

I’m training my 9 week old German Shepherd/Labrador right now. He’s a puppy, of course, but he’s learning “sit” right now and he’s conquered it without needing a treat now and I just say “sit” and he does it!

It feels good to train your dog!

please keep me updated on how it goes. I’m wanting to train mine for my anxiety, as well. I will be getting my psychiatrist to write a note for me to carry around, though.
Its a good idea to get him started on learning the commands you want him to know as soon as possible, even if hes not going out with you yet. Helps them to memorize the commands for when you do bring them out.

Even if you only do the basic ones to help with ediqute for now, like Leave It, No Sniff and Watch Me, its still a good idea to work on those while hes still young and bring them into certain aspects of your daily routine. Thats the best advice I can give for how young he is.

Also, I will be happy to update you~.
She did really well last time I brought her out but started overheating, so I had to invest in a cooling vest to help her so she stays cool when we go out from now on. Until then, going out will be very limited.

14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So... its been too hot to go out for any training with Kurohana. But her tag finally came~!
I dunno when it will show up, but I also bought her a vest thats supposed to help keep dogs cool when you wet it.
When that comes, I'll look into going out with her again for more training.

I did get a more breathable vest for her to wear tho, that has pouches on either side.
I figure, she can wear the original green one in the fall and this one now, to reduce heat.

I also bought a green blanket with bones on it for her, for when we go out to lay on, when theres no grass to sit or lay on when we're outside. To help her to not have to lay on the hot ground. All I need left is to get her some little green, airy shoes so she doesn't burn her paws.

I also wanna get one of those short leads to attach to her vest so I can switch to that when needed.
The hand-me-down one my mom gave me... this brown, leather one she used to use for her previous service dog, is too heavy for her and tends to pull the harness to the side. I don't wanna attach something to her thats too heavy. So I wanna invest in a lighter one that also matches the color scheme I have of black and green. Thats the least of my worries tho right now, as I rather go without one for awhile and get her shoes instead, so her paws don't blister.

Something that concerns me is just how high her pain tolerance is.
This seems standard with her genetics as even her brother didn't so much as yelp when his tail got bumped a bit in the door when he swung it in there when I was trying to close it. Merely glanced back. They really have stupidly amazing tolerance, but this also makes it hard to tell when something is bothering them...

Because of this, I have no idea how bad its been as is for her when we went out last time.
But I really need to find some her size so she doesn't hurt her feet.
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