[nagdu] Identifying dogs reaching a common ground

Tami Jarvis tami at poodlemutt.com
Thu Sep 5 19:54:40 UTC 2013


Are you asking who evaluates owner-trained dogs, or who evaluates 
program-trained dogs? The answer is the same in both cases. The trainer. 
There is no overall standard or oversight, in either case. A trainer 
working for a program is an actual trainer who gets paid. An 
owner-trainer is an actual trainer who is not paid. The professionals 
who train for the programs do only a small part of the actual work to 
finish off the task training. The owner-trainer also does the ground 
work normally done by volunteer puppy raisers for the programs. The 
owner-trainer does more actual training, in other words, than the 
professional trainer.

Owner-trainers select their prospects much as the programs do. They do 
the socializing and training much as the programs do. They do it at 
their own time and expense. They spend the months and years to ensure 
that the dog is trained for public access, and they do it on their own. 
They are always aware that they may have to flush everything if their 
prospect does not work out. They are aware from the get-go that while 
the programs have entire litters to work from with a 50 percent success 
rate at best, the OT will either succeed or lose everything. They are 
aware that their dogs are not pets. Yes, a few folks do just do a 
slap-on job of task-training their pets. The rest of us do a heck of a 
lot of actual training. You can identify our dogs by observing them. 
Their work and conduct speak for themselves.

I'm not sure I understand the conviction of so many -- and there seem to 
be a growing number -- about the guarantee of behavior of service dogs 
trained by professionals who work for fund-raising organizations. Some 
of the concerns raised about a number of types of incidents at this 
year's National Convention show that this is not the case. Of the 400 
plus guide dogs there, does anyone know what percentage were 
owner-trained? Of those teams involved in the incidents that were 
discussed after Convention, does anyone know what percentage were 
owner-trained and what percentage of handlers possessed IDs showing 
their dogs were certified by programs with actual trainers?

I guess I'm puzzled by the assumption by so many that training given by 
a fund-raising organization is a guarantee of any kind. The majority of 
these programs have a reputation for high quality that speaks for 
itself. If a trainer works for one of them, then you can certainly 
assume that trainer is really dang good, among the best of the best. The 
breeding stock of those with long-established lines also has a 
well-deserved reputation for quality. That's because the dogs speak for 
themselves. Most of them, anyway. One doesn't have to go around the 
block very many times, though, to learn that none of it is a guarantee.

If we wish to outlaw owner-training based on the flaws or real bad 
choices of a few, then what do we do with programs whose teams screw up? 
Flush them, too?

One thing about presenting ID every time you go in a door: Many service 
dog users have significant issues with the use of their hands. It might 
not be inconvenient for you to pull out a card every few minutes. For 
them, it would be literally impossible. For others, it might be possible 
but would be excruciatingly painful.

There are philosophical concerns about requiring PWDs to show special ID 
based on their choice of adaptive tools. But the practical concerns are 
significant, as well, I think.

There is still the cost factor to consider, as well.

I understand people's frustrations, especially with all these emotional 
and misleading articles popping up all over. Too many times, a program 
rep is interviewed and takes the chance to spout off about how the dogs 
trained by his/her program are guaranteed perfect and are certified! 
They have hundreds of hours of training by experts! I've only read one 
recently where the rep pointed out that their dogs have a thousand of 
hours of public access training and that there is still no guarantee the 
dogs will be perfect all the time. I about fainted. /smile/


On 09/04/2013 09:17 PM, Bridget Walker wrote:
> Hi All,
> I have some thoughts after following the threads. in my opinion A service dog should be trained by an actual program. Yes that's right I said it. It's not the harness or the vest that makes the dog it is the training. I do not know how anyone can pick a random dog, train it on their own without being a trainer and call it a service animal. Until someone informs me of how a dog that is not trained by an actual trainer gets identified as a service dog I'm sorry I personally can find a reason why there can be conflicts.
> I fully believe the dogs the guide dog schools breed and train  are what make the dog. The early socialization and introductions the puppies get is crucial and it should all be done a specific way. With that I think this war over fake verses  legit service dogs is beating a dead horse.  I think there most definitely needs to be some kind of certification process for the dogs that are not trained from an actual program. If I could just train my pet as a guide dog is that really ok? I asked a while back who evaluates these dogs and I never got an answer. I don't think it can be just anyone who should make the call over what makes a good service dog  that is what  a trainer. Training school is for.
> Ok a bit off topic there but really I think there is a reason we have training programs and ID cards. Do we need them by law? No, but maybe we just might at the rate everything is going.
> There are people that take for granted a lot of opportunities including this. I would still like to maintain the ability to travel   with a service dog as a right not a privilege.
> This is not designed. to say this goes to the fault of anyone specific because if we knew why there was such a conflict I am sure we would be acting on it.
> I leave it at that.
> Bridget
> Sent from my iPad
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