[nagdu] Owner training questions

Amber Meloy thetraveler87 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 31 21:42:29 UTC 2014

Hi all,

There has been a large amount of discussion recently about owner training on the list and since I have decided to get a new guide dog, I have made a number of decisions, and I am now considering another one.

The first decision that I made was that I wanted a poodle because I would not have as much problem with hair.  I searched and searched but the only school that I could find that issued poodles to anyone who did not have allergies or someone in their family with allergies, was Pilot Dogs.

I applied and continued to research various topics about poodles, about training methods, about how I felt about training etc etc.  As I searched, and the more questions I asked myself, the more I started thinking that maybe I wanted to owner train.

There are a lot of things that I am very unsure how to handle, and I am writing here in the hopes of finding some advice.  I understand that having a grasp of the training methods you choose to use is essential, and I have every intention of practicing alone and in my head and reading before actually attempting to teach a dog anything.  But before I get to the point where I teach a dog anything, there are a few things I have to take care of…such as acquiring the dog…

And so this brings me to a few of my first questions:

What strategies have you, as an owner trainer, used to find the right dog?  I have read a lot about a test that is done to test temperament, but I do not recall this test’s name at the moment, nor do I know for sure that this is what is used.  I understand that no one can be absolutely guaranteed to have made the right choice; that dogs wash out; that this is a fact I may have to face.  But there has to be something that you did in the beginning to say, yes, I think I’ll give this dog a try.  You didn’t pick him or her because s/he was cute.  Or cuddly.  Or energetic.  Or did you?

Another big question I have is about costs.  Before anyone comments that of course there will be costs, don’t.  I understand that.  But what I am looking for is a general idea of some of the things you bought/paid for/services needed, and maybe an average of how much that thing/service/experience costed you.  For example, if I choose to get various vaccines, I can look those up anywhere.  Any vet’s office will let me know those things.  If I want to know about the cost of a crate, I could look online or go to a pet store.  If I want to know the cost of foods I will feed, I can find that information.  But what I’m looking for information on is acquisition of your dog; acquisition of puppy vest for still in training; acquisition of harness; any assistance for sighted assistance in training, whether that was for training traffic checks or for observation only or for a trainer’s professional opinion etc.  Expenses that aren’t readily available for me to just look up.

Finally, if anyone is willing to talk with me off list, I would be very grateful.  If there is such a thing as a list for owner trainers so that I am not cluttering this list with my questions, I would also love to know about that as well.  I joined the clicker solutions list and am hoping that when I come across a problem with particular behaviors I am trying to shape that this will be a viable resource.  

Thank you all for your input, however much or little it is.

Amber M

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