How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

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rachel
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How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby rachel » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:54 pm

*** This is really long and a little rambly, please bear with me :-) ***

I've had problems with severe depression and anxiety for a long time. Back before I had my son, there were times when I'd lock myself in my room for days at a time and barely get out of bed. Of course for the past 9 years, Jack has been my reason to get out of bed every morning and things have gotten better on that front. I do still have issues with anxiety/panic attacks. I've left a cart full of stuff and walked out of a store on more than one occasion because I just couldn't handle being anywhere. I shake uncontrollably, become dizzy, and feel sick.

Before the "incident", I was working on getting Scout certified as an Emotional Support Animal. Whenever I started having a panic attack, she would lean on me and push me to a less stressful area until I settled down. I thought maybe she could help me function like a normal person. I can't rely on Jack all the time because he's a boy who needs to have his own life instead of his mom's weirdness.

So after months of searching, I found THE perfect dog on Petfinder. 3 year old female Amstaff with the perfect temperament for an ESA. After applying for adoption, many emails and phone calls with the rescue and foster home, my providing exceptional references, and me being very open and honest, I thought for sure I would be approved to adopt her. However, they claim that after talking to an "undisclosed source", they decided I was not a good candidate for adoption. They say that they were told that I am an "unsafe" and "unsuitable" home. I was completely crushed. I had already fallen in love with this dog and made plans for a life with her... it was like I'd lost my baby all over again. I seriously think that they talked to animal control because there's a guy there that hates me and was spreading terrible rumors about me last year. I can't think of anyone else who would say such things about me. :-(

So the other day I called Scout's breeder. He is expecting a litter out of Scout's half sister in a couple of months. I have never, ever purchased a dog before... I really wanted to rescue a dog, but if they're going to make it so difficult, I don't know what else to do.

So my question boils down to this... Aside from lots of socialization and basic puppy and obedience training and CGC and etc, what things could I do to help prepare the puppy for work as an ESA? Should I crate her at night or have her sleep in bed with me to facilitate her bond with me? Should I teach her from day 1 to not approach any stranger? Only accept food I give directly to her? I'm sure I'll think of a thousand more questions...

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Celesteandthebullies
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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby Celesteandthebullies » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:26 am

I'd say, let her be a puppy when she's younger. Socialize her, expose her to a lot of people, odd sounds, crowds, dogs, elevators if you can. Basically focus on trying to make her "bomb proof" as they say. If she's a little weirded out by something, give her goodies for checking it out, have her do tricks for goodies around it(if she's under threshold)

When she gets older, make sure she knows how to "rest", which is handy for restaurant scenarios. For ignoring people/other dogs, teach her to focus on you most of the time but make a release command to go greet people, like "Go say hi"

Also teaching them to pivot with you is handy when pushing a shopping cart.



Oh and Dakota sleeps with me, and don't see how it could hurt but then again I don't train my dogs in such a tightarsed way as some organizations who breed and train dogs to pair with people do. Which btw, you don't have to fit those "must refuse food" "Must not show prey drive" according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, most who follow that are the orgs mentioned. I train dogs in a manner which makes taking them out in public best for me and them, to reduce stress (helps increase focus as well), and create ease of movement. If I followed the tight standards many go by, I would be unable to use either of my dogs due to the sports and activities I do with them.

Here's the ADA regulation on service animals
http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

Sorry if you already know that, many folks I talk to don't. :) I hope that helps somewhat, it's things I found handy in training.

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rachel
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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby rachel » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:30 am

Thanks! I had a vague idea of what to do, but needed a little guidance. I figured letting her be a normal puppy would be good for her. Scout was a year and a half old when I got her and she'd had almost no training whatsoever. I worked with her a lot to get her as good as she was... And she slept in the bed with me, under the covers. I'm really hoping that this pup will turn out similar to Scout since they're related, but I don't expect her to be exactly like her.

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MarMar
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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby MarMar » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:16 am

Do you mean Emotional Support Animal or service dog? There are different regulations for both, and I don't believe ESAs have public access.

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rachel
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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby rachel » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:33 am

Everything I've read so far indicates that ESAs are allowed as much access as service dogs, but I'm still learning...

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MarMar
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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby MarMar » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:50 pm

http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/437" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.servicedogcentral.org/content/node/76" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://pleasedontpetme.com/differences.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/548301.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

These outline the differences between an ESA and a SD. I do not live in the US however, so I would also check your state's regulations because different states have different access regulations for Service Dogs in Training as well.

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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby Celesteandthebullies » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:37 pm

MarMar wrote:Do you mean Emotional Support Animal or service dog? There are different regulations for both, and I don't believe ESAs have public access.

Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Correct :)

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MissKitty
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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby MissKitty » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:59 pm

ESA only allows your dog on planes and in housing, no public access.

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Celesteandthebullies
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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby Celesteandthebullies » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:58 pm

MarMar wrote:
http://pleasedontpetme.com/differences.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


I like this link, the comparison table makes it a little clearer :)

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rachel
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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby rachel » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:42 pm

Well that's stupid... I never have panic attacks on planes or at home...

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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby Celesteandthebullies » Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:07 pm

rachel wrote:Well that's stupid... I never have panic attacks on planes or at home...

You can go in and ask the owner of the establishment and most are welcoming as long as you're polite and your dog is well behaved.

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rachel
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Re: How to train a Service/ESA pit bull

Postby rachel » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:41 pm

I guess we'll burn that bridge when we get to it :-) Thanks very much!


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