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Old 04-07-2013, 01:44 PM   #1
AckermanPartyof6
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Thinking of getting a dog for our autistic son?

Here is the deal:
We are thinking of getting our youngest son a therapy dog (he has ADHD and Autism) I am bit nervous about the idea since we don't have any pets and to be honest, My older son and I are both afraid of animals. I am doing some research on therapy dogs and have found that most require a waiting list of of over a yr and cost several thousands, so this is not realistic for us. We literally just starting thinking about getting a dog and therefore are in no rush, but do want to check to see what are our viable options. I appreciate any feedback.
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AckermanPartyof6 View Post
Here is the deal:
We are thinking of getting our youngest son a therapy dog (he has ADHD and Autism) I am bit nervous about the idea since we don't have any pets and to be honest, My older son and I are both afraid of animals. I am doing some research on therapy dogs and have found that most require a waiting list of of over a yr and cost several thousands, so this is not realistic for us. We literally just starting thinking about getting a dog and therefore are in no rush, but do want to check to see what are our viable options. I appreciate any feedback.
why would you bring a dog into your home when you and someone else in your home is afraid of animals? who exactly will be caring for the dog?? LOL (that would be you...)
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:53 PM   #3
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Remember that a Therapy Animal is not a Service Animal under the ADA and is not subject to the protections of the ADA. It is considered a pet and can be banned from stores, Disney Parks, and other locations. About the only place where is has legal protection is airlines which are subject to the Air Carrier Access Act and not the ADA.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AckermanPartyof6 View Post
Here is the deal:
We are thinking of getting our youngest son a therapy dog (he has ADHD and Autism) I am bit nervous about the idea since we don't have any pets and to be honest, My older son and I are both afraid of animals. I am doing some research on therapy dogs and have found that most require a waiting list of of over a yr and cost several thousands, so this is not realistic for us. We literally just starting thinking about getting a dog and therefore are in no rush, but do want to check to see what are our viable options. I appreciate any feedback.
Edit due question being answered in post below.

Since I see you said your son lights up with animals the first thing you should do is find a local group who has therapy dogs that might bring one to the house for play dates. This will help you and your other son get over your fear and also allow your son with autism to experience a therapy dog with out having spent all the money on one to find out it just won't work.

Most therapy dogs have a wait period because they go through intense training. Also you would probably skip the puppy stage so you aren't just paying for the dog you are paying for the piece of mind that this dog will comfort your son and might even be able to do some tasks for him.

A dog for autism could be considered a service dog if he does a task for your son. However, the main difference is a service dog will be your sons dog and not a family pet where as a therapy dog is a family pet that helps you out. Service dogs that are trained for children and adults with autism would probably be even more expensive than a therapy dog simply because they go through even more training an can do complex things like watch your son, follow him if he runs off, alert someone to him missing, open doors and fetch items, as well as comfort him an being him out of his shell.

Anther advice is once you've ha a therapy dog come around often then just get a puppy of a breed suggested by the group and train him yourself. A therapy dog can be trained in home and then get their certifications. The only problem is their is no guarantee of success when doing it on your own and there is a lot of hours that go into the training.

Last edited by wilkeliza; 04-07-2013 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by buffettgirl View Post

why would you bring a dog into your home when you and someone else in your home is afraid of animals? who exactly will be caring for the dog?? LOL (that would be you...)
I know we are all entitled to our opinions, but wow! I have seen how my lil guy responds to animals. With that being said, I know that my oldest and I can overcome the fear as we have many other things. As far as caring for the dog, I will be taking on the responsibility along with my husband and nanny( they both are animal lovers). Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkeliza View Post

Edit due question being answered in post below.

Since I see you said your son lifts up with animals the first thing you should do is find a local group who has therapy dogs that might bring one to the house for play dates. This will help you and your other son get over your fear and also allow your son with autism to experience a therapy dog with out having spent all the money on one to find out it just won't work.

Most therapy dogs have a wait period because they go through intense training. Also you would probably skip the puppy stage so you aren't just paying for the dog you are paying for the piece of mind that this dog will comfort your son an might even be able to do some tasks for him.

A dog for autism could be considered a service dog if he does a task for your son. However, the main difference is a service dog will be your sons dog and not a family pet where as a therapy dog is a family pet that helps you out. Service dogs that are trained for children and adults with autism would probably be even more expensive than a therapy dog simply because they go through even more training an can do complex things like watch your son, follow him if he runs off, alert someone to him missing, open doors and fetch items, as well as comfort him an being him out of his shell.

Anther advice is once you've ha a therapy dog come around often then just get a puppy of a breed suggested by the group and train him yourself. A therapy dog can be trained in home and then get their certifications. The only problem is their is no guarantee of success when doing it on your own and there is a lot of hours that go into the training.
Loved your advice on overcoming the fear and the possibility of training a dog... doable and realistic!
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by AckermanPartyof6 View Post

Loved your advice on overcoming the fear and the possibility of training a dog... doable and realistic!
A suggestion for breed is lab. They are hyper puppies but make great therapy dogs. Most therapy dog groups have favorite breeders they will suggest.

You just want to do your research.

Also sometime puppies fail their service dog test but would still make great therapy dogs. You could look for one of these an the cost is typically lower. They usually fail due to personality such as being too playful since as already pointed out services dogs work before being pets but therapy dogs are pets that have amazing comfort skills.

My college use to being in therapy dogs for finals and stuff and I worked in 2 different places that trained dogs to get their therapy dog certificate.
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:34 PM   #8
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Animals are great for therapy! They do however cost quite a bit of money to maintain so if money is an issue...you might want to make sure you have the budget for a min. Monthly dog food purchase, leash, collar, vaccinations, kennel Or shelter if dog is outside, vet visits, grooming, etc.

My family got a dog for the first time 3 years ago. She is a shelter gog and is a terrier mix and she has been a wonderful addition to the family. Shelter dogs have their issues too but honestly..I think that makes them more in tune with emotions and really connecting to a family that will love them forever. I definitely consider our dog therapy for the entire family and we have been therapy for her as well.

Oh one more note since you have never had a dog before. You might want to check to make sure you are not allergic...or anyone else is in the family. My mom is allergic but is able to have a this dog since it has more of the winery coat making it so much easier on allergy suffers, of course there are hypoallergenic dogs too like labraddodles but they can get pretty expensive. Poodles, terrier mixes work out well. I knew this going into the shelter that day and only looked at the dogs that fit this criteria..and we found Saidie!

Oh and you can train your dog to be a theapy dog as well. This will also help on cost. And honestly if you make that connection before they learn everything..you also become closer to the dog. I have a friend who is blind and has a new service dog about every 7or 8 years. She likes dogs but never really gets attached to them since they are working mostly and after that amount of time they must retire and go to another home. Having your own dog first, then train in obedience and then eventually train in therapy just seems to work out better.( ESP. Since your son is autistic..that connection is important!)

Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AckermanPartyof6 View Post
I know we are all entitled to our opinions, but wow! I have seen how my lil guy responds to animals. With that being said, I know that my oldest and I can overcome the fear as we have many other things. As far as caring for the dog, I will be taking on the responsibility along with my husband and nanny( they both are animal lovers). Thanks!
I'm just comign at this from the perspective of someone who doesn't love dogs yet thinks that animals deserve to be with people who love them. (that would be me) So I personally would never bring a dog into my home because that wouldn't be fair to the dog nor would it be fair to me, since as the mom I know that the responsibility to care for the animal would fall to me.

Again, why would you want to bring an animal into your home if you and another child are afraid of that animal? It doesn't make sense. I'm not trying to be rude, just realistic.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:06 PM   #10
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Is it's just dogs that your DS like or is it other animals. For example a cat doesn't need to be walked. about the only care you have to do for one is clean it's litter box and give it food. The rest is just unconditional love.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AckermanPartyof6 View Post
Here is the deal:
We are thinking of getting our youngest son a therapy dog (he has ADHD and Autism) I am bit nervous about the idea since we don't have any pets and to be honest, My older son and I are both afraid of animals. I am doing some research on therapy dogs and have found that most require a waiting list of of over a yr and cost several thousands, so this is not realistic for us. We literally just starting thinking about getting a dog and therefore are in no rush, but do want to check to see what are our viable options. I appreciate any feedback.
How old are your sons?
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:24 PM   #12
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My first suggestion is to research what you want, a therapy dog is not a service dog as stated. A therapy dog is a dog trained to do such things as visit sick in hospitals, nursing homes or schools, where they go and listen to children read stories or work in class rooms as a classroom pet for children with disabilities or behavior needs.

Once you research you will find service dog is more likely what you want. Then you must determine what services your son needs a dog for. I have heard of service dogs for autism, usually for young children, they will help with things like not allowing the child to bolt into the street, or to calm a child by placing there weight on top of them.

You also need to research a lot, because my understanding is all dogs for autistic children are tethered to the parent, and it is the parent who makes all the commands, I could be wrong about it being all, but that is my understanding, so please research and ask lots of questions since your fear of dogs may play a big part in if a dog is right for your family.

If neither a service dog or therapy dog is what you want than you may choose a dog that can help with just calming your son in the home. These may not have to be a service dog, they are usually called a companion dog. They can play a huge roll in calming a child just by having a dog. A lab is a great family dog and usually bonds the best with the person In The home that needs him most. It can effect the child's moods, help in calming and also play a huge part in socialization and language skills, mainly because a cute dog will bring friends over to your child and he will have friends who want to learn more about him and his dog. These dogs do not necessarily have to be service dogs, a good trainer can help train a dog for this purpose for far less than a service dog would cost. If you choose to go this way, call your local human society and ask for a trainer in the area and talk to who they recommend. This may cost you $500 to a $1000 for the training compared to $10000 or more for a service dog. It depends on if you will always be with your son and need the dog to service your son outside the home, or if it will mainly be a dog that you have just for home, which most schools find children to young to handle a dog and most public schools will not allow dogs until age 16, because even with ADA, you have to weigh the benefit for the child compared to the benefit of all students and again an autistic service dog is usually handled by the parent and not the child so would not be allowed in school.

I hope this helps, I think you are confusing people and getting some off answers because you are linking service and therapy dogs as one, which they are not, but I think what you really may want to serve your needs is a companion dog, which is totally different than a service or a therapy dog. They also have different rights, service dogs come under ADA, companion dogs come under HUD as approved in housing and have the same rights in housing only as service dogs. And therapy dogs have rights that are totally different and never do a service for any one individual but a service for a group of people with the same common link, such as all students who need to learn to read, or all elders in a nursing home.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:46 AM   #13
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How old are your sons?
6 and 9.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:47 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by gilesmt View Post
My first suggestion is to research what you want, a therapy dog is not a service dog as stated. A therapy dog is a dog trained to do such things as visit sick in hospitals, nursing homes or schools, where they go and listen to children read stories or work in class rooms as a classroom pet for children with disabilities or behavior needs.

Once you research you will find service dog is more likely what you want. Then you must determine what services your son needs a dog for. I have heard of service dogs for autism, usually for young children, they will help with things like not allowing the child to bolt into the street, or to calm a child by placing there weight on top of them.

You also need to research a lot, because my understanding is all dogs for autistic children are tethered to the parent, and it is the parent who makes all the commands, I could be wrong about it being all, but that is my understanding, so please research and ask lots of questions since your fear of dogs may play a big part in if a dog is right for your family.

If neither a service dog or therapy dog is what you want than you may choose a dog that can help with just calming your son in the home. These may not have to be a service dog, they are usually called a companion dog. They can play a huge roll in calming a child just by having a dog. A lab is a great family dog and usually bonds the best with the person In The home that needs him most. It can effect the child's moods, help in calming and also play a huge part in socialization and language skills, mainly because a cute dog will bring friends over to your child and he will have friends who want to learn more about him and his dog. These dogs do not necessarily have to be service dogs, a good trainer can help train a dog for this purpose for far less than a service dog would cost. If you choose to go this way, call your local human society and ask for a trainer in the area and talk to who they recommend. This may cost you $500 to a $1000 for the training compared to $10000 or more for a service dog. It depends on if you will always be with your son and need the dog to service your son outside the home, or if it will mainly be a dog that you have just for home, which most schools find children to young to handle a dog and most public schools will not allow dogs until age 16, because even with ADA, you have to weigh the benefit for the child compared to the benefit of all students and again an autistic service dog is usually handled by the parent and not the child so would not be allowed in school.

I hope this helps, I think you are confusing people and getting some off answers because you are linking service and therapy dogs as one, which they are not, but I think what you really may want to serve your needs is a companion dog, which is totally different than a service or a therapy dog. They also have different rights, service dogs come under ADA, companion dogs come under HUD as approved in housing and have the same rights in housing only as service dogs. And therapy dogs have rights that are totally different and never do a service for any one individual but a service for a group of people with the same common link, such as all students who need to learn to read, or all elders in a nursing home.
Thanks for the advice...the more research I do, the more I realize I don't know. Thank goodness we are not in a rush.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:50 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by rewardsinlife View Post
Animals are great for therapy! They do however cost quite a bit of money to maintain so if money is an issue...you might want to make sure you have the budget for a min. Monthly dog food purchase, leash, collar, vaccinations, kennel Or shelter if dog is outside, vet visits, grooming, etc.

My family got a dog for the first time 3 years ago. She is a shelter gog and is a terrier mix and she has been a wonderful addition to the family. Shelter dogs have their issues too but honestly..I think that makes them more in tune with emotions and really connecting to a family that will love them forever. I definitely consider our dog therapy for the entire family and we have been therapy for her as well.

Oh one more note since you have never had a dog before. You might want to check to make sure you are not allergic...or anyone else is in the family. My mom is allergic but is able to have a this dog since it has more of the winery coat making it so much easier on allergy suffers, of course there are hypoallergenic dogs too like labraddodles but they can get pretty expensive. Poodles, terrier mixes work out well. I knew this going into the shelter that day and only looked at the dogs that fit this criteria..and we found Saidie!

Oh and you can train your dog to be a theapy dog as well. This will also help on cost. And honestly if you make that connection before they learn everything..you also become closer to the dog. I have a friend who is blind and has a new service dog about every 7or 8 years. She likes dogs but never really gets attached to them since they are working mostly and after that amount of time they must retire and go to another home. Having your own dog first, then train in obedience and then eventually train in therapy just seems to work out better.( ESP. Since your son is autistic..that connection is important!)

Good luck!
Thanks for sharing your experience and advice. Awesome how your family and dog have provided therapy for each other.
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