Child with service dog

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by emsmith, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. gilesmt

    gilesmt DIS Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    Emsmith, I was thinking and thinking about your statement all night long, I was afraid you misunderstood me. Yes I am blind and my dog has been bred to do this job, generation after generation has been bred just to be guide dogs, so the thousands and thousands of dollars it cost for her to learn this job to me is priceless. But I am not saying that she is perfect. She has been trained not to bark, to ignore distractions and to work all day if need be. But she is also a dog, just last weekend I realized how true this was. I had to go away over night and could not take her, I just could not fine anyone who could come to the hospital enough to releave her enough and it was only a one night thing so she stayed with my dd. when I came home the next day and she came in and saw me, she did something to tell me how very upset with me she was, she walked all around the rug and then thankfully into the kitchen and peed all over the floor. She had never done anything like that before, but she was just a pet at the moment, she was not in harness. In harness this dog is perfect, she is attentive, she works hard and correct, she hops up when need be, speeds up on command, she listens to me and she is spot on. Off harness she is a dog, she runs around, she gets on beds, she has been known to climb on couch and look out window, she has also been known to do a flying keep up onto the recliner just when I nod of to sleep.

    You do not need a dog with thousands of dollars of training, like you I pay nothing for my dog and many with a disability have to pay a lot. That is not the factor. If the dog is a dog off leash or off harness in my case that is not a factor. What is the factor is the persise training to be able to do a place like Disney, that is the important thing. I do know of people who train a dog the self and the law allows that, and the dog may be great around the house, or to the grocery store they visit every week, but that dog may not be capable to do Disney. Like I stated I have had three dog, all three went to Disney, land or world and all three gave me a different experience. Each had his/her pros or cons.

    I guess what you need to determine like with my guide dogs, is have you had the dog long enough to actually build the best effective relationship between the dog and the handler. To me in your case that is tricky because the handler is a child, you did not say how old, but I am going to assume that not only the child but a parent must fully know the dog and be able to see the future, is the dog going to be spooked, is he about to run, is his paws burning, is he becoming skidish is he overwhelmed. If any of these, happen can you do something to stop it and what, how does it effect the child does it make him overwhelmed and worse. These are only questions you can determine, I our case my school would tell me not to go to Disney world for at least one year, but it could be totally different for you, I am blind so I can not see to make those determinations, so I have to rely on other things, like how hard my dog is pulling, or not pulling, and how does his paw feel because I can not see if it is cracked or bleeding. As sue said earlier to her it is if her daughter needs the dog, in my case yes, in her case no, in your case it seems to me that it is a yes/no. I think from what you say your grandson needs his dog at least some part of the day and most nights. I would start from there and build a plan, as said the kennels, when you are spending 6,000 or mor on a vacation, what is another $300 for the kennel each day, but budget it in now so it is there, skip a character meal if you have to or eat breakfast in the room each morning so you have the money. Well worth it to care for the dog and your grandsons needs. A great compromise, and the opportunity to test the waters, bring dog to the park once or twice to see how he does, make it a learning experience, just have a plan, if it does not work then what, who brings dog back, how do you do that??? Remember the dog is service for your grandson, so if you ride a Disney bus back your grandson has to be on the bus for the dog to go, ADA laws, how will that fret decision. If dog does well great bring him next day, again with plan.

    At home if you are going to bring him start preparing him. I asked once how they prepare dogs for things like this and the trainer said, but the dog in a wagon and start and stop very short, that is stimulating a ride, bring him to fireworks to stimulate loud noises, bring him to stores and get him use to ignoring the crowds, bring him to the city streets during lunch hour, where mops of people will be walking in every direction. Bring him to country fairs and amusement parks. Everything in them will help you know what the dog may do in Disney.

    I feel like I have taking over this post, sorry, I am writing to you and hopefully others who want to know. People see my dog in Disney and are in aw!! In my case yes my dog was bred in a room matched with just the right stud and her only purpose was to try to make a guide dog out of her from the moment of conception. And yes, I am grateful that she had 2 full years of intensive training before I recieved her and then another 28 days in locked dorms training with me, without any distractions and four trainers on duty 24/7.i am truly sorry other disabled do not have that, and I am shocked at how much some have to pay for there dog. And I am not saying this is your case but many I know just train there own. I am not saying you can not bring any of these dogs to Disney, but I am saying please have a great plan, and please he'd the warnings that you must put in some efforts to get the dog prepared. And again and again and again have a plan as to what if and have the money ready for the kennel if need be. And please that is for anyone not just you. And believe me, me dog has all and everything that you can come across in her training and she has difficulty in Disney. It does not matter how much training, it matters how much you plan. It is like taking a child to see Santa, you are all excited you think your child will be, you dress them up, you may even have baby sit on daddy Santa's lap. But when you get there you get a picture of a screaming crying child who looks scared to death of Santa. You don't want to be in Disney without a plan when the dog is scared to death and can not work effectively.part of training has to be to prepare a plan.
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  3. LisaBi

    LisaBi DIS Veteran

    Oct 23, 2004
    I just want to send hugs to everyone here. I never realized the logistical nightmare it would be to take a service dog to WDW.

    I, or more correctly my son, have never had a service dog. But we did have one that was a released dog. After she went back to the school after having been with the puppy raisers, it was found that she had a propensity to hip problems, so obviously it didn't make sense to put the dollars into a dog that may have a short working life, and the working life could aggravate the hips. So they adopted her out as a pet after matching applications to the dog. We got picked because DS does have a disability (although not something a dog could be useful for) and they thought it would be a good match because her puppy raisers were hard of hearing and had speech impediments, as does DS, so they thought it would be a good fit for her.

    Reading your comments about the discipline the dogs need to avoid stimuli brought back some memories. Most of her early training, during the first 18-24 months was basic commands and learning how to behave out in public, ignore distractions, etc. It would have after she was back at the school she would have received training specific to the type of service (this school does some guide dogs and some physical assist dogs...I don't know the correct term.) Anyway, at home she was truly just a dog...not always a very good one. Lol. You definitely better not leave food in reach, or let her out the door on accident. But out in public, she must have felt she was working. I could take her to the kids ball game and down her then walk across the field and she wouldn't budge. Or we could go to Petsmart and I would try to give her a bone or toy and she wouldn't even look at it. But get out to the car with that same toy, and she was all over it.

    I actually think she would have been great service dog for someone...she ended up living to be 13 and never did have hip problems.
  4. emsmith

    emsmith Earning My Ears

    Jan 15, 2013
    @gilesmt...I look forward to hearing from you about your trip. Any bit of information would be helpful.
    dgs is 10 years old. He had surgery this morning at Nationwide Childrens Hospital in Columbus, OH. He had tubes when he was young and the tubes left holes in the ear drums. He has had 4 ear surgeries since the tubes to try and repair the holes. Also has tonsils and adenoids removed. He wears hearing aids in both ears. The surgery today was to repair a concaved eardrum. The surgery was successful. The doctor tried to repair the hole again in the eardrum with a skin graft. We were told that the bones behind the eardrum are deteriorating as is the other ear. But he came through with flying colors and I left him this evening eating a chicken leg...LOL
    Sweetie went with us. She rides well in the car and makes not attempt to move. We arrived at 7am this morning at the hospital. This was her first BIG outing. I waited outside the check-in area for surgery. Not sure how she would do. She waited patiently for dgs to come get her. She laid on the floor of the pre-op room and met all the doctors and nurses who came in. BTW,,she is an eye catcher as she has one blue eye and one brown eye. We left dgs at the surgery door and we found a corner in the very busy waiting room. There is large windows all around the sides of the waiting room. I took pics of her looking out sitting on her butt...not her haunches...her butt!! It is adorable. I took her out twice to potty, but she was not ready to go. They called us to the desk to go see dgs in his room and she walked through the hospital like she was the queen. She was soaking in the comments. No problems with the elevators. Admitting staff asked to pet her and she was accommodating. All in all it was a good day. I took a piece of fleece for her to lay on and she pretty well stayed close to it all day. She kept sniffing dgs as he had different smells on him that she did not know. But she is spending the night with mom and dad at the hospital and they will be home in the morning. Her only issue was that she seen a squirrel, but we will work on that.
    Just wanted to share her outing today. Thanks for listening. Look forward to hearing about everyone's trips to WDW. Take care.
  5. LockShockBarrel

    LockShockBarrel Pudge controls the weather.

    Jul 13, 2009
    It sounds like she's got a great start on appropriate manners while out in public. Keep it up with her, because really the only way for her to learn is for her correct actions and behaviors to be continually positively reinforced.

    I've seen a lot of guide dog users (and I say guide dogs only because there's where most of my experience is) who get lazy with that kind of thing or get into this mindset of "well it's my dog now so I'll do what I want." To a point a service dog knows play/work out of blanket or harness wear, but to expect a dog to understand something like table scraps are ok at home but not at a restaurant is pushing it. Our dogs knew that food was on the floor, and you could tell because you'd see them drool more but they knew they weren't allowed to eat it. I saw lots of other dogs who would jump at that opportunity and more often than not at some point you'd hear that they were allowed to nibble off plates or something like that at home. Does your dgs's dog wear a blanket or harness? It's the easier way for them to learn when they're at duty and not.

    As you continue to have the dog out in public, there will be a time (and probably many) that she will get distracted. What do you have in place for that? A clicker or even the squeeky thing from inside a toy can be a good way for them to refocus their attention where it needs to be. One dog knew that squeeker, and it was just enough that it wasn't too obtrusive to others and it brought his attention back where it needed to be. We also carried a couple pieces of their food in a pocket (or sometimes those really small milkbones, they were just slightly bigger than breakfast cereal) as treats for doing really well at ignoring a distraction. Definitely not to be used for everything unless you want a fat dog, lol, but again just enough that it was a positive reward for them and it reinforced that "I did good! I'll keep doing that" mindset.

    And LisaBi, it really is something of a logistical nightmare. It's like taking a barefoot toddler. You have to be aware of how warm it is, when did they eat, when did they last potty. Are their feet too warm or starting to crack? Is their nose getting sunburned? Are they hydrated enough? They walk just as much as you do and we all know how tired we are after a long Disney day, you have to remember the dog is the same way. Ours would crash after a day at the parks and we were not commandos by any stretch of the imagination. They got lots of downtime when we'd stop to eat or just stop to rest. You have to carry food, dishes, poop bags and anything else the dog might need with you. Then add on that Disney is probably the most sensory stimulating place you could take a dog, a place where they aren't going to recognize much but they're still expected to behave and ignore what's around them. Finally, depending on what the issue the dog is helping with, what if something happened? Like I said in a previous post, there would have been no way for me and the person I went with to do the parks without the dog, so what if the dog had gotten sick or hurt during the trip? A good number of service dog users are really reliant on the dog for whatever reason. Sure there existed a time when blind people had to make do or people with seizure disorders were just left to deal with their issue, and certainly not everyone with an issue that could be helped by a dog will have a dog. But when you do learn to cope with the issue by having the dog, to suddenly not have that tool is jarring. At least at home you're somewhere you know and likely have people around you to help. At Disney, you'd be screwed. Really between those of us who have posted that have taken the dogs to Disney, its doable but I don't think any of us would choose to do it if there was another option. When you live your day to day life with the dog and get the point where you become a unit, I suppose you don't really think of all of the things I mentioned because it just becomes second nature. First timers with dogs or those who have a new dog or where you're just learning to deal with the dog, its just a lot to ask of yourself and the dog to deal with. Like I said before, if people really knew what goes into it, I would be boggled at anyone who would willingly choose to do it if there were other options available.

    That all being said, I think our dogs enjoyed the parks. They always seemed to enjoy the characters, they were pretty active dogs so I think they enjoyed the exercise. Both were very good about just kind of watching the Disney world around them. Sometimes on rides they'd sleep, sometimes they'd look around like they were trying to figure out why we'd taken them on this boat with all this water around and they weren't allowed to jump in, but instead had to listen to the same song sung over and over in different languages. Both oddly really seemed to enjoy Living with the Land. They'd lay at the front of that boat like their were kings and the nose would be going a mile a minute.
  6. gilesmt

    gilesmt DIS Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    Me and lock, the best dog treats out there today are called Charlie bears, you can get them at like pet smart or pet co. The dogs love them and they are very low in calories. I was trained to put half a cup of her food in a pouch to carry to give her her kibble and a few Charlie bears for working good. Meaning she got half a cup less than normal in her breakfast or dinner bowl. But at wdw I just put all of her kibble in a pouch with Charlie bears and give her lots of praise, rather than feed her breakfast, she is always done with it at the end of the day. Other than that my dog/s only get one other treat, once a month during the summer or once when we are at Disney, they get an ice cream cone, boy they love it, it is the only non dog food I ever give and only maybe 4 times a year. You should see the look of the sq workers when they see who is getting the ice cream cone when we drive up, of course I'm not driving, and I can't see but I can hear them laughing. They think it is so cool.

    I hope your grandson has a great recovery. And yes, I will start a thread and tell you how it works out for us. I will probably start a new thread since I will never be able to find this one in a few months.
  7. lilmissdisney216

    lilmissdisney216 <font color=royalblue>Pawsitively Lovin a Labrador

    Dec 15, 2007
    I would like to speak to this if I may.

    I am a puppy raiser for Leader Dogs for the Blind here in my state and it can be hard logistically to travel with a service dog but I've seen it done several times. I was going to take my first pup I raised to Disney last year as she has the discipline to do it and the work drive to do it.

    Yes the parks are sensory overload but its something that working dogs at one time or another should be exposed to. They have to be able to work in all types of situations. Even though she was not a fully certified leader dog, Disney informed me that she would be welcome in every area of the resort (with the obvious of the water parks). I would have been bringing her crate for night time and naptimes when we needed the downtime to rest and re energize ourselves before heading out to the parks once again. If I wanted to give her the day off from working (which I fully intended on doing, didn't want to ever push her or any dog I raise for that matter), I had made arrangements with Best Friends Pet Care to have her for the day but I sent instructions as of to how to handle her, what she can and can't have as far as toys, etc. [leader dogs have some really strict rules]. After her day off, I'd go and get her from the kennel.

    NEVER would I EVER leave her in the hotel room on her own. Granted I know how she'll behave in her crate but the fact is she's going to be a working animal and even though its her time off, she shouldn't be left alone.

    As far as dealing with people touching the dogs, I've gotten in the habit of just telling them "i'm sorry she's working and petting would distract her". It was me and her working as a team, and I honestly didn't want that focus broken. Disney is a big trap for that but its a great lesson for the pups. Daisy had gotten to the point where even if someone would "drive by pet" her, she kept her focus straight ahead or right on me if I called her name. She KNEW she was working. Nothing would phase her (this dog fell asleep during fireworks while the others freaked out/howled/peed/ etc.)

    As far as treats, I used some of her kibble that was going to be for her dinner, put it in a treat pouch and carried it with me on my right side (she would walk on the left). Since I was training her, I would use a clicker with her. Whenever she was behaving nicely, doing an awesome job, or did really well with a distraction, I would *click* then treat. Sometimes I would do it out of the blue to reward the good behavior.

    I'll be doing a trip report soon once I take my next pup to Disney.

    Disney is very accomodating for service dogs so your DGS should have no problem but like I said, its all a personal call. I don't know if I helped or not.

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