Thursday, June 26, 2014

Service Dog Training: Not All About the Dogs

I feel it is important for me to write some posts about the work I want to eventually do with autistic students.

As I've been working with Elsa, I have begun to realize I really enjoy dog training.  Last December, I was fired from my job working with autistic students because I refused to comply with a rule that I believe is against Federal regulations. Due to the fallout from this (traumatic, to me) event, I am pretty well blackballed from teaching autistic students anymore.

For awhile, this realization kept me in the dumps.  I was already looking for a service dog before I left the school because of my anxiety but as it developed deeper into panic disorder after the major changes I had to deal with, I began looking a bit deeper.  I found Elsa's litter through a friend and spent quite awhile making sure everything was exactly as I needed it before choosing her.  Things have gone well and even through the frustrations, I have enjoyed working with her more than I could have expected.

I finally understand how I can merge my talent of working with autistic students and love of training dogs... service dogs!  I hope that eventually I can use the skills I am learning right now to train dogs to provide services for autistic students. I hope I can start a non-profit and work to make the dogs as close to cost-free as possible for the families.  I want to work with moderately to severely disabled people in their twenties.  I want to focus on those who are attempting to find jobs and could use the help of a service dog at work and at home.

I want this blog to help people understand service dogs better, help those who are looking to train their own dog get a sense of what goes into it, and help me stay on track as I work to become a service-dog trainer and start my own non-profit.

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