I finally got a chance to watch this PBS Documentary, Though a Dog's Eyes (Watch the video on PBS.org.)This documentary really shows the team training and placement process that people applying to Canine Assistants in Atlanta, GA.
Any person, especially parents of young children, need to pay particular attention to the last 20 minutes of the video when one partnership a Aiden fails, and Chase and Conner's mom notes that "it is like having two more kids to take care of " and how difficult it is to find the time and energy to work with her children and the dogs.
Things to keep in mind if you are trying to decide if a service dog is an option for you or someone you love:
1. The way the dogs are raised and trained varies from program to program. This program does not use puppy raisers.
2. There is never a guarantee that there is a dog for you this time. The emphasis on the bond is something that you will hear time and time again. It does happen that people will go home from team training without a dog and that matches after going how don't out .A person wanting to partner with a dog really has to put themselves out there emotionally and realize there is chance that it won't work this time.
3. Not all programs wait until team training to do a dog match. For instance, Summit, where I got matched with Shiloh, does what they call assessment visits where they pair clients with different dogs (each dog is at a different place in training) and the trainers ask questions about what the client likes, dislikes, and needs from each different dog. All the while they are making note of every thing from the way the client moves,interacts with each dog,and how each dog interacts with them.
4. Having other children and the difficulties that presents.
5. It is not uncommon for dogs placed with really young children to prefer to bond with the adult in the environment. It only makes sense from the dog's point of view because the adult is the person who really takes care of everything and knows what is going on.
6.Those first few nights in team training alone with your dog are great, confusing, tiring, and exciting because everyone is out of their element. I remember Shiloh and I coming back from out third day of team training and both sacking out a 3 o'clock in the afternoon!
7.You must continue to work with your dog and be patient when you return home for them to find their bearings,get comfortable and get up to speed.