Chapter 1: Pragmatic Standards
Why do we need another book about dogs and training issues? What makes this book different from others? Read about why service dogs are evaluated by a different
standard than other types of performance. Assess your own starting point for what you want to learn about service dogs and develop your own particular filtering criteria for
what will work--for YOU.
Chapter 2: Basic Concepts
Any potentially valuable discussion needs to define terms. Here the specifics are addressed about exactly what is meant by various references to the dogs, the people, the
settings, and different varieties thereof. When does a dog become an official service dog and what exactly does that involve?
Chapter 3: Dogs Are Not Furry People
Too many fundraising efforts and other fun stories present all the positives without considering what the potential problem areas might turn out to be. Anyone considering a
service dog needs to think through a lot of practical issues before making any commitment. This chapter contains a working checklist of issues and questions that should be
Chapter 4: Certification
Learn what constitutes a legal service animal in the United States. This chapter contains many referrals to specific informational sources for additional study. Learn what the
term "certification" means--and what it doesn't mean. What differences does it make if a service dog has it or not? Whose responsibility is the certification?
Chapter 5: Understanding & Evaluating Training Methods
Before we move into the specifics of what kind of training works for service dogs, let's make some sense out of all the different methods--all of which claim to be the best! If you
start out looking for someone to train a service dog for you, how do you decide? What is the criteria? What are the differences between training dogs to be service dogs or
training for other kinds of jobs? This chapter ends with a question and task checklist that will give you a format for interviewing prospective trainers.
Chapter 6: The Corrections Controversy
"Positive" training is a big buzzword these days. Before you make any choices about a service dog, this is a concept you need to understand and evaluate. Is it possible to train
a dog without ever using a physical correction? And just what kind of physical correction would ever be appropriate, anyway? Learn what is mean by the term "motivation" and
how it applies to a service dog a little differently than to some other dogs. For successful teamwork, this is a decision that requires careful consideration of several options,
including what the training process is for teaching a correction...and no we don't mean teaching a behavior, we mean teaching a correction! (As opposed to "applying" or
"using" a correction.) What is the process for ensuring a correction is fair and understood--not abusive?
Chapter 7: The Job Description
Everyone's situation is at least a little different from any other's, and each person needs somewhat different things from their dog. Before you start spending money, how can
you evaluate whether or not your expectations are realistic? How do you consider a task you need done and decide whether or not a dog can be trained to perform it? Learn
about chain-of-task building, and how to analyze and sort your goals into those you can definitely plan on and those that might be a little more "iffy."
Chapter 8: Service Dogs and Children
Service dogs can be a wonderful idea--or a truly terrible idea--for children! What does it depend on and what is the basis for evaluating this for your own child? Is it ever a good
idea for a service dog to attend school with a child? If so, when? What is the difference between a service dog and a companion dog, and why is the latter probably very
under-utilized with children?
Chapter 9: Breeds
Does it make any difference which breed of dog you choose? Yes! Different qualities and personalities make different categories of dogs better or worse prospects for certain
kinds of work. It doesn't make that dog a "good" or "bad" dog...just wrong for a particular job. Why? The answers have a lot to do with the history and development of each
breed. Save yourself a lot of time and a lot of frustration and analyze this question of breed preference before you start.
Chapter 10: Obtaining Dogs
Once you've decided the question of breeds, if you're now looking for an actual training prospect, where do you start? Put that newspaper away! Classified ads are not the
answer. You need to give yourself a crash course in Canine Acquisition; this chapter will guide you through the options and give you some references to start looking.
Chapter 11: Evaluating Temperament
While you're out there looking for your candidate, what is your screening criteria? Assuming the dog is healthy, you need a very specific checklist of behaviors that will be either
plus points in the dog's favor or big red flags that should immediately make you wary. This goes far beyond "is he friendly?" You need to know how to watch a dog in a
somewhat stressful and/or startling situation and understand what his reaction means. At the very least, this chapter will talk you through the process of watching a trainer do
an evaluation and help you understand what he's looking for.
Chapter 12: Legal Considerations
In today's liability-driven society, you absolutely must address certain concerns before you start out into public with a service dog. You need to know your own rights, you need
to consider what the rights of other people are in the presence of your dog, and how this might factor into your employment situation. Insurance needs to be a major
consideration, both liability and "product" insurance. Another item of paramount importance is that of a training contract. If you are working through either a program or a private
trainer, a thorough, written contract is an absolute must. This chapter provides an extensive checklist of questions that should be considered in the contract.
Chapter 13: Resident Therapy Dogs
Somewhat less common than service dogs are dogs who live in different types of facilities--usually medical facilities--for the combined benefit of the residents. If you are
considering such a project, you need to understand the differences, practical and legal, between a service dog and a resident therapy dog. The considerations for both
selection and training are entirely different. If you are going to hire a trainer for such a task, you'll need quite a bit of different information with which to start....so start with the
checklist at the end of this chapter.
Chapter 14: ASA Dogs
Assistive Search Alert dogs are a relatively new concept. Learn what they are and how they work as a team member--responding to a caregiver for the benefit of another
person with a disability. ASA dogs have thus far been used primarily to work with children who have autism. This type of training is intense, complicated, and fascinating. This
chapter provides the first-released overview.
Chapter 15: Programs and Opinions
Based on many years experience in non-profit programs, the author delves into some opinions about why service dog training faces credibility shortages, funding
shortages....and dog shortages! Read a few suggestions for a combined method of addressing both problems at once based on a concept of independent assessments.
Appendix A: When Personality Meets Character
This appendix is an extension of the chapter on temperament testing. Particularly if your service dog slot calls for a dog from a breed with protective or guarding tendencies,
there is a time-tested way of getting a lot more information about what's going on in a dog's head. While definitely not for the novice, the classic method of three-phase canine
character testing is a powerful tool that is yet unequaled by any other means. Learn what it is, why it started, and why it has become so controversial in today's society.
The index gives a handy page reference to terms and concepts.
As part of DFA's commitment to providing resources to the service dog world, we're happy to be able to
offer a limited quantity of a special book at a discounted price. Practical Partners was authored and edited
by DFA board members:
Are you a person with a disability who needs options?If you answer "yes" to any of these questions," Practical Partners was written for YOU! Drawing on
Are you a parent researching solutions for a special needs child
Are you a sponsor wondering how effectively your money is being spent?
Are you a trainer wanting to provide service dogs?
nearly two decades of experience in the field, author Julie Nye will walk you through the many steps and
considerations necessary to give you a clear and accurate picture of service dog potential and process .
- considerations for clients
- basics on breed selection
- temperament screening
- discerning possible tasks
- implications of training methods
- certification: what it is and isn't
- contract checklist
- legal issues
- service dogs and children
- facility-resident therapy dogs
- Assistive Search Alert dogs for autism
What do different people with different disabilities have in common...or not? What about their dogs? What
about their trainers? Practical Partners provides a superb foundation for exploring--and maximizing--the
world of assistance dogs. This book will lead you to a better understanding of the people, the potential, the
problems--and the answers. SCROLL DOWN FOR A SUMMARY OF CHAPTERS . . .
"Practical Partners is about how to plan a merger between the world of
working dogs and the nature of individual disabilities."
--from Chapter One
|FROM A READER:
"Never before, anywhere, on or off the web, have
I found anything that helped with so many
specifics. How to do better with training, to
understand the issues, and how to protect
everyone's interests, practically and legally. This
is the best book I've bought in years."
Kansas City, MO
Enriching Lives, Increasing Independence . . .for 20 years