Midwest Diva (blu_birdie) wrote in sdgroup,
Midwest Diva


Hi! I'm looking into training my first psychiatric service dog. I think I have a great candidate, a 10 month old GSD. :] I just have a few questions!

I guess I should start out by saying I plan to owner train with a dog trainer I trust, although he has never trained a service dog. The GSD is his. He has had him since a tiny pup and has taught him basic obedience plus a few other things. I plan on having my psychiatrist write a letter for me stating that I have a disability and he supports my choice to have a PSD. I'm also going to have the trainer work up a contract and write a letter when the dog I choose is fully trained.

I was wondering the about the law surrounding service dogs, specifically PSDs, in Illinois. I've looked it up but I'm still confused. One site said I needed to have a dog obtained and certified from a school, but I know the "general" law is that a dog does not need to be certified. In Illinois can I not have a owner trained service dog? There was also NO mention of PSDs on this site. I couldn't even begin to navigate the states site. Haha. Does anyone have a clear outline of Illinois state laws regarding PSDs? I'm aware that the dog needs to be trained to do tasks and not just "comfort" me.

Another concern I had is a bit silly. I believe that I have a disability. I was evaluated (extensively!) for Social Security Disability payments and I receive them every month. My doctor agrees that I am disabled. I'm afraid someone is going to dispute this somehow. I've read that I can have my SSI taken away and such. Do I have anything to really be worried about?

Also, I've read pros and cons of training your own service dog. Most of the cons revolving around not knowing how to properly handle a service dog in public. Has anyone had a negative experience owner training with a professional dog trainer? Would it really be best to get a dog from an organization? If you've successfully owner trained what resources did you use to learn the ins and outs of service dog etiquette? I also know that the dog I choose may not make it through training because while he looked like the right dog at first he just isn't the right guy for the job. I'll have a backup plan in that case.

My last question is related to my current dog and cats. Does anyone have any experience bringing in a service dog when you already had other pets at home? My dog is not a candidate for me for various reasons. I worry that she'll feel..left out. (I know that sounds ridiculous..) Has anyone had this problem?

I believe I could benefit so much from a PSD. I lost my job and my life because of my PTSD and Bipolar. I just don't want to go about this the wrong way. I've been researching for about six months, waiting for the right dog to pop up. Any tips you could give me would be welcomed! Thanks!
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