OCD Puppy - Update - Can She Recover? - Opinions Welcome - Page 1

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by junkmail2014nov on 15 March 2018 - 04:03

Update on my little girl. We have relocated north and she has started Physical Therapy. She is VERY happy to be out of “The Collar of Shame” and even more excited that she is able to move around the new apartment. So, bones stuffed with Fromm Turkey Pate’ and all kinds of natural supplements to support the joints and healing etc., (see previous posts from previous threads), are being used as both mental stimulation and exercise/PT incentives. Her Rehab Vet Specialist up here is being very guarded about whether she will heal enough for SD work. To update everyone her diagnosis/treatment was as follows: "Both OCD lesions were located on medial femoral condyles, 5-8mm diam, curettage down to subchondral bone for optimal healing and full open lateral approach to joints (not arthroscopic approach).” She developed a dislocated patella on the left leg and a seroma on the right as complications post op. Therefore she’s had 2 bilateral knee surgeries. Her ortho seems to think she can heal. Her PT is reserving judgement. The new SD trainer up here whom I’ve been working with is very concerned about training her for SD work. I have reached out to three more SD trainers and asked them to evaluate her potential based solely on her medical records. I am awaiting these reports. For now we are doing PT and have been released to start beginning obedience training. (YAY!!! Finally!!!) She is SOOOOO focused! She already has most of these commands down just not in a setting which is distracting. So, I am hunting opinions from anyone and everyone. I’ve had an SD trainer tell me that they do not believe she can recover. I have an ortho who thinks that she “might.” I have a PT vet who is reserving judgement. Anyone else please feel free to chime in. And when you do please offer some links or anecdotal evidence for your opinions as this will be most helpful. Thank you!!! Oh and here’s a pic of my girl in the cab of my moving truck on the way from a sunny beach area to the northern tundra!

 

An image

by JonRob on 15 March 2018 - 14:03

I train service dogs and other dogs, and my girlfriend has used a service dog for 20 years. I also keep up with vet stuff.

Anyone who says your dog will definitely not recover is just blowing it out their bunghole.

Fact is no one knows whether she will recover fully. You will have to wait and see. I think she will do better if you worry less. Just wait and see and enjoy her for the great pup she is.

Also unless you need heavy duty mobility assistance, it may not matter for service dog work if she ends up with a slight limp. There was a blind guy whose guide dog insisted on continuing to work after a front leg amputation. A service dog does not have to be physically perfect, just able and happy to do the job.

Limp or not, she is still a bright focused GSD who needs a job. So the training is essential whether she works out as a service dog or not. And training done right will be fun for both of you.

I understand you do need a service dog so if this one doesn't work out you still have to get one. The person you got advice from about buying a service dog should have told you NOT to get a puppy but to get an adult with the right temperament. Puppies are a total crapshoot and I have yet to see one that was bought as a potential service dog work out for this--just not the right temperament when the pup grows up. I'm sure it happens but the odds are against it.

A service dog has to be temperamentally a genetic superdog in specific ways and this is rare. Socialization and training matter a lot but it's not enough if the genetic temperament isn't right.

A fully trained service dog costs a mint but an untrained adult with the right temperament can be found for about the price of a puppy although you will need to look for a while.

Your best bet might be to get a suitable adult male now if you have time for two dogs. The dog should be at least 2 years old so you know what his temperament is. You want the dog that the sport dog trainers think is a piece of crap--low drive, sociable, laid back. If your pup works out you will then have two service dogs and that would be great.

If you decide not to keep your pup please PM me. I know folks who would love to have such a great GSD.
kitkat3478

by kitkat3478 on 17 March 2018 - 09:03

Your biggest mistake is evaluating just on medical records,
She is a young German Shepherd that you yourself say is so focused, these dogs are so eager to please, a Shepherd pup is a handful and for now, you need to be her service person and I would bet money on the pup returning the favor.
My ancedotal evidence is 25 years in this breed

by junkmail2014nov on 17 March 2018 - 17:03

@JonRob & @KitJKat3478: Thank you both so much for your feedback. I have no intentions of abandoning her at all. The Vet in charge of her PT just released her to begin basic obedience with me again now so we had our first class today. I’m going to be a “proud Mom” and brag a bit because the Instructor, who has been training for over 17 years and is herself a Shepherd person, said my little girl was “way ahead of any other 6 month old in the class!” (Insert beaming big grin here!!!) My little girl knows, sit, down, leave it, give, touch, look, focus, come. I have been constantly giving her care, challenging exercises, I wear a treat pouch at all times and we Clicker like no body’s business. She sits at the door to go out, she sits at the crate until I have completely opened the door, and unless there are major distractions she doesn’t jump anymore. All of these things she had learned right up to the point where she first began this medical horror and within three weeks we are back on track. She is still “reactive” to other dogs however it appears still to only be the “I want to play and you’re not letting me!” mode. She’s not allowed to run, jump, rough house, etc. because we are rehabbing.

I am seeking opinions on this for three reasons: First and foremost what is best for HER. If using her as an SD for hearing will in anyway hurt her, compromise her, shorten her life and comfort level of that life then I want to do what is best for her, not me. Second, if she can NOT be used as an SD then this is something I would include as documentation when I deal with the AG office in the state where I purchased her from. In no way will I even consider returning her to the breeder/kennel she came from. Third and finally, @JonRob as you so succinctly pointed out, information regarding the “standard” for SD’s appears to be all over the place. I’ve had one “Licensed” Trainer tell me as recently as yesterday that:

“(OCD Puppy) does not meet the legal requirements for a service dog because of her medical history. A service dog must have a clear medical background.”

I have asked for clarification as the where this “legal requirement” can be found so that I can research it. If it is not to be the case that she can do SD work I will contact you @JonRob and I will take interviews for potential new care givers. I want to know she will have a good, happy, well cared for life, if I cannot keep her so whomever so chooses to give her a home they will need to know up front that I will check on her and they must care for her very well or I will take her back. For now though, we are going to train and work with the idea in mind that she will stay with me.

Any and all feedback is very much appreciated. Please offer whatever information you have available. Thank you in advance!



by hexe on 17 March 2018 - 18:03

I agree with Jon-Rob and KitKat--as a hearing service dog, I can't see any reason why that would unduly burden your girl or cause her any harm, and unless you need a dog that can haul, push or support people or things, she should be suitable for most other tasks service dogs are taught to provide their handlers.

As for her recovery, she's not likely to ever be able to run beside you in a marathon, but as young as she still is, I'd expect her still-developing frame to adapt to compensate the changes the surgery had to make to her structure quite well.

The biggest concern I'd have would be preserving the integrity of her hips and elbows--she doesn't need the function of those joints compromised in any way, so there needs to be no jumping onto, over, or off of things until she's a year old [I realize that it's impossible to prevent it entirely, but saying 'no jumping' generally translates to severely limit jumping, because we can't control them 100% of the time in that regard].

I'd keep her on surfaces that provide good footing--avoiding hardwood or other slick flooring, for example--as much as possible, and try to limit her running to natural surfaces that will absorb some of the impact. Swimming [once spring finally arrives in your part of Michigan] would also be helpful. Lastly, keep her on the lean side, and try to keep her well-conditioned and her muscles toned.

She's adorable, and has been so good throughout this whole process, which does speak well of her temperament and her ability to adapt to whatever circumstances she's presented with--good qualities in any dog, but especially valuable in a service dog. Looking forward to keeping up with her progress.

Oh, and there's no such restriction on the health of a service dog, as long as the dog is able to meet the basic standards of behavior in public areas. A good resource for info on such twaddle is this site: Service Dog Central.

Jessejones

by Jessejones on 17 March 2018 - 18:03

Glad to read that your girl is doing well!
I can only second everything that Hexe said 100%. No jumping at all, good flooring (absolutely no hardwood) and to keep up the supplements that I wrote about in the previous thread.
As far as “Legal Requirments” for a SD, I don’t think that exists in the USA. I think there are no federal laws on this. From my info, ideally you should carry a letter from your doctor that you need a SD. And, legally a store or airline may only ask you “what can your service animal do” and not ask why you have one. Some owners do print out laminated I.D. cards to clip onto the harness to make it look “more legal”, but legally it is not required. Unfortunately, there is a lot of shady stuff going on with bogus SDs, so that certainly does not help people that really need one.
Obedience training is every minute of every day, not just in class.
Lastly, I think a quiet relaxed atmosphere is crucial for an ‘in training’ SD pup. With that I mean the pup should not be put into high drive as a normal dog or sports dog is put. Don’t work the prey drive a lot (ball, tug etc..) you don’t want her to get used to the ‘adrenaline”. And...don’t let strangers pet her or react to her when on walks. Say no if asked, and that she is in training to be a SD.
And...wouldn’t mind another pic or two. Cheers.

susie

by susie on 17 March 2018 - 19:03

Anecdotal evidence:
One of my males was almost 2 years old when he broke ( literally destroyed ) his right front leg.
13 screws and 2000 bucks later I was told he won't be able to work any more.
The advise: keep him calm...???
Drove him nuts, and I dicided to start IPO training again ( jumping on trial only...).
He loved his life; at the age of 6 I had to put him down ( Arthritis and wild growth around the screws ) -
Dogs don't ask for quantity, but quality of life.
Just be careful - as the others already mentioned, keep her slim, but athletic, try to avoid too much hard concrete, no jumping -
otherwise just have fun together -
She seems to be a good fog.

by JonRob on 17 March 2018 - 21:03

“(OCD Puppy) does not meet the legal requirements for a service dog because of her medical history. A service dog must have a clear medical background.”

Well that is just horse manure.

Any asshat can and will call themselves a service dog trainer and spout out all kinds of nonsense.

There are only 2 legal requirements for a service dog that goes out in public:

1. The dog is trained to perform a task to help a disabled person with their disability.

2. The dog behaves himself in public. If he doesn't, a business owner has every legal right to kick him out.

#2 is where the superdog thing comes in. A good trainer can train a reasonable dog almost any reasonable task, so #1 is not the reason potential service dogs don't cut it.

What does #2 mean?

When the movie audience is cheering and yelling, your service does not bark his face off.

When a stranger accidentally kicks your dog in the ribs, screams "OMG I'm so sorry" and crams his face in your service dog's face to apologize, your service dog accepts the apology with quiet dignity.

When a toddler runs up and squeezes your dog around the neck so hard he can barely breathe, your service dog wags his tail and holds still so he doesn't knock the kid down.

When a meeting lasts 4 hours, your service dog lies so quietly under the table that people don't even know he's there until the meeting ends and he stands up.

You cannot train this stuff and lots more like it if the dog does not have the calmness, off-switch, sociability, and judgment needed.

There are laws about service dogs--the main one is the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Most of the legal requirements concern businesses etc that encounter service dogs, not the dogs themselves.

Here are the rules:

https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.pdf

You should carry copies of the rules with you. My girlfriend does and has had to give copies to bigots who gave her a hard time about her service dog.

Some states allow service dogs in training access to public places. Laws and details vary so check it out for your state. Just google to find the government websites with the info, or ask a lawyer who is well informed about disability discrimination laws.

Please do not cart around a doctor's note saying you need a service dog. It is illegal for people to demand a note like this and caving in will just encourage bigots to continue to harass people with service dogs until someone stops them with a lawsuit.

Also, you should encourage your dog to socialize with strangers until she is at least a year old (older for males in service dog training). The don't pet thing will kick in later when the dog is more mature. Doing it too young may make her think strangers are frightening or dangerous. A service dog needs to view the world as a usually friendly place.

As soon as your girl is medically able to play with other dogs, you should give her lots of playtime with carefully selected, social, stable, happy dogs of different breeds incuding small dogs (NO dog parks). That dog reactivity thing will cause her to fail as a service dog if it continues.


Sunsilver

by Sunsilver on 17 March 2018 - 22:03

So, she's going to be a hearing ear dog? Gosh, what possible physical demands would THAT place on a dog, other than having good hearing itself, and being able to do the most basic physical activities?

Okay, it would have to have enough agility to put its paws up on the bed, and wake you up when you are sleeping, but that's about it!

Best of luck with her!

As for the 'no pet' thing, I'm not sure I'd allow petting, until I knew for sure my dog would remain sitting and under control, and not seek out being petted by strangers. That was a very hard and fast rule when I took my hearing ear dog out in public! The 'leave it!' and 'no sniff!' commands were the most important thing I taught them when training in public.

Once my dogs were rock-solid on that, I WOULD allow petting, if someone asked, and if my dog was being well-behaved.

by junkmail2014nov on 18 March 2018 - 02:03

Thank you all so much again for any and all of this dialog. It is so very helpful! And as requested here is a few more pics of my lovely little girl! Sorry but I just can’t help but brag. She’s so stinking cute!!! I truly love her. Today, by the end of obedience class she was not reactive to the other dogs so I ended it early at that point and took her outside to chill, sniff, and have her chew toy. She was so good!An image


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