“Service Dog’s Rule…”

Well, here it is, our first post…

Not sure who we are? The dog’s name is Tonka and I’m Ben…together we live my life. Tonka is my Service Dog and goes everywhere with me. I know he doesn’t look like a Service Dog to you but I assure that he is and that he is legal.

There is a lot of confusion out there about Service Dog’s, especially here in Ontario as the Accessibility for Ontarian’s with a Disability Act is being implemented. Most people think they know about Service Dogs and Accessibility but they don’t really. Part of our hope is that we can change that through education.

Service Dogs cost a lot of money…between $15,000 and $30,000 with the wait times for one being in excess of 2 years! I couldn’t afford that or wait that long, even if I’d known at the time that a Service Dog would help me. And while a person still has to travel to be trained, they are not guaranteed to get the dog that they’ve been working with until then.

PTSD is not the easiest diagnosis to get to if you haven’t some kind of military or emergency responder background. People, even doctors, don’t get it…the stigma being if you’re not one of the aforementioned, you can’t have a problem!

Yet, I am living proof that you can. Due to trauma before the age of five I have suffered, unknowingly, ever since. In July of 2013 I was granted the use of a Service Dog due to symptoms of PTSD…and my life changed.

My future Service Dog was my own personal dog, Tonka.

Tonka was a pound rescue at 7 months old we adopted in 2010. He didn’t know his name but had a clue, he wasn’t housebroken and he didn’t know any commands. He was 3 years old in July 2013 and became a Service Dog…home schooled!

Anyone can home school with the right help, commitment and desire to learn in a fun way. Follow our continuing journey as we offer tips and guidance. I’m sure there will be lots of questions…we have the answer for 95% of them.

Have a great day, “Us”

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6 thoughts on ““Service Dog’s Rule…”

    • I had help to obedience train him using a clicker. Fortunately I was raised caring for, training and showing championship Schnauzers since a child, so had additional training to fall back on. Once Tonka was clicker trained and I had learned how to build proper commands from basics I was on my own…its been a journey for both of us and I found it takes a real commitment…but the reward is unbelievable. I’m still building my page but would be glad to offer advice…first thing you’d need is a “Letter of Documentation” from a doctor stating that you “require a Service Dog due to a disability.” Thats how it should be worded on letterhead and signed. Do you have a dog now? If not start thinking about your lifestyle now, what kind of dog would fit? It would be best if it was naturally gentle and easily trainable and don’t just think of a puppy, older dogs make great Service Dogs as they don’t have as much energy to deal with. Trust me, your first should be easy to deal with. I also recommend a medium sized dog, going into stores and restaurants with a big dog is a pain, let alone a train or bus. Wanna chat more, please ask away…I’ve helped 7 other people through this, so ask away.

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      • Currently I don’t have a dog because he passed. Since I suffered a concussion my sense of sound was dramatically heightened ( loud noises make me jump) and I have been waiting. I won’t go I Of all about me because there are reasons why I would feel safer and calmer with the dog. I have been looking at shelters but size plays a huge part because I’m small! I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am that you responded and I will be reaching out again.

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      • Any time. My email address is on the contact page as well.
        Please understand that I can only help with a PTSD Service Dog. I’m not qualified to help or train other types of Service Dogs.
        Hope we’re talking the same thing as some dogs are trained to scent different chemicals in the body. While I can scent train I have never done it professional at that level. However, most PTSD tasks do not require scenting and the dog only has to learn three of a bunch, so.
        Size of a any Service Dog doesn’t matter, its the “specific tasks” its asked to do that does. So if you’re small, maybe a better fit is a smaller dog. I’m 6’2″ and Tonka doesn’t even come up to my knees! Take a lot of time, don’t rush and remember, it doesn’t have to be a younger dog.
        What matters is that it can be obedience trained, older dogs can still be and sometimes already have those base commands, so bonus head start…have a quiet disposition which can be hard to find in a pound, so visit dogs your considering more than once and take them for walks BUT NEVER the off-leash, ever, okay? Sometimes you can be allowed to trail them at home, however I would recommend more than one day as it takes time for a dog to adjust, I had one throw up all night out of fear.
        The most important thing is that you can get a letter from a doctor or type of professional listed in the AODA…you can’t get a legal dog without it. That paper is the only thing that makes it legal…not the cape or certification…just that letter. You get that, your life will change…tell the doctor how much your last dog helped with the anxiety, tell him that your willing to do the homework (which I’ve already done and offered for your use) and that you have an experienced mentor that will be assisting you…they agree and you’re on your way.
        I’ll tell you the tasks, what the letter must say, what the AODA says, how your going to train…I’ll help with everything that I can to get you a working Service Dog.
        Good luck, hope you get or have a letter, keep in touch.
        Ben and Tonka

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      • I can’t thank you enough!! It’s like you stepped in at the perfect time! I will email you questions but don’t want to be too intrusive . I will be talking to you.

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