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Posted on: Sat, 06/14/2008 - 12:57pm
SkyMom's picture
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Joined: 10/27/2001 - 09:00

Cedar, I personally don't see it as "profitting" off a deadly allergy but giving more security to the person with the allergy. I don't see any other type of trained animal helping people with other disabilities as profitting in a using way, just aiding those that need it IMO.
There is a profit margin for every business in order for them to survive, even in the helping industry. I know of someone who was giving a trained animal through a fundraising endeavour, it wasn't given to them for free.

Posted on: Sat, 06/14/2008 - 3:07pm
Dokimas's picture
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Joined: 06/11/2008 - 19:12

Cedar, I know exactly where you are saying... I agree! I wouldn't want to eat food any dog has stuck his nose in! I mean, I love my dogs but, even for this seasoned trainer and dog lover, I'd pass.
I'll be honest, I'm on vacation and haven't watched the videos to which you referred... but the Peanut Dog uses his olfactory system very much like a narcotic dog but there's a heck of a lot more training involved in the Peanut Dogs for the VERY reason you bring up! I laugh to think of our narcotic dogs searching plates of food - it would be a mess, to say the least!
The Peanut Dogs, once fully trained, NEVER touch the food, but, in truth, some people opt to place a napkin or some "shield" over the food hereby protecting it from "dog" - just because, to them, the idea of a dog sniffing the open food seems, well, "wrong!" The napkin in no way hinders the search. My Peanut Dogs detect peanuts and peanut products in sealed packages so a napkin is NOTHING to them!!
The dogs are started on one whole peanut, shell and all, and by the time the training is completed, are indicating on people's clothes which have come into contact with a couple of peanuts (ie, someone picks up a couple of peanuts, puts them down and then wipes his hand on his pants), food with just a drop of peanut oil, peanut butter smears (even after being wiped), etc. Hopefully, if all goes as we've been told, in about a week, you'll be able to see our dogs working on Good Morning America and have a better idea of what and how they do what they do.
I appreciate your candor - as well as your concerns! It makes me a better trainer, and helps me realize what areas are of concern to the people to which it matters most.
Leslie

Posted on: Sun, 06/15/2008 - 12:48am
poodles02's picture
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Joined: 01/31/2008 - 04:21

Hi Dokimas, thanks for all the information. I didn't know that they could be trained to detect tree nuts as well, now I'm reconsidering! I have more questions, though - we have three poodles already (yes, that's why I'm poodles02, but we've gotten another one since I made up my username, lol). Would it work to have a detector dog living together with the others, and what kind of special "rules" do you have to have? Also, do they come with any kind of health guarantee?

Posted on: Sun, 06/15/2008 - 6:28am
SkyMom's picture
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Joined: 10/27/2001 - 09:00

Dokimas, can you let us know the day and time of the segment when Good Morning America will show your dogs? Thanks.

Posted on: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 1:43pm
Dokimas's picture
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Joined: 06/11/2008 - 19:12

I'll be happy to post the date of the Good Morning America piece. They had a crew with us one day as we delivered a dog to a family in Florida... and working with some of our other dogs. We've had many dates on which it was to air, but we keep getting bumped back a bit - I am sure, however, that it will air and, as soon as I have a date, I'll let you know!

Posted on: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 2:03pm
mpeters's picture
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Joined: 10/28/2001 - 09:00

Thanks so much for your detailed reply.
I am still in the information gathering stage, so that really helps.
My daughter is 10 and an animal lover (despite being allergic, oh well) and I think she loves the idea of having a dog to be her companion at all times. Questions: what happens while she is busy in class/gymnastics etc. Does the dog do a long down-stay? Is there a limit to how long she can have the dog wait while she is busy? Will the dog be the kind of companion she might be imagining? Also if she is in a store with peanuts on the shelf but at a safe distance away from her can the dog ignore that? And if taught to ignore it does that cause a set-back?

Posted on: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 2:15pm
Dokimas's picture
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Joined: 06/11/2008 - 19:12

Hello Poodle Lover!
You have quite a household - are your poodles standards? It doesn't matter... it's just my curiosity!
Yes, detector dogs can live with "non-working" dogs. In fact, we recently sent out a wonderful Labrador Retriever Peanut Dog to a young boy and his family which included a large, happy Labrador Retriever mix. The whole crew are, at last report, doing great.
The rules vary depending on the particular dog - basically, the dog works for a certain reward. So, depending upon your dog and the dog's reward, we would instruct you not to "overuse" it. Rules apply as to coddling, allowing on furniture, feeding instructions, etc.
The rules are easy to follow and incorporate. These rules are what the dog understands and expects. To give you an idea of how a Peanut Dog fits into one's life, one of the Peanut Dogs due to go to his new home in August is at the point in his training such that he's at the kennel when I'm working, and at my house when I'm off (Hmmm, that sort of means I'm never off, doesn't it? Thank goodness, I LOVE MY JOB!). The dog comes into my house and is eager to search, search, search! Once we do a "sweep" of the house and my family, I tell him he, too, is "off" for a while, he settles down at my feet, enjoys stroking as we watch some t.v., we go on a walk in the neighborhood with my pet dog, plays fetch for a few minutes, etc. When his bed time comes around, I tell him to "kennel" and he trots off to his kennel, turns around to make his blanket into a comfortable ball, looks at me for his nightly treat, and quickly nods off. When I wake him up in the morning, he goes outside on his own for a while, joins me for a sweep of the house for any peanuts which might have snuck in during the night, searches my (and my family's) breakfast bowl and tray, settles at my feet while I eat breakfast, eats his breakfast while I get ready for work and loads up to accompany me during the day! In other words, the rules aren't too strict; it's easy, easy, easy to incorporate. There will be times when your pets may be doing things your peanut dog is not allowed to do (excessive treats, lots of play without work first, getting up on the furniture, etc) - but the Peanut Dogs seem to know that their special time will come and aren't concerned about missing out on anything!!
Each dog comes with an "owner's manual!" It's important that you just don't over-indulge the Peanut Dog or over-work him! It's important that he or she gets time off to relax (nap and bed times, especially during the transition period!) and important that she or he gets the exercise, playtime, practice and stimulation needed.
As for the health guarantee, you're a bit out of my area of expertise... I focus on the training of the wonderful peanut sniffing dogs (and cashew sniffing dogs, and pistachio sniffing dogs, and... well, you get the idea!) and let our Director of Training, Sharon Perry, focus on the other aspects! I know that there is SOMETHING available but that's as far as my knowledge goes!! Truly, feel free to call her with your questions; it's a toll free number: 1-877-596-6835
Leslie

Posted on: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 3:13pm
Dokimas's picture
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Joined: 06/11/2008 - 19:12

I am crazy about my Peanut Dogs and happy to respond. The more people know about these amazing dogs, the happier I am. What can I say, I feel like a proud Mama! Because I do a bit of traveling, I'm afraid there will be, quite often, some delays beore I respond! THEREFORE...
Everyone should feel free to call us toll free at 877-596-6835! Sharon is the Director of Training - just let her know that you've been reading my posts and she'll have an idea of what you do and do not yet know!
Now then on to your GOOD QUESTIONS!!!
1. In a class situation, the dog could simply settle down next to her desk! In gymanstics, a portable crate would solve the problem, allowing the dog to relax and not be tempted to try the tumbling routine! (There are portable, collapsible, fabric crates available for less than $25 which I'm finding invaluable!) As I understand it, one mother takes their Peanut Dog to school and does the search of her son's class (private school) and classmate's backpacks... and then takes the dog home to kick back!
2. Time limits for a down stay: Not really! The dog will be happy to nap by her side but if she is involved in something which requires her to be up and down and moving around, the dog will be interested and feeling the need to be with her. That said, the dog will CERTAINLY do a down stay! I'm thinking of some of the dogs we have in training now and would imagine them all aquiver watching their kid doing gymnastic routines... Therefore, if the dog isn't needed to work, I think it's a TREMENDOUS time for the dog to relax and "turn off" so I'd opt for the portable crate routine. Our dogs look at the crate as a sort of haven... quiet, relaxing... all which is missing are the scented candles and classic music! (In the kennel, we DO have soothing music on for our dogs!)
Searching may not seem all that demanding - but it's physically taxing, to say the least. (Sharon knows the number of times the dogs sniffs per minute - I can't come up with it right now - and, well, it's awfully close to hyperventilation!! It takes a LOT to search a room so the dogs deserve some breaks with limited distractions (ie, crate!)
3. I suppose it depends upon your daughter's imagination! Each of our dogs are different and each have a different level of energy and enthusiasm. Some are more sensitive than others; some are more energetic than others. We'd try to get an idea of your child and her personality to get a good match. Gymnastics indicates that you have an active young lady who might be interested in owning a Peanut Dog which will "require" a bit more exercise than others... I can't imagine a 10 year old girl not falling in love with one of our dogs identified as appropriate for youngsters! That said, the dog is a working dog before a "pet" - so we discourage having them sleep in beds (beside a bed, in a crate in the bedroom, etc is fine!) though many seem to love to cuddle up and be read a good book or watch a movie! In fact, one young boy - about 8 years old - is "required" to spend 15 minutes every night reading to his dog. This not only encourages his reading (!) but it is good practice for the dog to "settle down" and the reading time also intensifies the bond between boy and dog!
If your daughter is looking for a companion who is a great protector as well as a listener... if she's looking for a companion to make her life easier and a dog with which to run through the neighborhood or play ball in the backyard... if she's looking for a dog who will make her laugh and thinks she is the cat's meow... Yep! I think the dog will be the kind of companion she might be imagining.
I STRONGLY discourage using the Peanut Dog for "dress up," to be wrestled with, tied up, or be given treats/tea-time! (Can you tell I have two girls and a boy? They're all grown up now but I do recall my dogs wearing a few outfits and camping out!)
It is important to realize that, especially in the beginning of life in your family, you and we will be analyzing how the dog is settling in and learning the dynamics of his or her new family. This transition period can be difficult for the child; there may be times when she can't play with the dog, and times when some of the important responsiblities (ie, practice and even play time) will fall primarily to the adult (usually, if this is even necessary, the child can assist during "play time!"). Your daughter will be given other duties (ie, feeding, cleaning up, grooming, etc) but with VERY specific instructions to follow during the transition. If she is incapable or unwilling to follow the instructions, the responsibility will have to be temporarily transferred to an adult. That said, it provides great lessons to the child - teaching them about canines, canine communication and responsbilities associated with owning a dog, especially an extraordinary one!
4. Though we encourage our dogs to search, we do not encourage them to tow us to a peanut (for obvious reasons!). What I've seen in a convenience store or a shop with some candies, is that the dog may try to go to the source but, because it's on leash, can not do so! At this point, typically, there isn't danger and the dog may look toward the source, but not indicate. However, if the child/person is a safe distance and the dog indicates, the dog would receive the reward and praise, and be given a command to relax! We never discourage the dog if it is correctly indicating - but we can give it the reward and, in a way, turn the dog "off!"
If being in the same room IS dangerous, a specific intense searching Peanut Dog would have been placed with the perons. Some of the more intense (especially helpful to the people with such severe allergies that they can't be in a room when, say, a Snicker's bar is opened!) will get quite excited and indicate from afar.
Hope that answers your questions...
Leslie

Posted on: Mon, 10/06/2008 - 9:11am
duskyrose's picture
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Joined: 09/22/2008 - 15:01

Hiya!
I recieved my peanut dog in Aug and its been great!!! I'm anaphlaxtic (my spelling sucks i know) to peanuts, nuts and seeds. My dog, Stuie, has been great. I've gotten to go places without as much worry as before. I even got to eat out for the first time in years!!!! Stuie even saved my life last month, a product that had always been safe had something in it that i was allergic to (can't say what product as we are having a little issue with the company). I did have a reaction but if stu wouldn't have been here neither would I.
The peanut dogs are a great idea, and yeah they cost a lot but they are worth every cent.

Posted on: Mon, 10/06/2008 - 10:00am
Connielynn's picture
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Joined: 08/27/2002 - 09:00

Hi. I am duskyrose's mother. I can not beleive the change in my daughter since we recieved Stuie. Right after Stuie came to live with us, duskyrose applied for job. She didn't get it but she tried. She would have never tried before. She now shops, eats out, shops...... we are going places we would have never dreamed about going three months ago. It looks like we will be flying to NYC soon too.
As for the dog sniffing food.....at first I thought the same way, gross icky! The dogs are trained so very well, the gently sniff around the food. Stuie sits and points if he smells something otherwise he gives you this 'you are boring me' look. We shopped for groceries last week with Stuie. I never realized how clean our hometown market was. Stuie was bored and half mad at us by the time we were done. We had him sniffing out everything.
As for funding. The dogs do cost a lot. I would suggest to start fundraisers as soon as you can. We borrowed the money and are doing fundraisers now to help make the payments. Here the Lyons Club is a big help. Contact everyone.
Oh, my daughter just told me about another job she is wanting to apply for. I am having a hard time keeping up with this girl.

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