supportdogs21

Dogs Wanted

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Support Dogs are a UK based assistance dog charity, training dogs to help transform the lives of those affected by Autism, Epilepsy and physical disability. We do not have our own breeding programme and so are currently looking for new dogs to join our training programmes. We are looking for dogs between the ages of 15 months and 3 years old. We accept most breeds, but can provide more information on request. If you have a special dog who is looking for a new home, or know of someone who does, please contact our team on 0114 261 7800 or email info@supportdogs.org.uk.

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Thank you so much for posting. Do you have a website? ( I am sure you are legit but the dog thieves are so devious these days :( )

There were a couple of likely candidates on my Facebook feed the other day. My fingers itched to click on their details and bring them home.

Is size a barrier? I know someone who is fostering a fairly large gundog type. She is a fantastic trainer so he will be learning all the time he is there.

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i'd guess their website matches the e-addy given above -
https://supportdogs.org.uk/

Contact page says, QUOTE,

"Our address is 21 Jessops Riverside, Brightside Lane, Sheffield, S9 2RX
You can call us on 0114 261 7800 Monday to Friday 8.30 am – 4.30 pm, or use the form below"


 - terry

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Morning,

Thanks for your reply. We completely understand the need for verification. Our website is www.supportdogs.org.uk if anyone would like more info about what we do. We prefer to work with medium-large breeds as they tend to suit the requirements of our clients more, but have had success in the past with spaniels and other gundogs. 

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Can you tell us more about the training methods you use please? I don't mean the activities you train the dogs to perform but rather what your approach to training is?

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We promote a reward based method of training for all our dogs under assessment, in training and then with their client. We use food, toys, and lots of verbal praise to reinforce the behaviours we want to see. We don't use any kind of verbal or physical punishment and have a blanket ban on things like choke chains, shock collars, deterrent sprays etc. We also like to encourage our dogs through free-choice training as this helps them to make the right decisions in future. We heavily manage our training environments to set our dogs up to succeed rather than to make mistakes.

Hope that helps!

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Very much, thank you.

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 I was naturally suspicious too: It just seems a bit odd to be looking for dogs in this way - what about Battersea Dogs home? Surely a link up with somewhere like that would be a good idea? they've literally hundreds of dogs looking for homes and they've already been assessed for temperament etc. I am  wondering what your selection process is like and what happens to the dogs that don't make the grade who will then have to be rehomed again.

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We already have strong links with rescue centres such as Battersea, Jerry Green, Dogs Trust etc. who are fantastic at letting us know when suitable dogs come up. Our aim with reaching out this way is to widen our search area into pet dog homes as well as rescue. We have in the past had huge success with dogs from other rehoming sites.  

If you would like any more information please call our centre on 0114 2617800.

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a note re "screening", temp-tests / behavioral evals, etc, as done by shelters & rescues in the U-S:

Some U-S shelters & rescues use widely-recognized evaluation protocols, such as SAFER - & actually train staff members or volunteers in How To Test.  When specific screening processes are used that are well-designed, and the folks who actually screen the dogs were taught how to do it & how to score a dog's responses, U get consistent results - & the dogs are properly evaluated.
That's important, as poorly-done evaluations are worse IME than none at all. // Dogs are killed on the basis of behavioral evals if they are deemed "too difficult to deal with" or "dangerous", or "fixing this will take too long / cost too much", or "we don't have the skills to modify this dog's behavior".  So screening accurately & properly is critical for the dog - the labels put on dogs by evaluators can mean a very brief stay, & euthanasia ASAP after their failed evaluation, if they're labeled incorrigible or aggro.

Many U-S shelters & rescues use temp-tests / behavioral evals THEY - the shelter Admin, individual staff members, volunteer trainers, volunteer dog-walkers, whoever - MADE UP, either out of whole cloth, or based on something they read or saw, & extrapolated from.  The folks doing the evaluation can each do it differently, score it differently, change criteria, etc - there's no training, & no consistency among the evaluators in what they rate as Dangerous, Too Time-Consuming, Too Complicated, & so on.
The outcomes for the dogs can vary wildly from day to day, or even on the same day, depending on who assesses them & How they are assessed, or even on How a particular assessor is feeling today - maybe they were snapped-at on Monday, & are sensitized to anything that might be 'aggression' on Tues, Wed, & Thurs morning, but start to relax when, by Thurs afternoon, no dog they've handled has laid a tooth on them.  //  Meanwhile, several dogs in the past 3 days were improperly labeled 'aggressive' or "resource guarders", & are doomed. :(


I don't know which shelter assessments are popular or widely-recognized in the U-K, but i hope there are actual training sessions for the folks who do those assessments, & written objective criteria on each test so that scoring is reasonably consistent, no matter which individual does the evaluating.

I'll also add that resource guarding is one of the most-easily fixed problem behaviors of all - & that many ppl will "test to failure", i-e, they will poke or harass the dog over a bowl of food until s/he finally DOES lose all patience, & snarl at them... then they say, "This dog is a resource guarder,  s/he is aggressive", which is the wrong conclusion. Defending one's food / a high-value treat / a bone / a favorite object Does NOT Mean that dog will attack someone unprovoked; it only means that messing with them while they are eating, or trying to take away such treasures, would be a bad thing to do.
RG dogs can be easily & safely managed, even if U can't or won't spend the time to modify the behavior - they have well-defined, specific triggers. // Adopters who are given clear, simple protocols to follow can readily modify RG behaviors at home. Plus, many dogs who will guard food / bowls / toys / their own personal space, etc,  in the shelter  will not do that in their adoptive homes; municipal shelters, or fosters' homes with multiple dogs, or rescues with dogs in adjoining pens, are stressful places - the dogs have lower thresholds & can't tolerate the same provocations, in those stressful environments.  Within a day or 3 of arriving in their adoptive home, they may never exhibit RG behavior again in their lives.

Does anyone know of a specific behavior assessment that is commonly used in the U-K?   TIA,
 - terry

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for further info, here are links to SAFER -

 

The Seven SAFER Assessment Items | ASPCApro

aspcapro.org/resource/saving-lives-behavior...research.../seven-safer-assessment-items
SAFER® is a seven-item canine aggression assessment that generally takes no ... researched items that elicit responses that are predictive of future behavior.

[PDF] SAFER Assessment Worksheet - ASPCApro

aspcapro.org/sites/pro/files/aspca_safer_worksheet_items1_7.pdf
SAFER™ worksheet. M M D D Y Y shelter name date. M M D D Y Y ... Behaviors observed before, during or after the item: ... stiffer as assessment progresses.

This video shows a SAFER eval of a highly-appeasing, very anxious dog:


& here is a link to Assess-A-Pet, another popular test which is often misused -

Assess-a-Pet™ | Sue Sternberg

www.suesternberg.com/rvaa/assess_pet
Assess-a-Pet™ can help shelters meet the individual behavioral needs of dogs amidst the stress of the kennel environment, identify aggressive dogs BEFORE they prove themselves aggressive in someone's home, and help create compatible and lasting matches between shelter dogs and their families.


Trish McConnell, a well-known behaviorist with a global rep for excellence, assesses the tool used -
www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/assessing-assess-a-hands


... & finally, The BARK Magazine compares the 2 protocols -

Testing Behavior Tests | The Bark

thebark.com/content/testing-behavior-tests
The two most widely used behavioral assessment tools in the United States today are SAFER (developed by Emily Weiss, PhD, of the ASPCA)  & Assess-a-Pet ...

Assess-A-Hands are often used to test dogs to failure, IME - they are a useful tool, but without good training for the human testers & accurate scoring, they become a means to harass a dog with no risk to the tester.  Plus concluding that all dogs who exhibit RG are "aggressive" is is simply wrong, IMO.

JMO - YMMV,
 - terry

Terry Pride, CVA, member Truly Dog-Friendly
'dogs R dogs, wolves R wolves, & primates R us.'  -- (™  2007)
 

 

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I have messaged my friend to tell her about your search for suitable dogs.

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Hi, the dog my friend is fostering is a GSP x Collie. She says he is much more Pointer than Collie (she has a Collie). He is not ready to go, yet, though as she is working on his separation anxiety. Crate training is progressing well as are the other aspects of his training. She is aware that you are recruiting suitable dogs and will bear this in mind when reporting back to the Rescue that is responsible for him.

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Thank you so much for all your help and interest in our organisation. 

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