I know this is an old thread, but it popped up on the feed…
We had our little dog trained to work with our son. We worked with his Psych as well to do this. Our son would have hallucinations in public places and would quietly leave. This resulted in “Code Adam” at Walmart on two separate occasions. As these events usually occurred at night, we had the additional concern as to our son leaving our home at night in answer to the commands he was hearing. He’s uber quiet unless terrified, then the screams start. We needed an early alert dog. The only way we could get one, was to work with the therapist/psychologists and train one ourselves.
First: We found a young pup who was rescued, and had the traits which worked best for us. Small size, alert, not active, but capable. Eye contact, quiet, did not mind being touched, but had to be aware of his surroundings.
Second: along with basic puppy training skills, we taught the pup to ALWAYS STAY WITH ME. We put him in training gear, gathered Dr documents in the event we were asked, and took the puppy everywhere with us. The puppy stayed WITH ME. On leash, walking on the left side, and focused. Only certain commands were used, so that he learned he was “working”.
Third: we taught son to KEEP THE DOG WITH HIM. He had to hold the leash, with the dog already trained to walk on the left side, and STAY WITH THE DOG.
The result? It’s been 7 years now. We travel everywhere. Son walks with dog (especially if he’s in a state of distraction or unstable), and the dog refuses to leave me.
IF son tries to leave, as has happened many times, the dog will then whine and fuss. He will begin to bark by the time son reaches the exit doors of the store.
IF son is moving around the house in an odd way in the middle of the night, the dog, who sleeps with me, will wake and begin to growl ever so quietly. All he is saying is that something is wrong. We both (dog and I) get up and check. Put boy back to bed, and return to sleep.
The dog is always with me, but is for our son. Everywhere I go, the dog goes.
One added benefit for this condition:
When the hallucinations are just starting, our son was taught to look at the dog. If he’s not growling at the goblin, then the goblin is a hallucination. IF the dog is growling it’s real. IF not, then it’s a hallucination.
Our son repeats that statement to himself.
The dog also sleeps under our son’s desk when he’s particularly edgy. We didn’t train this part. Over the years, the dog has become sensitive to our son. When the dog hovers around our boy, we usually discover that something is not quite right. We can adjust the world around him a little earlier we think…or check ourselves to make sure our son had his meds?
First pic: is when son was first dx, and pre-meds. Puppy was home 1 day.
Second pic: many years later…at the DMV, with older boy, neighbor boy and son who is now dx and medicated. Son was manic that day (really, at the DMV!!!), and children were not permitted in the room where I stood in line. They were outside, I took the picture through the window. The dog is taught to keep me in eye sight at all times, which he is doing despite the fact that neighbor boy is playing with him. I have had our son and dog stand alone before as well. It works. The dog will not leave the area without making a fuss. That draws attention, and I’m able to be notified by the sounds our dog makes. (Squeaks and whines).