An update on Mister

Mister is starting to get over his barking since we got The Collar. He’s doing really well so he doesn’t wear it much, pretty soon he won’t wear it at all. He definitely doesn’t bark for five minutes on end anymore. And not being so barky is improving his social skills, he used to just skuttle under the couch and now he’s actually walking up to visitors and being cute. The trainer said it would probably take a year to get him over his shyness, so that’s the number one thing I’m working on before he goes into more advanced out in the world service dog work.

For people who haven’t heard about Mister, he’s a long haired mini dachshund who I’m training to be a psychiatric service dog. I haven’t trained him to remind me to take medication, but that’s on the list. He’s trained to wake me up in the morning, and he’s really good at it. I have a hard time waking up because of medications and I can often be really crabby too, but being woken up by a happy silly little dog is a pretty decent way to start the day. He helps discern hallucinations in a totally unobtrusive manner, because he is very alert to sudden noises. And most of my hallucinations are random noises more than voices. He also calms me down really well, especially if I’m upset or scared by something. And if he knows something is really really wrong with me he’ll lick my face until I’m responding in a more even way. If I do have TLE like I’m pretty sure I do, then he’ll also be able to alert me to oncoming tonic clonic seizures (grand mals they used to be called). I usually have completely different seizures, but I’ve had a couple tonic clonic seizures in my life and I probably have some more coming.

He’s so smart, but he’s a brat and he knows how to get away with stuff. He’s come out of his shell since we got him, so I’m letting him have a little leeway to get silliness out of his system. Even when he is a fully trained service dog, he’s still going to spend a lot of his time being a regular dog anyway. He might end up being an emotional support animal who can aid in a few ways, but I really am sure he’s smart enough to get more training. The other night I found out he knows the command for roll over! If you’ve never seen a dachshund roll over on command you don’t know what you’re missing. He was raised to be a show dog, so he does take to training and there are a lot of things he knows that he doesn’t tell me.

Even if his training doesn’t advance any farther, he’s still made the biggest difference in my life since my diagnosis, even more than medication. I’m pretty lucky to have him, he’s a good boy.

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