Dogs are very special animals. They are highly social and need close “family” relationships just as much as they need food, shelter and proper exercise. Like people, each dog is unique with its very own personality, feelings and needs. They are not like people who can understand why something happens or doesn’t happen; therefore, it is essential that their owners assume responsibility for their care, needs and are able to provide support. In return, dogs will be eager to please and aid their partners.
Building a close working and mutually beneficial relationship will take time. The dog will need to learn to trust and respect you as the new leader of its “family.” The time following placement will be a period of confusion for the dog, and you will need to be patient and supportive while it makes the transition.
The dog will not be the only one who will be making a big transition. You will have some major adjustments to make in your life as well. The dog’s arrival will be similar to adding a new family member. Routines must be changed and priorities rearranged.
A dog has natural canine needs that must be met at appropriate times whether it is convenient for you or not. If you are unable to meet its needs yourself, you will still be responsible for making sure that SOMEONE takes care of the dog. Even though the dog will be highly trained by the time it is transferred to you, incidents such as unwanted elimination, chewing, barking or vomiting may occur as a result of stress, illness, or extreme changes in routine. Unpleasant though such incidents are, immediate clean-up is necessary. House cleaning chores also will increase to cope with the dog hair, tracked-in dirt, etc. It is most important that you consider carefully whether you have the time and energy and are willing to make the commitment necessary to have an assistance dog.