Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Bit About Tetra

What does Tetra do for me, well she has many tasks that she performs to mitigate my disabilities. I was born with a hearing loss in both of my ears, the cause is not known, but the loss affects my ability to hear many sounds in the environment. Tetra is trained to tell me when someone is at the door, and she even tells me when the cat is at the door. She has a few other trained sound alerts, but I also gain insight into surrounding sounds by watching her when we are out. I can take advantage of her natural instinct to look at sounds. This particular bonus does not count as an official service dog task, but it sure is helpful. I also have some physical disabilities that cause issues with pain, as well as balance problems. She can pick things up for me, assist with getting up, and also assist with standing and walking. Beyond that, I also have some mental health issues that she is able to help me with. One thing she does is deep pressure therapy, which involves her laying on top of me while I am laying down. This helps in many ways which may be hard to understand unless you have ever needed or experienced deep pressure therapy. Basically it helps me to ground myself and it also helps with the back pain and muscle spasms that I have on a daily basis. She is four and a half years old and I have had her since she was six weeks old. She is half Australian Shepherd and half mutt. In another post I will explain more about service dogs in general, as well as tips on how to interact-or not -with a service dog. Thanks for reading, and happy new years.


  1. I'd be interested in learning more about the deep-pressure therapy, such as how it was trained (did you train her?), what conditions it works for/how it helps. I know you said this would be hard to explain, so maybe I'm asking an impossible question, but I am curious.

    I often have so much pain that I can't tolerate being touched, including by my dog. I have trained Barnum when he jumps on the bed to have his paws beside my legs, not on them.

    On the other hand, I've taught him chin targeting, which is when he puts his chin in my palm. I plan to teach him to chin target other areas. I find sometimes, quiet, still pressure, like his head on me, feels good.

    I'm still trying to sort out when having his weight on me is good, and when it is painful, so that's why I ask.

  2. I use deep-pressure both to help with back pain and muscle spasms as well as to prevent or lesson meltdowns from suspected aspergers. I taught her by luring her into position. The cue is on me, and she literally lies on top of me. If I just need a little pressure, I have her do a paws up, putting her upper body on-in my lap. We are still perfecting this, I only realized this would be beneficial recently. I hope that makes sense, feel free to ask more questions.