http://makeashorterlink.com/?K1BA21E26 from the article:
The biggest challenge was finding the right dog for the task. "We unsuccessfully tried this with many types of dogs, until we got Polly, who is a collie shorthair that came to us from Finland," said Ben-Yosef. "These dogs seemed appropriate for Alzheimers because they have a calm nature, high intelligence and are very sociable with an excellent sense of smell and good spatial sense."
Chris and her lovely smoothies, Zeffie & Pablo
The biggest challenge was finding the right dog for the task. "We unsuccessfully tried this with many types of dogs, ... have a calm nature, high intelligence and are very sociable with an excellent sense of smell and good spatial sense."

I understand what service dogs do and what they are for. But I don't grasp how they can help an Altzheimers patient. In order to become a team with a service animal, don't you have to know what your needs are in order to tell the animal what to do?
All the Altzheimer pts I have known, don't have even remember they have the condition by the time they need help. The main problem has been memory loss related issues. How can a dog help with that.
I'm not trying to critize, I'm just very curious.
-sunny
I understand what service dogs do and what they are for. But I don't grasp how they can help an Altzheimers patient. In order to become a team with a service animal, don't you have to know what your needs are in order to tell the animal what to do?
All the Altzheimer pts I have known, don't have even remember they have the condition by the time they need help. The main problem has been memory loss related issues. How can a dog help with that. I'm not trying to critize, I'm just very curious.
-sunny
Sunny,I have been very familiar with this condition for the past 6 years. My mother had it. For three of those years, my mom was in pretty good shape, but she could not be trusted with cooking and she would get lost when going for walks. From what I read, it sounds like the dogs are trained to help people in the early stages. It is during that time when the dogs would be a god send. The early stages are very painful to the victims. They know they have a problem and it is so frustrating.

They lose their independence. In my small town, if my mother had have had a trained dog, I could still have let her walk to the store for an item or two. (She was very good about memory aids like lists) A well trained dog could prevent cooking disasters.. the main reason we could never leave her alone. She knew she wasn't supposed to cook, but she would forget. Scarey even when someone was home with her. A trained dog could alert a caregiver when the patient got up and started wondering at night.

Also, when my mom woke up at night, she would be disoriented and frightened. A dog by her side would have helped there too. A major problem with the disease also is sometimes victims get very agitated. Fortunately for my mom, she had a cat who helped to calm her down in those situations. Also, my mom got to where she didn't want to talk to anybody, because she couldn't answer questions. She would talk away to her kitty though. I think it's a wonderful idea, especially for real dog lovers.

Merry
http://makeashorterlink.com/?K1BA21E26 from the article: The biggest challenge was finding the right dog for the task. "We unsuccessfully tried this with ... because they have a calm nature,high intelligence and are very sociable with an excellent sense of smell andgood spatial sense."

Yay, smoothies! :-)
An aside...Coda & I start our therapy dog workshop next weekend. Hopefully we'll do well, and eventually be able to visit the alzhiemer w/ dementia patients. A good friend of ours operates a care facility specifically for Alzhiemer w/ dementia patients, and they've got a live-in Golden Retreiver. The vast majority of the patients just love having a dog around to just visit with simply because the dogs don't judge them. I hope to be able to take Coda there on visits if we pass the graduation. Shelly & The Boys