We are often asked whether there is a book someone can read to learn everything there is to know about service dogs. There is no book like that! However, you can do even better by talking with people in an online service dog support group. A more accurate description of ours is a “Peer Guidance Group”.
In our psychiatric service dog Peer Guidance Group, people with (or seeking) psychiatric service dogs help each other with advice and feedback about dog training and the service dog lifestyle. PSDP’s Peer Guidance Group is free and takes the form of a “listserv”.
In addition to offering the best and most tailored advice around, the listserv is a great source of support and friendship. The founders of PSDP wouldn’t have gotten together had they not connected via a listserv. On the listserv, peers can ask for and share advice on any subject related to service dogs, from how to train a piece of work or a task, to how to interact with the public, to how to travel with your service dog, etc.
How it works…
The listserv has an email address. Anytime you want to say something to the group, you email this email address and the message automatically gets deposited in the inboxes of everyone who is signed up. To join in a conversation, just hit reply and your message will get distributed to all the listserv members’ inboxes.
One feature of our Peer Guidance Group is that there are many email messages that come through each day. As of this writing, the list can get up to around 100 emails a day. This volume means you are likely to get a good amount of help, but it also requires a strategic approach.
To prevent list emails from overflowing their inboxes, most community members create a special folder in their email program for the messages to get automatically deposited in. Other people create an email address just for the listmail. If you do this, we recommend gmail as it can group messages by topic, making it easier to follow the thread of conversation.
How to join…
Generally, prospective listmembers must have a psychiatric disability and will have, have had, or currently have a psychiatric service dog. The dog can be program-trained, owner-trained, or anything in between. Prospective listmembers must be approved by phone before being added to the listserv to maintain a safe environment. We do not have a listserv for professional trainers or healthcare providers at this point.
We hope to see you on the list soon!
More PSDP listserv resources…
What are the rules that set the stage for listserv discussions? Safe and respectful attitudes start with these List Rules.
How should you take advantage of the listserv to improve your life? There are things you can do to take you from merely existing on the list to actively Thriving on the List.