Nova - Fibromyalgia & Psd Assistance Dog

Pawtential Unleashed

Experienced Member
Hi! I wanted to take a minute to introduce Nova - my SDit and Dakota - a SD Candidate for a handler in IL.

Training for Fibromyalgia/Light Mobility Assistance and PSD work

Nova is in training to be a Fibromyalgia Assistance Dog through our training program - Pawtential Partners. After a car accident left me with substantial muscle and nerve damage in my neck, back and hips - I developed full blown Fibro.

This manifests itself in several major ways for me - though it can present differently for everyone:

Chronic Pain - for the last 17 yrs, I have been in some measure of pain from the time I wake up until I go to bed. Some days are better than others but without my daily meds, I can barely function.
Muscle Spasms - Especially bad in my back
Tender Points - OMG YES! I never understood why people touching me was so painful - now I do.
Fibro FOG - Major memory issues and cognitive impairment
IBS - Joy oh Joy!
Sensitivities - Odors/Light/Sounds/Crowds/Personal Space
Sleep issues - Insomnia / CFS
Nerve Damage - Expanding numbness in one leg
Muscle Weakness - Especially right hip damaged in the accident
Depression / Anxiety
Early Onset Osteoporosis

For me, Nova's training will incorporate numerous tasks that I'm sure will change over time as my condition worsens. For now, the most substantial are:

Light Mobility: Balance assistance, momentum pulling, and counterbalance for getting up.
Item Retrieval: Both picking up dropped items and locating lost items like car keys and my phone. (Fibro fog)
Navigation: Finding the car - you would be surprised how difficult this is sometimes.
Deep Pressure Therapy: A variation of Paws Up for applying pressure to areas of my back that are in spasm.

And then we have one of our up-and-comers. Dakota (Ravyn's brother) is a candidate in our training program to assist a handler in IL with mobility and balance issues.

Border Collie x Hound mix
5 months
Training for Light Mobility Assistance

He is just coming to the end of his candidacy next month but I don't see anything that will stop him advancing to Service Dog in Training status. We watch and work with pups for the first 6 months to make sure they are suitable for the program and he has done beautifully!



Honored Member
I love your dog Nova, how cool to be able to train your own assistance dog (though I am really sorry that you need one :(), I'm sure he's going to be brilliant, I'm really looking forward to hearing what you train him and how he gets on.

When I was at college one of the other students had had several newf's at home as a child. One of them used to detect when one of the children was going to have an attack of epilepsy. Even if it was night time she used to come and get their parents so they could take the child to hospital, she hadn't been trained. Another of them once barked incessantly and brought their neighbour out of his house and wouldn't let him back in until he noticed his chimney was on fire. They seem very caring and intelligent dogs.

Dakota is really cute :).

Pawtential Unleashed

Experienced Member
Newfs are fantastic dogs - no doubt about that. Different training style than other "quick thinking" breeds but fun to work with.

Nova learns best through repetition, capturing and shaping - luring causes him to get all drooly food focused and lose his

Dakota learns quickly - is doing well with shaping but is quite serious for a dog his age. He should do well as long as he gets big enough to work for the handler he is training for. He needs to be at least 60lbs for light mobility work of someone of her size (100lbs and 4'11") as he may be needed for wheelchair work in the future. At 4.5 months he weighs 32lbs. I don't think it will be a problem...


Honored Member
Dakota learns quickly - is doing well with shaping but is quite serious for a dog his age.
LOL yes come to think of it he looks serious, The only hounds (scent hounds) I've met as pups were some that were being puppy walked for the local foxhound pack at a farm my brother was working on. They were totally goofy! Not serious at all :LOL: