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Old 03-09-2014, 05:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile Therapy Work and Schutzhund

Hello Everyone!

This is my first post, so I hope I am posting in the right place!! I am contemplating adding a German Shepherd to my family. First and foremost, he will be my companion, and I want to utilize him for therapy work (Animal Assisted Therapy), as I am getting my Master's Degree in Social Work. I have also looked into Schutzhund, and am really interested in getting into it, if I decide that a German Shepherd is the right breed for me. My question is would a working German Shepherd be good for Therapy work? Can they do both activities? I really hope to have breeders and those that are involved with A.A.T. and Schutzhunds to weigh in!!

Thanks!!
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Old 03-09-2014, 05:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It totally depends on the dog. My males sire was a police K9 retired, and then went on to get a therapy dog certification as well as many protection and Schutzhund titles.
Though I'm not sure all programs accept dogs with 'bite training'.
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ok, when talking to a breeder, do you know what I should be looking for in a puppy, could you tell me a little about your dog? I was planning on registering with Therapaws of Ann Arbor, MI (I live around that area), and I will definitely ask them what is there policy on that. I was doing research to figure out what breed would be a good match, and it says that German Shepherds are great service dogs and are very versitile. Then I read that there were working lines and show lines, and really didn't know which one therapy fell into.
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It all depends on the dogs. If the dog is of good temperament, biddable and solid nerves, any venue you pursue should be successful. The foundation you place on the pup may play into it as well.
Have you visited Wildhaus Kennels in Ann Arbor? They produce really nice dogs(WL's) that can do most anything asked. Though they don't breed that often.
My male is from there, I don't know that he'd make a good therapy dog(he doesn't like his feet messed with) but he is very good with everyone, including children and is neutral to other dogs.
If my goal was to have him as a service dog or a therapy dog, I'm sure I could have achieved that with him. He is balanced and higher threshold and a cuddlebug, yet he also has a bit of suspicion due to his genetics.
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Last edited by onyx'girl; 03-09-2014 at 06:44 PM. Reason: typo fix
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I sent out an email to Wildhaus yesterday, asking her opinion on the matter. From the forums, everyone has wonderful things to say about her. I am willing to wait for the right puppy, so I am in no rush at all, really just want a good fit and stable companion. I definitely have her on my list of breeders to look into. I am also looking to visit a few Schutzhund clubs as well, I hear there is one in Lansing. Like I said, I have read about it, and youtubed it, but haven't seen it in person. Thank you for your post!!
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have my fingers crossed to get a male pup from Chris' "P" litter due in early May. I don't plan on doing any SchH but do plan on Demo/workshop, Therapy and In-Home Assistance Dog. By the time he is old enough for it, my plans may change to full Assistance (Service) Dog.

Yes, you will need to check with the Therapy Dog group if they will let you do SchH and belong to their group.

I'm glad that you mentioned that you are willing to wait for the correct pup to suit your needs. Even once you find the breeder you want to go with it can take awhile, even have evaluations completed on several litters, before the right one comes along. If you tell the breeder up front exactly what you want to do with the pup they can let you know if any of their planned upcoming litters are a possibility to produce the type of pup you will need. It helps to know if they may have a pup for you in a couple of months or if you will probably be waiting for 6 months or a year. In my case I told the breeder that I will be using that for the right pup I will wait for how ever long it takes.

It can also add to the waiting period if you want only a male or female or are set on a certain color. I only want a male so that is somewhat limiting, but am open to any color which is a plus in a puppy search.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The biggest thing is if the therapy group will accept a dog that has been trained in bite-work. Being certified, and joining a group, usually involves having a sizeable insurance policy against small claims on your dog (things like accidental scratches or your dog bumping someone and accidentally knocking them down). So although 99% of Schutzhund people will tell your their dogs are MORE stable than some random pet out there, the insurance companies could care less about that and a dog that has been trained in that venue = dangerous.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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ILGHAUS- Yes, I know, I will wait for as long as it takes. My main thing is temperament. I am not very partial when it comes to gender, I've had both in the past, and all have been wonderful. I love the sable color, but I'm fine with black or any other color.
MARTEMCHIC- I plan on contacting them, the only problem is that I cant find a phone number for Therapaws. I guess I will try to explain the situation through email, but I really want to speak with someone in person
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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ken k on this board may be of help. I think he is involved in therapy dog training and is on the east side of the state.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD0202 View Post
Ok, when talking to a breeder, do you know what I should be looking for in a puppy, could you tell me a little about your dog? I was planning on registering with Therapaws of Ann Arbor, MI (I live around that area), and I will definitely ask them what is there policy on that. I was doing research to figure out what breed would be a good match, and it says that German Shepherds are great service dogs and are very versitile. Then I read that there were working lines and show lines, and really didn't know which one therapy fell into.
Therapaws is a local organization, you do not need to be a member there or any other local organization to do therapy work, all of Therapaws dogs are tested, insured and registered through Therapy Dogs Incorporated, if you want to Pm me we can chat about Therapy dogs
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