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Thread: Unusual Request - Assistance Appreciated :] Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-06-2014 07:29 PM
Gretchen I'm sorry to hear about your panic, I used to have a lot of panic and the episodes did not last for moments but hours. I also knew they were irrational too, but it seemed like my amygdala had a major override of my cerebral cortex. Before I had a dog, I had a Siamese cat that was old and hard of hearing and he loved car rides. So I'd have him sit next to me in the car when I drove and it was very relaxing. So I definitely think having a large breed dog with you will help.

Hopefully others can expand on their experiences with having a GSD as a service dog for a PTSD person. There is a vision impaired man in my neighborhood that is on his second seeing eye dog, both GSDs. He walks a lot and goes everywhere with her, frequently to crowded coffee shops and cafes, his dog obviously does fine, but he does not have fear issues. The Newfoundland that used to live near us was friendly with everyone, even children. He was a great dog, you may want to explore that breed further too.
04-06-2014 06:57 PM
Chip18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avanti View Post

This may be a bit of a problem for us, then. I tend to panic just walking down the street if someone is walking towards me (it's irrational and I know this, but sadly still the case) and the woman at the organization says that it's important to get a dog/breed that is calm and friendly so I can learn to relax when things like this happen. I gathered from your post (please correct me if I'm wrong!) that GSDs tend to react protectively if they feel the handler panic/become tense. Does this mean it may not be a good fit after all? Or just very important to stress early socialization and the right kind of breeder/temperament on the dog?

Thank you all very much again for your advice! It really is a great help to an overwhelmed newbie here. :]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip18 View Post
A GSD would be my last choice as it is also the last choice for a seeing eye dog these days also Labs and Goldens for the most part GSD's make up 15%.

GSD's carry some baggage that you don't need in a service dog, not saying that can't do it.

If you want a dog that "looks" like a GSD without the "baggage" that can come with the real deal consider a Shilo or King Shepherd.

Personally if you can train little dogs, I don't think you'll have any problems with a "real" dog.
Assistance Dogs International : Dog Breeds & Behaviour
Hmm well if you do want big, and "protectiveness might be an issue...

For the record my guy is a working line OS GSD 125lbs In his defense his head is as big as mine!

But he had some serious big time "people issues" that I had to overcome! I got him as a 7 month old rescue so maybe he was bringing "baggage to the party?
04-06-2014 05:55 PM
Avanti So much good advice! I will try to respond to everything...

It seems dog parks will definitely be out, but that's okay. I'm just used to being able to take the others so it's a surprise to me but I appreciate the advice! I'm going to try to minimize my mistakes with the pup so it's better to learn from the experienced people. :] Obedience classes are a definite must, even if only for the socialization. There is an all-breed club very close to the new location so it will be quite easy for me to get to.

Quote:
Many of my friends had Great Danes when I was growing up, and although I love this breed I cannot see it as a service dog. The ones I've known have been very mellow, just not intelligent. My neighbor had a Newfoundland, it had a great temperament but seemed to require a lot of exercise or else it would get hyper.
A good chunk of the dogs suggested to us (those happened to be the "top three" that we felt were a good mix for my personal situation) were dogs that were of the giant type because of the mobility issues. The woman we spoke to from the organization explained to us that if we chose to go the German Shepherd route we should look at "oversized" German Shepherds which I have not heard of before because sometimes German Shepherds are too small for mobility work. I've been browsing the forums on that topic and I am not sure what to do on that end. I have private messaged a few people to get personal opinions and I do have well over a year and a half to become acquainted with breeders and the breed itself (so much research to do!) so I'm not too worried. :] I can learn as much as possible in the interim with help!

Quote:
They are not made to hold your full or even most of your weight such as you would use a walker or cane for.
Oh yes, this I did know for sure! :] I have a wheelchair as well as an assistance cane to help with that type of thing. The dog is primarily for stairs and brace work to get up from a sitting position (moving out of the wheelchair, standing up from the couch, etc).

Quote:
Mobility with a GSD would be to help your get up from a chair, a bed, or off the floor if you fall. They help give you a pull up steps, up a curb, an incline, or step over something that you can not get around. They help with your balance if you get dizzy. They also are trained to retrieve objects thereby limiting you getting up and going for the object itself. They pick up objects off the floor if you drop something.
As mentioned, all of this is exactly what we are looking for. :] The main reason, actually, is the assistance should I fall (even if that assistance is to go and get help). That's one of my biggest fears with going out alone, because it's extremely hard for me to get up on my own and I've had an experience where I've been on the floor in my home for hours unable to reach a phone, just waiting until my fiancée came home. We are hoping the dog can help allay those fears.

Quote:
Not a problem if the handler is able to let the dog know to relax and that the handler will take care of the "threat".
This may be a bit of a problem for us, then. I tend to panic just walking down the street if someone is walking towards me (it's irrational and I know this, but sadly still the case) and the woman at the organization says that it's important to get a dog/breed that is calm and friendly so I can learn to relax when things like this happen. I gathered from your post (please correct me if I'm wrong!) that GSDs tend to react protectively if they feel the handler panic/become tense. Does this mean it may not be a good fit after all? Or just very important to stress early socialization and the right kind of breeder/temperament on the dog?

Thank you all very much again for your advice! It really is a great help to an overwhelmed newbie here. :]
04-06-2014 04:31 PM
Chip18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ILGHAUS View Post
As to a PTSD dog -- I am careful who I recommend the use of a GSD. A GSD will pick up on your emotions and if you become scared they will look for the danger. Not a problem if the handler is able to let the dog know to relax and that the handler will take care of the "threat".

A carefully chosen GSD Candidate with the proper temperament and health, the correct training and with a GSD savy handler can make a wonderful SD.
Thanks for the clarification.
04-06-2014 01:03 PM
ILGHAUS I find GSDs the easiest dogs to train but many people don't.

NO to typical dog parks. Find a puppy class in your area to socialize your pup with. Find a good group of older dogs later who you can do socials with.

As to mobility -- be careful. They are not made to hold your full or even most of your weight such as you would use a walker or cane for. No weight (pressure) should be used on them before they are a full 24 months old and X-rays and evaluations through OFA or PennHip.

Mobility with a GSD would be to help your get up from a chair, a bed, or off the floor if you fall. They help give you a pull up steps, up a curb, an incline, or step over something that you can not get around. They help with your balance if you get dizzy. They also are trained to retrieve objects thereby limiting you getting up and going for the object itself. They pick up objects off the floor if you drop something.

As to a PTSD dog -- I am careful who I recommend the use of a GSD. A GSD will pick up on your emotions and if you become scared they will look for the danger. Not a problem if the handler is able to let the dog know to relax and that the handler will take care of the "threat".

A carefully chosen GSD Candidate with the proper temperament and health, the correct training and with a GSD savy handler can make a wonderful SD.
04-06-2014 11:55 AM
Gretchen Yes, I think a GSD would make a good service dog for you. They are highly intelligent. Some do have a high prey drive, they key is finding a good source (breeder) for the type of dog you need.

Many of my friends had Great Danes when I was growing up, and although I love this breed I cannot see it as a service dog. The ones I've known have been very mellow, just not intelligent. My neighbor had a Newfoundland, it had a great temperament but seemed to require a lot of exercise or else it would get hyper.

Here's a link to a nice article about a service dog (non-gsd)
Celebrating nurses: Sarge's healing powers : Nursing made Incredibly Easy

And here's a recommendation for an enjoyable fiction read about a GSD K9 who has PTSD. The book describes german shepherds extremely well, it was as if the author lived in our home they way he wrote about all the dog's details.
Suspect, by Robert Crais
04-06-2014 02:14 AM
Chip18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avanti View Post
Oh, no dog parks? I thought that was a good place after pup was fully vaccinated? We took our previous dogs there without issue (not to these particular ones, though). Is it because you can't guarantee the kinds of experiences the puppy will have?
Well that's my call to arms!

Info here in post 8
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...allenging.html

You were lucky lots of folks have no problems at dogs parks... lots of folks don't. Cesar Millan builds his career on dog park folks. Cesar 911 every week...here we go again! But hey maybe that's why he never says... don't go to dog parks?? There good for business!

In simple terms you put your dog at risk, if he gets attacked he can easily become a fear bitter or dog reactive Second if your dog is allowed to run around out of control, he can easily learn that you don't matter. My guys never did dog parks they never had issues caused by other peoples dogs.

They were taught to ignore other dogs not to be other folks chew toy! No "dog parks" no "I thought my dog was friendly folks??"

Don't need the hassle I put too much time and effort into my dogs to risk them getting hurt or developing issues, that "I" have to fix.

And you're not going to see Service dogs, Seeing eye dogs or K9's at a Dog Park..unless you take yours??
04-06-2014 01:56 AM
llombardo Here is some good reading for you. There is a breeder directory also. It might make things easier for you.


German Shepherd Guide - Home
04-06-2014 12:21 AM
middleofnowhere When I was in Arkansas I flew to Oregon to pick up a pup. It wasn't that expensive. Besides, it worked for a vacation, too. She flew as carry on & I think it was 75 to 100$ fee. That was about 4 years ago. So, to me, no, it doesn't make sense not to ship or to go pick up.
You want a pup suitable for a specific task. With good health and excellent temperment & very specific drive levels. I'd watch what other constraints I put on this if I were in your position. It's a little like me and lottery tickets - they haven't had the winner for sale any time I was at the store -- so I haven't bought the ticket yet.
But it is your pup & your situation. We've at least got you out of coat-type preferences (I love long coats having had two myself - but I didn't specifically look for long coats and I currently have one very tight coated dog and the pup is "to be determined". I get what the breeder has that he thinks is suitable for me.)
04-05-2014 11:53 PM
Avanti
Quote:
forget fussing about what coat you would prefer.
Oh, it's not a requirement, just a preference. I find grooming dogs to be very soothing (brushing and things soothes my nerves) so I simply thought it would be preferable to get a long coated GSD in this case. If it so happens that the perfect match is a short or medium coat then by all means I'm more than content with that; I was just wondering if anyone knew of a long coated breeder who bred dogs with the coat type that was a preference!

Quote:
Do not worry about WHERE this breeder is located.
This is more of a financial as well as peace of mind consideration, though. Shipping is extremely expensive (I've been quoted anywhere from $450 to almost $1000) so it would be much easier to find a breeder close to us that we could simply drive to. I'd also really would like the opportunity to meet in person with the breeder and meet the pups in person. I was always of the mindset to have the breeder select the pup for me since they would know the puppies better than I would, but I would still like the opportunity to "meet and greet" the litter, as it were. :] I'm willing to travel to neighbouring states but I'm quite firm on not wanting to ship. I hope that makes sense! :]
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