Which Best Dog Breeds for Emotional Support? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Which Best Dog Breeds for Emotional Support?

I know many will go with different breeds but i choose german shepherd over all. This is my favorite breed. Why the shouldn't be?

They are genius, playful, hard worker, intelligent and many more.

So my choice is GSD!

Whats yours?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 10:24 PM
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Good choice! No other breed of dog, and I truly love them all, is as trainable and bidable and focused as a GSD. They are truly magnificent for countless reasons...

And welcome to the forum too!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 11:03 PM
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Well, naturally, I think GSDs are the best.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 11:04 PM
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IMO, since GSDs are so in tune with our feelings and emotions, that they would find the role especially stressful. I would opt for a breed less involved with human nature that would not feel as compelled to act if things were to escalate.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 11:36 AM
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All pets give pet owners "emotional support". But GSDs are the best dog breed in the world IMO.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 11:36 AM
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Honestly, I've seen just about any breed or mix with aptitude to do emotional support work for veterans. GSDs don't have a lock on it. There are many "medium brown dog" shelter mixes ("Heinz 57" mix) that have done phenomenal work because they happen to have the right temperament -- Companions for Heroes has some stories about lives saved (suicides prevented) by a few of those little everything-mixes. What matters is the bomb-proof temperament, the bond to the person, and sense of purpose. No breed has a lock on that.

Some GSDs are great at this kind of work, but others honestly aren't. When I'm looking for a dog for a veteran with PTSD in partnership with a placement organization, maybe 1 in 10 dogs that come through rescue is suitable. In fact, some of the dogs that have had well-known pedigrees behind them after owners/breeders died have tested lousy in their aptitude. All you have to do here is look through the threads about highly reactive, anxious, sharp, high prey-drive, edgy dogs to know that some GSDs just don't have the temperament -- and some may end up dangerously over-protective and ultra-reactive to environment trying to protect the owner from imaginary monsters that are everywhere. That's why we look for bomb-proof, handler-focused but also non-reactive, go-anywhere dogs. The candidates are extremely clear-headed, so if a forklift at Home Depot drops a pallet nearby, they don't freak out even though their human may be on the ground in a panic attack. There's just a special something the ones who are meant to do serious emotional support work have. One I can think of ended up becoming a seizure alert dog all on her own after placement -- not the reason she was placed, but she figured out that it was needed because she was so in tune with her job of looking out for her adopter. I've done some GREAT placements that I'm very proud of, but they've always been with guys willing to wait and trust that the right dog will come along. Not every GSD is the right dog for that work, and I really don't want to perpetuate that view among "the public" looking for a dog that they just need "a Shepherd" (I've had some really hard conversations with impatient guys who believed that, unfortunately, and thought they could just pick any Shepherd and succeed).
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Last edited by Magwart; 05-28-2019 at 11:49 AM.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 12:26 PM
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Every good dog is an emotional support or maybe call it a "bonus in life"? I have been enjoying pet mice for most of my life and they do enhance my life with their smarts, behavior and looks. So in their own mousey way they support my emotional life without me having problems (that I am aware of).
But I must say, Deja tops al animals I have ever had in seemingly being able to get me.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 07:01 PM
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One I can think of ended up becoming a seizure alert dog all on her own after placement -- not the reason she was placed, but she figured out that it was needed because she was so in tune with her job of looking out for her adopter.

I once met a bichon frise that was a self-trained seizure alert dog. The dog would get mouthfuls of kibble and drop it on her sweet little old lady owner, before a seizure happened. The owner eventually figured out what the dog was doing, the dog became a recognized/qualified seizure alert dog. It looked very cute when I met it shopping with her owner, wearing its little vest.

At the other end of the size scale:

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 07:09 PM
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A dog goes out in public as an ESA must be calm and comfortable around people and animals. It goes against type for a German Shepherd to be suited as an ESA, but that is also true of other breeds. A GSD that doesn’t have typical human aggression and has been extremely well trained and is not DA, might work, but you can’t say all GSDs make the best ESAs. They aren’t bred for it.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 10:41 PM
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A Lab but a purpose, serving something larger than oneself is certain to provide emotional support


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