Looking for a Service Dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Looking for a Service Dog

Hello,

I don't want to make this post too long, so I will be very brief.

I am an active duty soldier, stationed at Ft. Knox, KY. I am from SC, where I plan on returning too, once my medical retirement is finished.

I am 22 years old, and last year was hit and run by a drunk driver while I was on emergency leave. I suffered minor injuries (for the severity of the accident). I had compression fractures in my mid and lower back. Obviously, at this point the Army doesn't want me anymore because of the injury, so I am being medically retired...eventually. lol

I have only deployed once to Afghanistan for a year, but I was also diagnosed and have been fighting PTSD since then.

I never knew these dogs existed, until one of the providers I see here at Ft. Knox suggested I look up an organization and submit a packet. My only issue with that is that the wait time is over 18 months I believe, and that I cannot have my puppy trained, or pick a breed that they will provide for me.

So I was wondering if anyone on here was involved with or knows anyone I could talk to about setting up something for a German Shepherd service dog. My puppy is 12 weeks old, and I would love for him to have a buddy to play with or for him to even be trained.

In any case, if this fails my sole purpose for buying my puppy was to start a positive in my life and to whip me back in shape, so I won't be offended if the answer is "no". Which right now as a puppy I think he's causing me more stress than I would normally have! Haha.

Thanks!

Matt
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 12:55 PM
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First - thank you for your service!Sorry to hear you are having issues as a result , just wanted to express my appreciation for what you do and the risks you have taken.

There are trainers that will evaluate and train an existing dog. The key word is evaluate . Good trainers are pretty strict about who they will train as SDs. The dog that becomes an SD represent the whole community of SDs , dogs that obviously have behavior or personality issues that are wearing vests damage the reputation of true SDs..hence good trainers having strict requirements about what dog can become a service dog in training .

All the agencies here have a 2 year plus ( up to 3 year ) waiting list. You can go private , but that still does not mean they will have a dog ready ..and even if they do you will need about 15 to 30 K depending on your specific training needs.

I searched and searched for an 18 month to year old dog that would pass the evaluation . I did find one temperament wise , but he had a real wet mouth ( a Corso ) and any good trainer would not call a dog that slobbers a lot a candidate. He needs to go to restaurants and such !

In the end we took a gamble because a rescue I am friends with found a pure GSD who at 3 months old appeared to have a good sound personality . The trainer I am using was pretty specific in saying there is no way to know at that age if they will make it , because there are too many typical stages to go through yet ( fear , etc) ..and you can't tell if it is a stage or not until they are a year old or so. I suspect any good trainer will tell you the same.

We are taking a gamble , our pup is about 6 months old now , and he is doing great. We just finished Puppy Kindergarten .. we will do Intermediate , Advanced , and CGC. Once he is a year old..about 6 months for now , we will have a better picture if he will get his "in training " vest and start officially.

If he does not make it..if he develops issues or whatnot or just does not have the drive for it , we will still have a well trained loved dog for my son who will make our lives easier and better ( he already is) . We just won't be able to take him everywhere legally.

Another reason we wanted to go private training and find our own dog is because the agencies wanted me to rehome at least one of my other 2 dogs .. and I just could not do that .

As for raising our own potential pup , we are doing some things differently than we would with a pet dog , right from the beginning , so that is also something you would want some trainer guidance on. For instance , he sleeps in bed with my son. That is not something I would allow a pet to do . We are also rewarding when he barks at a door or up the steps when my son or one of us leaves the room..eventually he will be trained to alert when my son is sneaking out .Again , barking after a family member that leaves is probably not something I would have encouraged a pet to do.

SO , do a search on service dog trainers in your area ..check FB pages in your area ..that is how I found my trainer.

Good luck

Alvin - GSD - born @ late February 2013
Bo - Boxer/Hound - born @ late June 2008
Greta - English Mastiff - born somewhere between 2003 and 2005 ,estimated.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 01:00 PM
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Oh another thing..you mentioned if you find another GSD as a candidate he could be a buddy for your pup ..I specifically do not allow my potential candidate to pal around with the other dogs. I give them short socializing breaks under my supervision ( which is a good opportunity to work on some training too) ..and I take my GSD everywhere I can to expose him to things ( a lot of places like Home Depot allow pets..also Petcos and such ) .

It is kind of counterproductive for him to pack up or really bond to another pet. You are to be his handler , he should be spending the majority of his time with you , not another pooch.

I'm not a trainer , but that is just kind of prevailing advice that I have heard.

If you really want a GSD and you want to make sure he passes ..contact a trainer that will evaluate an older dog before you get him. Find a reputable breeder..often they have older dogs that are already OB trained. They are often more money than a new pup because they are trained and established. But that may be another option for you.

Alvin - GSD - born @ late February 2013
Bo - Boxer/Hound - born @ late June 2008
Greta - English Mastiff - born somewhere between 2003 and 2005 ,estimated.
ALL MY RESCUES!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oisin's Aoire View Post
Oh another thing..you mentioned if you find another GSD as a candidate he could be a buddy for your pup ..I specifically do not allow my potential candidate to pal around with the other dogs. I give them short socializing breaks under my supervision ( which is a good opportunity to work on some training too) ..and I take my GSD everywhere I can to expose him to things ( a lot of places like Home Depot allow pets..also Petcos and such ) .

It is kind of counterproductive for him to pack up or really bond to another pet. You are to be his handler , he should be spending the majority of his time with you , not another pooch.

I'm not a trainer , but that is just kind of prevailing advice that I have heard.

If you really want a GSD and you want to make sure he passes ..contact a trainer that will evaluate an older dog before you get him. Find a reputable breeder..often they have older dogs that are already OB trained. They are often more money than a new pup because they are trained and established. But that may be another option for you.

The only thing preventing me from getting a service dog I think would be the wait time. I have been talking with patriot paws, and for most organizations that I know of, the dog is provided at no cost to the veteran. That being said, I do believe all of them require some initial training with you and the dog. I doubt any organization would let me barge in and have them train the puppy I already have for free though haha.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-14-2013, 05:14 AM
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-14-2013, 05:46 AM
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I would suggest contacting https://www.facebook.com/battlebuddy

They can offer some valuable information for you. I thank you for your service. My husband has a mild case of PTSD from his deployment to Iraq. He jumps awake if a helicopter so much as flies over the house in the middle of the night. It's gotten better but it's still very stressful at times.

12 weeks is young to determine if your pup will make it as a service dog. Honestly, you could have searched for a dog in rescue or contacted breeders looking for an older candidate.

Also, for a trainer or at least advice and evaluation information, I would highly suggest Kevin Goede at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Contr...11679468843030

Kevin is a master trainer from the Tom Rose School of Dog Training. He's amazing. His wife manages the page mostly but both are very talented dog trainers and Kevin really knows what he's doing with training. At the very least, I'm sure he and/or Cheryl could point you in the right direction to someone qualified in your area to assist you with this.

Also, socialize your puppy. This does not mean let him pal around with other dogs. He should be good with other dogs but neutral. You have to be his whole world. Needs to be heavily socialized with people. This does mean meeting people but again being neutral. A SD is not really good when they're seeking out everyone and everything except you. When we say socialize, we mean more of people watching. You want to make sure he's good with people, especially kids. Really anything you could possibly encounter when out and about, you want him to be solid with. No fear. Calm confidence is the goal.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-14-2013, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
My only issue with that is that the wait time is over 18 months I believe,
This would be vrs. the average time of 18-24 months of training for a SD. So with having a 12 week old puppy chances are that going with a program is in fact a shorter wait time than starting with a puppy.

You also have no guarantee that you pup will make it as a SD. I know people who go through training one, two, or more dogs that wash out before they finally find a dog that is suitable -- or they just give up.

If you are OT (owner training/owner trainer) and need to wash out a pup or dog or two or three what are you going to do with these dogs? Keep them as pets? Rehome a dog that you may have had for a year or more? It can be very hearbreaking to have to get rid of dog that you have in your home and heart for that length of time.

Training a SD is not like training a pet dog. A dog that would make a wonderful pet may not be suitable at all for working. It can be very stressful for a dog to have to cope with the duties of being a SD. Working as a PSD is also one of the most stressful types of work for any SD. The dog must be rock solid in their work and not affected by the mood or many of the reactions of the handler.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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