Suggestions for Breeder/Trainer for Multi-purpose SD - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Question Suggestions for Breeder/Trainer for Multi-purpose SD

Hi,

I'm looking for suggestions on reputable breeders/trainers for my next service dog (My current one is an owner-trained lab-shepherd mix rescue; and yes, I know I got exceptionally lucky with her.) My SD will probably be able to continue assisting me for another 4 years before she'll need to retire. The reason I'm asking so early is I'm looking for a very special dog, and I've been told sometimes wait lists can take years. Temperament and drive are the most important things to me, although I am partial to short/medium coated shepherds, instead of the fluffier long-haired shepherds I've seen on occasion (both in terms of ease of grooming and suitable climate, since I live in the Southern US).

These are the tasks I would need my dog to preform:

Mobility assistance: Help me with balance issues, retrieve dropped objects, be comfortable on escalators/moving walkways & public transit (including rock solid 'tuck' and 'under' commands), stop & sit stays or down stays by my side if I've fallen and can't get up immediately, and alerts/whines if I'm unconscious to alert passersby without aggressive display; no shyness or reactivity towards my cane.

PTSD Assistance: on command and/or by instinct if I'm getting into a bad head space, position body to block others from coming into contact with me without aggressive display, lead me out of a crowd to a quiet area if I'm panicking or disassociating, lay head/paws on lap or give me a 'hug' to help ground me if I start having an episode, "watch my back"--watch and observe what's happening behind me, even if it means walking backwards. Be content to be a canine teddy bear until I level out.

Supplemental sight: Stops and watches before going into a street, then crosses promptly; helps me navigate around obstacles and in crowds; finds specific named objects when commanded. Understands command 'follow' to mean follow the person I designated until released (very useful in restaurants, airports, and other areas where someone want me to follow them & I can't really see them).

I would *like* my dog to be able to:
Bluff: On my command and ONLY my command, bark ferociously to warn off an individual I deem a threat, even if they're not behaving in an overtly aggressive manner-- without leaving my side. Search --on command, search house and bark if an intruder is found. I'm not particularly keen on bite work or advanced protection work given the immense amount of time we will be operating as an animal handler team in crowds & families with literally 1000's of strangers around us every week; I simply want an effective deterrent if the situation calls for it. If those two skills would compromise the dog's ability to safely function as non-reactive service dog, then I don't need them.

Ideally, I'd like the dog to alert when my blood sugar drops or a migraine is coming.

Dog must be at ease in crowds, with small children, & other animals of all sizes. Dog must also display zero reactivity beyond pricked ears and alertness to loud noises (explosions, gunfire, fireworks, atmospheric effects, sounds of human argument, ect...) I live in the Orlando, FL area, work from home, and regularly visit the theme parks there at least twice a week. It's my way of trying to keep myself exposed to social situations and people in an environment that's safe & somewhat controlled--there's a LOT of unusual sights, smells, sounds, and I need my dog to remain focused & on task, aloof, & non-reactive if someone decides to pet it or hug it without asking me 1st. Public transit (buses, trains) and ride shares are my primary means of transportation, and I also fly & cruise a couple of times a year.

For the right dog, I am willing to travel across the nation or even abroad; I'm willing to visit the area to observe the animal, and stay in the area to undergo animal/ handler team orientation. I would prefer an animal that was already trained--I will continue reinforcing OB, SD tasks, & social graces, ect...throughout our time together, but my health and physical condition is at the point now that when my current SD retires, I'll need a dog that is already ready and willing to work to replace her.

When we're not working, I'd like a dog that has an 'off' switch and is content to cuddle and relax. I have lots of toys and tugs, a pool in my backyard to swim & retrieve in, and plenty to keep him/her mentally & physically stimulated when we're not out and about--but it's nice just to be able to to curl up on the couch and laze around for a bit with my furry best friend.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 05:28 PM
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I was looking for pretty much everything that you named. Am also owner training.
I looked for many many months then finally found exactly what I was looking for.
I'm On the waitlist now with a breeder for a pup to train as a mobility dog and diabetic alert dog. About 6 months of waiting time for me.
Every dog out of them is extremely solid with strong nerve and a good off switch.
They have produced service dogs before and the sire been bred to other dams and produced good service dogs as well.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konathegsd View Post
I was looking for pretty much everything that you named. Am also owner training.
I looked for many many months then finally found exactly what I was looking for.
I'm On the waitlist now with a breeder for a pup to train as a mobility dog and diabetic alert dog. About 6 months of waiting time for me.
Every dog out of them is extremely solid with strong nerve and a good off switch.
They have produced service dogs before and the sire been bred to other dams and produced good service dogs as well.
Can you share the breeder' s name? I'm very interested in working in this field, and would prefer learning from the best!

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

Tim
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 09:13 PM
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Hopefully you realize that finding all of these qualities in one dog is unlikely? For instance, my first SD was a lot of what you ask for on this list. But she hates cuddling. Always has. "Canine teddy bear" would be miserable for her. I did not train her to do several things I wanted her to do because of this.

NOW I have a dog who loves to cuddle, and i finally have a dog that will do the more physical things I wished she would do.

This:

"On my command and ONLY my command, bark ferociously to warn off an individual I deem a threat, even if they're not behaving in an overtly aggressive manner-- without leaving my side. Search --on command, search house and bark if an intruder is found. I'm not particularly keen on bite work or advanced protection work given the immense amount of time we will be operating as an animal handler team in crowds & families with literally 1000's of strangers around us every week; I simply want an effective deterrent if the situation calls for it. If those two skills would compromise the dog's ability to safely function as non-reactive service dog, then I don't need them."

I think is a really bad idea.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
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Hopefully you realize that finding all of these qualities in one dog is unlikely? For instance, my first SD was a lot of what you ask for on this list. But she hates cuddling. Always has. "Canine teddy bear" would be miserable for her. I did not train her to do several things I wanted her to do because of this.

NOW I have a dog who loves to cuddle, and i finally have a dog that will do the more physical things I wished she would do.

This:

"On my command and ONLY my command, bark ferociously to warn off an individual I deem a threat, even if they're not behaving in an overtly aggressive manner-- without leaving my side. Search --on command, search house and bark if an intruder is found. I'm not particularly keen on bite work or advanced protection work given the immense amount of time we will be operating as an animal handler team in crowds & families with literally 1000's of strangers around us every week; I simply want an effective deterrent if the situation calls for it. If those two skills would compromise the dog's ability to safely function as non-reactive service dog, then I don't need them."

I think is a really bad idea.
I have been seeing quite a few with gsd service dogs doing IPO. I personally wouldn't risk it, but a solid dog should still be solid without a threat. BUT not something I would risk personally. Although I taught kona "bark" command we never used it in that manner.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 09:50 PM
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I feel strongly about this for a lot of reasons. But here is one thing:

Protection training and service dogs | Service Dog Central


From this I quote "While the ADA does not prevent a person from doing protection training with their service dog, it also does not protect their choice to do so, and businesses may legally exclude a protection trained dog from their premises even if it is also trained as a service dog, as a direct threat."

I have never met a reputable service dog trainer that felt it was ok to protection train a service dog. Among many other reasons-- people have a reaction to a German Shepherd to begin with. They are already mentally associated with police dogs and war dogs for a lot of people.

Someone using a service dog to do a bluff threat of "ferocious barking" such as OP mentioned, could easily be deemed a direct threat as follows:

" The Department reiterates that public
entities are not required to admit any animal that poses a direct
threat to the health or safety of others.""

Then that dog may get and can get denied public access and the next person who comes along with a GSD service dog who has no such training is going to be hassled by that business owner. This stuff causes major problems for other people. Service dogs aren't protection dogs, period.

that's before you get into the issues of how behavior like this interacts with someone with PTSD.

Is it a direct threat? Maybe, maybe not. But it looks like one, and that's all it takes. Disabled people using service dogs do NOT need one more thing like this muddying the waters. Keep it at what it is.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 09:52 PM
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the look alone of a gsd will keep "bad" people away LOL


But I wouldn't reccomend owner training a gsd for anyone with anxiety or ptsd....it can work but it's not the best breed for that.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 09:55 PM
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I am not a person who will say "well, they don't know my dog does IPO on the weekends so what will it hurt".

Protection trained dogs are not supposed to be allowed public access rights, and for the "honor system" laws to work, people need to care about following them.

People crapping all over the honor system is what is causing the crisis with service dogs now.

What happens if somehow it does come out that this service dog is also an IPO dog? Every next GSD or any other non lab/golden service dog coming down the pike is going to get grilled and hassled. It's just a careless, careless thing to do because it doesn't just effect your life, it effects the lives of other SD handlers. Just like the fakers who don't think they are causing any harm.

Didn't we hear on this forum about a dog at a big event who lit up on some guy wearing carharts because the dog thought it looked like a bite suit? Case in point. SDs can't make mistakes like that.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 10:06 PM
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This is from the DOJ:

"The Department recognizes that despite its best efforts to provide clarification, the "minimal protection" language appears to have been misinterpreted. While the Department maintains that protection from danger is one of the key functions that service animals perform for the benefit of persons with disabilities, the Department recognizes that an animal individually trained to provide aggressive protection, such as an attack dog, is not appropriately considered a service animal. Therefore, the Department has decided to modify the "minimal protection" language to read "non-violent protection," thereby excluding so-called "attack dogs" or dogs with traditional "protection training" as service animals. The Department believes that this modification to the service animal definition will eliminate confusion, without restricting unnecessarily the type of work or tasks that service animals may perform. The Department´s modification also clarifies that the crime-deterrent effect of a dog´s presence, by itself, does not qualify as work or tasks for purposes of the service animal definition."

"EXCLUDING SO CALLED ATTACK DOGS OR DOGS WITH TRADITIONAL PROTECTION TRAINING AS SERVICE ANIMALS"

International Association of Assistance Dog Partners

Now you can split hairs and say IPO is a sport and the dog is not really "protection trained" and I do understand the difference, but the fact is the rest of the world probably doesn't and it's way too blurry according to this statement to say that an IPO dog can be a service dog.

This from the USCA:

"Schutzhund is a German word meaning “protection dog.” It refers to a sport that focuses on developing and evaluating those traits in dogs that make them more useful and happier companions to their owners. Schutzhund work concentrates on three parts. Many are familiar with the obedience work of the American Kennel Club’s affiliates and will recognize the first two parts, tracking and obedience. The Schutzhund standards for the third part, protection work, are similar to those for dogs in police work."

For me, this very plainly means that an ethical person should not be using an IPO dog as a service dog, because it is excluded by law from public access.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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I am aware it would take an exceptionally special dog to be able to preform all the tasks I need, I mentioned that in my post, and it's also why I'm looking for suggestions years in advance.

I am also aware that the tricks of barking on command and searching and barking upon finding an intruder might not be compatible with the overall temperament I need for the dog to perform well as a service dog-- which is why I mentioned those two skills are something I would *like*, not something I need, and I can do without.

The reason I would like the deterrence barking skills are I've had a break in previously, and it took police more than an hour to arrive--I'd like to know if it's safe to wait inside rather than outside in the dark. I also have to walk just over two miles each way to get to my bus stop, with only patches of sidewalk, along stretches of road with no shoulder, forested areas with no lights, past two rather run down apartment complexes, some construction areas, and an RV Park.

I have had unpleasant encounters with some of the transient population, and someone pulled a knife on me once. It was night, I was walking alone along one of the stretches of forested road that had no lights, and he began following me. He didn't shout at me, didn't rush me, just laughed and chatted conversationally about how much fun it was going to be to slice me up and leave my body in the woods; the gators would find me but the cops never would--and he kept coming closer with the knife in his hand. He wasn't acting 'aggressive'--no raised voice, posturing, sudden moves-- but he was absolutely a threat.

When I said I'd like a dog that would preform a deterrence bark on someone even if they didn't appear overtly aggressive, THAT is what I meant-- a situation where I am in clear danger, help is not available, & a threat has already been made against me even if the attacker isn't behaving like a charging Berserker. I would NEVER instruct my dog to bluff bark in a public venue, and I absolutely would never train my dog to bite or attack someone.

I wound up disarming & disabling the guy with my cane so that I could hobble away, but I'd prefer to not BE in that situation to begin with. I got lucky. I don't want a dog that's trained to bite/attack, and I would never do IPO/Advanced Schutzhund/Protection work with a Service Dog. I didn't realize that a solid deterrence bark that is only used on command could be seen as inappropriate training.

I haven't had any issues with people following me/hassling me as I walk to and from the bus stop since my SD became my companion. I also haven't had any break-ins since my new electronic security system was installed (complete with yard signs & visible cameras). It's entirely possible that just the presence of the dog & my new security system are enough of a deterrence on their own. I have legitimate reasons for liking the idea of a dog who knows a solid deterrence bark, and a willingness to pass on that skill if it's not suitable for the overall temperament--or the designation of Service Dog.

It wasn't my intention to offend anyone, or ask for something unethical, and I sincerely apologize. Back to my primary reason for posting: if anyone knows a reputable breeder/trainer for the type of multi-purpose dog I'd need, please post or PM me, and I'd greatly appreciate it.
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