Choosing a GSD as a Service Dog? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Choosing a GSD as a Service Dog?

In light of recent posts on here, and everything going on currently with SDs, I wanted to try and compile an information thread to help anyone considering buying a puppy to owner-train as a medical service dog. I was not sure what to call this thread so /i welcome mods to change the title if you can think of something more appropriate.

Here are some topics I wanted to discuss and try and compile in one place for future reference:

-How to choose a breeder to obtain a SD prospect puppy?

#1 Find a breeder who has produced dogs before that are currently working as the type of dog you need
#2 Breeder must at minimum be testing hips and elbows through OFA, Pennhip, or dogs that were rated in Germany (help me out I don't know what you call the German hip/elbow ratings)
#3 Breeder actively working their dogs in some venue and meets all other qualifications of a "reputable breeder"
#4 Anyone who is aware of breeders who meet these criteria, maybe you could list them in this thread for future people?

-What do you need a Service Dog for? If you are choosing a GSD for PTSD or anxiety, have you considered that they are not always the best breed for this type of work? What will you do with your dog if it does not succeed as a SD?

-What experience do you have with dog training? If you are not very experienced with this breed and with dog training, you will almost certainly need professional help and guidance to achieve what you want/need with your dog. If you don't have or can't afford professional help then I recommend choosing an easier breed---like a Golden, meeting the same criteria as above for breeder. Or applying to a reputable org for a trained dog.

-What are the qualifications of a decent service dog trainer? What comes to mind for me are:
#1 someone who is associated with, or has been associated with in the past, or has worked for or learned from a reputable service dog organization
#2 Someone who has produced multiple trained, working, service dogs who are successful in their career.
#3 ??? help me out here guys

-Have you read the "landshark" threads on this forum---and are you able to raise a GSD puppy despite your disability?

What else, guys? If someone is disabled and wants to buy a puppy to owner train---what should they know or consider ahead of time?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 09:58 AM
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This isn't specific to service dog work, but a general comment that might apply.

I don't think enough people have conversations about longevity in their dogs. Are the granddams/grandsires living to a nice old age? Healthy and active beyond age 8?
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 10:31 AM
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Thank you for posing this. People need to be aware of choosing a gsd when they have bad anxiety and ptsd. We chose a gsd for mobility and medical alert, but if it was for psych a golden or lab would be a better fit.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 11:17 AM
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A great thread. Interesting I know nothing about services dogs but I would want a gsd if ever needed. I can see how it would be more of a challenging to find the right gsd. I do not know much about service dogs except how helpful they are. To get back to health though I know health insurance is very important to have for service dogs or any dog or cat. Medical expenses can be very expensive if something came up. It saved me much worry down the line. Do working dogs service dogs, sars, police dogs have a special dog insurance for or is it an expense that can be deducted it would be helpful. What kind of test do they do for a puppy for service dog prospect - what would stand out to say yes this is a good prospect to use as a service dog.


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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 11:32 AM
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I would also add that, for people in the United States (I don't know about other countries), there is no official registry for service dogs. If you order a "certificate" and vest online, it is a scam. There is NO official registration. You need a letter from your doctor dated within a year (and updated every year since) to use as your "proof", such as getting housing that does not allow dogs or your specific breed. If someone demands that you have them registered to allow them to stay, something is off. I ran into this issue when I was renting, and with enough fighting back, management backed off.

German shepherds are very often not allowed in apartments, so this information will be relevant to anyone renting with a GSD service animal. Read the ADA and know it well. If you have any questions, find a lawyer or organization that can help you understand it better. This is critical to having a service dog of any breed.

Edited to add:
I spoke with someone who had a service dog and had had one for years, and she said that she sometimes will order the fake registry online to appease people who don't know better. She had issues with renting as well, and she provided the online certificate as well as a doctor's letter, and they accepted it. You just never know.
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Last edited by Pytheis; 10-18-2017 at 11:34 AM.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Some further reading....

Topic: German Shepherds for Service Dogs? (Read 26970 times)

German Shepherds for Service Dogs?
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pytheis View Post
I would also add that, for people in the United States (I don't know about other countries), there is no official registry for service dogs. If you order a "certificate" and vest online, it is a scam. There is NO official registration. You need a letter from your doctor dated within a year (and updated every year since) to use as your "proof", such as getting housing that does not allow dogs or your specific breed. If someone demands that you have them registered to allow them to stay, something is off. I ran into this issue when I was renting, and with enough fighting back, management backed off.

German shepherds are very often not allowed in apartments, so this information will be relevant to anyone renting with a GSD service animal. Read the ADA and know it well. If you have any questions, find a lawyer or organization that can help you understand it better. This is critical to having a service dog of any breed.

Edited to add:
I spoke with someone who had a service dog and had had one for years, and she said that she sometimes will order the fake registry online to appease people who don't know better. She had issues with renting as well, and she provided the online certificate as well as a doctor's letter, and they accepted it. You just never know.
I almost feel like this is a big enough issue to deserve its own thread. I *believe* ADA trumps BSL or breed restrictions in housing but I am not 100% sure.

My two main reasons for wanting to start this thread were:

#1 Is a GSD really the right fit for you (whoever you are out there) to be your SD
#2 If the answer to #1 is yes, then where do you find a suitable dog, because a lot of people seem to be coming on here with unsuitable dogs, many from questionable breeders.

But I'd agree that part of question #1 is, living with a SD is hard, access with a SD is hard. And anything other than a fluffy bunny type dog does make it harder. I think it is easy to say that there are plenty of instances where a lab, golden, or poodle would pass without further questioning or issue when a GSD will not. This was true for me, in one apartment building that I moved into. At first they said I could not live there with her because she was a GSD and it was on their insurance policy's list of dangerous breeds. Had I been less vocal I might have not gotten that apartment. It wouldn't have happened with one of those other 3 breeds I listed. But I disputed that they could turn me away over that, and I had all her credentials ready to roll and we got in.

As this person stated, there is no registry, only the legal definition according to the ADA. The fact that I was able to show proof of long term professional training, support of a known program, team certification through that program, Canine Good Citizen, and the dog herself is very convincing in person and she did go and meet the building manager, all contributed to us getting that apartment.

I passionately love this breed and want them to be successful as SDs and not go the way of the buffalo but I also think that being really educated and realistic about it is part of the deal.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thecowboysgirl View Post
I *believe* ADA trumps BSL or breed restrictions in housing but I am not 100% sure.
Yes, any breed of dog can live in any housing, no matter what the rules of the apartment complex, insurance statement, city laws, etc., if it is a service animal. No housing can turn you away because of your dog. A service dog is considered medical equipment. You would not turn someone away for having a wheelchair, and you cannot turn someone away for having a service dog, no matter the breed. This can get very complicated though, as someone can just say they are turning you away for something else (even if it isn't true) and you can't do much about it.

Having more paperwork like you described, the dog's proof of training, CGC, team certification, all help solidify in someone's brain that your dog is the real deal, and not someone wanting to slip an untrained, fake SD through the system. I would recommend taking as much information as you can to the landlord when asking them to allow your service dog.

You are right; this probably does need its own thread. It is something we should think about though.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 03:03 PM
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There is NO breed restriction for sd?s. My landlord didn?t say a word and they know it?s a GSD
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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There is definitely no breed restriction for legal SD'S but other breed restrictions and prejudices exist and will sometimes come up as access issues...
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