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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am new, I posted on the intro forum last night and now I am wondering if you all wouldn't mind giving me your honest opinions.

I searched a long time for a breeder with available pups. I finally found one last week.

The puppies turn 2 weeks old tomorrow and will be ready to go to their new homes in November. I emailed her for more information and she got back to me right away. She has 4 pups available and asked if I would be interested in the smallest female. She assured me that she will go through all the same screening that the other pups go through, is being raised the same (with slick floors, loud noises, lots of love and attention) and will be doggy door trained at 9 weeks like her brothers and sisters. I get to meet her tomorrow afternoon - the lady put her on hold for me and if I choose her I will put my deposit down on her.

The breeder seems responsible and I will be able to ask more questions tomorrow. She said that she wants to make sure she isnt reactive and that she is a good candidate for a service dog since it is so much training.

Can anyone tell me what would make her a bad candidate? I'm not afraid of training or repetition - that is part of the work, and part of choosing to train your own service dog. Is there really any characteristics that CANT be trained "out" of a dog?

I just don't want to fall in love, get the house set up (new crate, new toys, harness, order the training vest, etc etc) and then have the breeder tell me she isnt a good candidate at the last moment.

All ideas, thoughts, stories, suggestions are greatly appreciated :)

Thanks
Jess
 

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The breeder sounds good! I like it that she will be testing and waiting to see if the pup will be a good match for your needs. If the breeder has experience in training dogs, trialling dogs in different venues, placing dogs in sport/perfomance/working homes, has a high-level of success is matching pups to owners based on the owners' wants, needs, goals and expectations for the pups, and said pups had gone on to perform to the owners' expectations, then I would trust the breeder to determine for you if the puppy will be a good candidate for a service dog.

There is no way to tell at 2 weeks yet how the pup will turn out. They are all just little furry bags of cuteness. Their personalities start to emerge around 3-4 weeks and does not really develop until 6 - 7 weeks. The breeder I got my dog from, for example, observes the pups until that age, does puppy testing to confirm her thoughts/feelings/observations about each pup, and THEN decides which of her potential buyers will get which pup, depending on each individuals goals and experience level with working dogs. The breeders will look for different characteristics for a pet home, an Agility home, or a ScHutzhund home, for example.

I would think that what makes a good service dog is what makes a good all-around working dog. Quiet confidence, willingness to embrace and explore new things, outright curiosity as opposed to fear. No noise sensitivity. No shyness or timidness. Strong pack drive. Middle of the road personality, not a pushy dominant dog, neither a timid, submissive one.

So bottom line for me to look at the breeder, look at what the parents of the litter have accomplished (are they titled in working endeavors, since your pup will be a working dog), at the breeder's experience in working, training, trialing dogs, as this is important for being able to judge the potential of a young pup, and her success rate at placing pups in working homes of different kinds.

I would be wary of someone who only says that "they know their dogs" and that "they know their pups", but is breeding pet-dogs that have never been proven in a working/sport venue, and has only placed puppies in pet homes, and cannot substantiate with specific examples her claims that she can evaluate and place puppies for specific client needs with a high success rate. And the one thing that you would absolutely want to stay away from is any sign of aggression and/or shyness/fear in the parents, and ANY sign of timidity, hesitation, shyness, fear, or noise sensitivity in the pup - those characteristics in a pup so young are genetic, not environmental, as they are too young to have environmental influences over-ride their genetic influence. And those genetic influences are hard-wired, and not something that can be trained out.

In fact, in a puppy, what you see is what you get. It is ALL genetic, they are not developed enough for their environment to have made that big an impact.

So good luck in your puppy search, hope this helps. Unfortunately, I don't thing there IS any way one cannot fall in love with cute fuzzy, puppy pics! :)
 

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Buying an older dog is best if you really want/need a service dog. Even at 8 weeks all the testing in the world can't determine whether a dog could make it in any line of work for sure- it's going to be a gamble to some extent. Some dogs aren't reactive per say but they still can't cope in a busy environment and hold focus, some dogs seem very confident and even balanced as pups but lose it as they get older and hormones kick in. If you'll love this dog no matter what go for it, but if you need a service dog for yourself or a family member look at already or partially trained dogs:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks; I will definitley love her and keep her no matter what. I am mainly just concerned that the breeder will turn around and say she isnt a good fit; I am tryting to find out why the breeder may say that. If she can't be a service dog it wont be the end of the world; I am on a couple waiting lists for dogs, I do however prefer to train my own. I was training a dog earlier this year that passed away due to poor breeding/genetic issues which is why I am trying to do all the research I can and be as educated as I can. I would like her to be a service dog but if she ends up as "just" my best friend I think i can survive with that too :) :wub:

-Jess
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Castle! In fact the breeder only breeds working line dogs. He dogs are from the Czech line. They produce dogs for the police force... and have little bios on the parents. They seem to match (the parents) what you have said you believe would be good qualities in a service dog. She said in the email that she has never had an issue placing the dogs, that she has only had a few puppies be reactive, and she does in fact provide training on the property. Both the parents are AKC registered as well and the puppies come with health warranties, akc paperwork for registration, and something else I cant remember. I guess there isnt a worry, relaly, the deposits are refundable and she really does seem to know what she is talking about.

I guess I am going for reassurance; after the last dog I purchased (who had bad breeding and genetics) buying makes me nervous but adopting is also somewhat of a gamble. I have 2 pups (pets) that are adopted from the shelter, I love them to death, but they are 360 degrees different then when we saw them and adopted them.

Thanks for the great advice :)
 

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Jess, there are a couple other things you can do, just to make sure things are ok. Go to the OFA website and look up the dogs. Should have hip/elbow ratings there. You can also contact the AKC and make sure the breeder is in good standing with them, so the pup will be registered. Those are two very basic inquiries I think are overlooked sometimes and very simple to do.
 
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