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Hi , we just welcomed a GSD pup to our home. He is about 3 or 4 months old and his name is Alvin . We adopted Alvin as soon as we met him , he has such a great personality already . We plan to hopefully train Alvin to be an assistance dog for my 5 year old son who has autism ( and loves dogs) .

I know very few pass the test to make full "service dog" , but our needs from a service dog are mostly in the comfort and socializing department , and we need a "shepherd" for our boy :)

We are fortunate our son is high functioning , intelligent , affectionate , and does socialize when others initiate . He is a wander risk though , has some OCDs , and has significant speech and communication delays( his speech is about a 2 year old level , he is 5).

We are hoping Alvin can learn to walk nice and be trustworthy on lead while my son is walking with him on a buddy leash and handle( I will be his handler and have the main lead) . Alvin will also sleep with him ( kids with autism often have insomnia and wander at night ) . We also hope Alvin can learn to alert us if he is making a break for it .My son Oisin can unlock anything an adult can unlock..we have an alarm of course , but we as humans can forget to turn it on , plus we like a little fresh air through an open window every once in a while :) and Oisin can climb fences in the yard quite quickly! Not to mention when we visit friends it can be nerve wracking since they are not living under lockdown :eek: Scent work and herding would be a bonus if Alvin has the ability to learn it well .

We will be happy if we get the basics from Alvin , and we will take him as far as he can go in the service dog capacity . There is really no way to tell if a pup will cut the mustard ( though he shows great potential already ) . They are usually tested around 18 months after basic training ..so yes , we are rolling the dice . To aquire an already trained service dog costs between 10 to 15 thousand dollars . There are organizations that will provide one for little or no cost ..but , the dog is never really yours and there is a 2 year waiting list.

We are now training our 4 year old Boxer mix Bo to help with Oisin until Alvin can hopefully fill his shoes. Bo is a bit old to learn to "seek" , do scent work , or to alert if my son is trying to leave( we will try though!)..but he is a good partner on walks and frees up a hand . I also have a 6 year old girl and 2 year old son , so I need an extra hand when my husband is at work! All my family lives far or works long hours so I often do not go to parks and such with all 3 kids . Hoping Bo , and then Alvin , will help with that.

I have had GSDs in the past. I grew up with them , and loved them. They have always been my favorite breed. We are passionate about rescue too though..and a purebred pup like Alvin does not happen along very often. I am very happy we found each other , and grateful to the rescue. They are friends of mine and knew we were looking for a service dog candidate .

Oh , we also have a big English Mastiff named Greta. She had a hard life before we rescued her. She has some fear issues that are much improved but at estimated age 8 to 10 I doubt she'll ever totally get over it.Her joints are starting to go too :( She is my son's favorite dog , but she does not need any more jobs to do in life. She just gets love .

So , that is us. I will be posting a few questions here and there , as my title says..I'm a little puppy rusty . Most rescues are at least 10 months to a year ..so it has been years since I started this young!

I look forward to getting to know you all here , looks like a nice community!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Pictures :)



 

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:welcome: He's adorable! :wub:
 

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he is sooooooooo CUTE! (both of them are!!) and he looks like an "alvin" :)
 

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Oh my goodness! That's the sweetest thing I've ever seen! Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but welcome....That's so great! :D
 

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Thanks for resurrecting it !! I should have done updates anyway :)

Geez , time flies , Alvin is 11 months now. His best guestimate birthday by the vet is late Feb , early March so we split the difference and calling him a March 1st B.D .

He is doing great! A few weeks ago a sitter was watching all 3 kids for me and Oisin got away from him and went bolting down our dead end street , which empties onto a 2 lane 40 MPH road :O . Well , the sitter let Alvin out who was freaking that my son was running away ..he TOOK>HIM>OUT , and then sat and stayed with him until the sitter got everybody under control again.

Good dog!!!

Ok , the kid could have done without needing tissue glue on his forehead , but it is a heck of a lot better than being run over by a car.

Alvin sat with him after he knocked him down and continued to play with his flailing feet . Ok , so we need a little fine tuning on the herding of the kid..but he saved him and stayed with him! He can also find him easily playing hide and seek ( a drill we do ) . He tries to initiate play when my son stims out too..he does that naturally. Sometimes it works , sometimes it does not. But he tries.

The sleeping with the boy has been a bit of an issue. Since Alvin is still under a year he does not realize that snuffling his ear or rolling over on top of his boy wakes him up which is the opposite of what we want lol . Small beans though.

The only obstacle I see that needs working on is effusive greeting of other people and dogs. I can have him stay off lead and he will NOT go and greet a person ..but he is trembling with want and delight the whole time . When I do allow him to greet he is still big puppyish. But , at 11 months old it is hard to say if it is young dog eagerness or something we will have to work harder on.

Other than that , he is wonderful. Heels perfect , has a 100 percent track record for off lead hand signals for the last 3 weeks or so. We work on it a lot. He never bolts , even when he sees a rabbit. He drops and trembles , but wont break from my side unless I tell him to. We only practice off lead in safe spots. He will never be off lead by roads. Nice to know he is trustworthy though.

So , that is about it! Probably the best part is how my 7 year old typical/normal daughter is bonded with him and she has a great interest in handling and dog training now. If she sticks with it for Alvin for another year or two we may look into a nice WL for her to train and do sports with .

Thanks for bringing my thread back to life :) Doing an update was fun !
 

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That's one awesome dog! I am so glad your son is safe.

Wonderful photos, btw.


Thanks for resurrecting it !! I should have done updates anyway :)

Geez , time flies , Alvin is 11 months now. His best guestimate birthday by the vet is late Feb , early March so we split the difference and calling him a March 1st B.D .

He is doing great! A few weeks ago a sitter was watching all 3 kids for me and Oisin got away from him and went bolting down our dead end street , which empties onto a 2 lane 40 MPH road :O . Well , the sitter let Alvin out who was freaking that my son was running away ..he TOOK>HIM>OUT , and then sat and stayed with him until the sitter got everybody under control again.

Good dog!!!

Ok , the kid could have done without needing tissue glue on his forehead , but it is a heck of a lot better than being run over by a car.

Alvin sat with him after he knocked him down and continued to play with his flailing feet . Ok , so we need a little fine tuning on the herding of the kid..but he saved him and stayed with him! He can also find him easily playing hide and seek ( a drill we do ) . He tries to initiate play when my son stims out too..he does that naturally. Sometimes it works , sometimes it does not. But he tries.

The sleeping with the boy has been a bit of an issue. Since Alvin is still under a year he does not realize that snuffling his ear or rolling over on top of his boy wakes him up which is the opposite of what we want lol . Small beans though.

The only obstacle I see that needs working on is effusive greeting of other people and dogs. I can have him stay off lead and he will NOT go and greet a person ..but he is trembling with want and delight the whole time . When I do allow him to greet he is still big puppyish. But , at 11 months old it is hard to say if it is young dog eagerness or something we will have to work harder on.

Other than that , he is wonderful. Heels perfect , has a 100 percent track record for off lead hand signals for the last 3 weeks or so. We work on it a lot. He never bolts , even when he sees a rabbit. He drops and trembles , but wont break from my side unless I tell him to. We only practice off lead in safe spots. He will never be off lead by roads. Nice to know he is trustworthy though.

So , that is about it! Probably the best part is how my 7 year old typical/normal daughter is bonded with him and she has a great interest in handling and dog training now. If she sticks with it for Alvin for another year or two we may look into a nice WL for her to train and do sports with .

Thanks for bringing my thread back to life :) Doing an update was fun !
 
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