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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been researching and looking for breeders since the beginning of this year. Searching through hundreds of websites and trying my best to avoid any suspicious ones or any that seemed linked to puppy mills. I've done hours of researching the different lines, temperaments, behaviors, diets, pros and cons, but I'm burning myself out looking by myself. This is my first time looking into and getting a dog but I've done my homework. I'm really passionate about this breed too. I love everything about the personality of German shepherds. I'd just like a little more help and education from more experienced people out there.

I'm looking for a reputable breeder, obviously. I'm in the US, specifically the Arizona area. What complicates things a little is I need this puppy to become my psychiatric service dog that I will be training. So even temperaments and good nerves across the board. I realize it varies from dog to dog how they act and their different personalities. Of the different lines I find that the West German Working Line is closer to what I'm looking for but knowing that they're rarer I'd settle for a mixture of the working lines. But I'm not strictly set on that line. As long as I find a puppy with the proper attitude, personality, willingness to work, and temperament I couldn't care less which German line they're from. I'd like to avoid the American show line because of their bad traits. If there's any breeders who are having puppies at the end of this year or the beginning of next year that's all the better, although not a requirement. I'm willing to wait and find the right breeder and puppy for me. If you can help point me to the right person I'll appreciate it so much!
 

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Just bumping for you. I am in AZ, and don’t have a single good recommendation for you, other than to broaden your search area. Plenty of members here have knowledge of lines and what can be expected with certain breedings. Hopefully they can steer you in the right direction. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just bumping for you. I am in AZ, and don’t have a single good recommendation for you, other than to broaden your search area. Plenty of members here have knowledge of lines and what can be expected with certain breedings. Hopefully they can steer you in the right direction. Good luck!
Thank you! I'm not expecting to find a breeder in AZ. Anywhere in the US would do. Closer to me would be preferred but not a requirement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've been researching and looking for breeders since the beginning of this year. Searching through hundreds of websites and trying my best to avoid any suspicious ones or any that seemed linked to puppy mills. I've done hours of researching the different lines, temperaments, behaviors, diets, pros and cons, but I'm burning myself out looking by myself. This is my first time looking into and getting a dog but I've done my homework. I'm really passionate about this breed too. I love everything about the personality of German shepherds. I'd just like a little more help and education from more experienced people out there.

I'm looking for a reputable breeder, obviously. I'm in the US, specifically the Arizona area. What complicates things a little is I need this puppy to become my psychiatric service dog that I will be training. So even temperaments and good nerves across the board. I realize it varies from dog to dog how they act and their different personalities. Of the different lines I find that the West German Working Line is closer to what I'm looking for but knowing that they're rarer I'd settle for a mixture of the working lines. But I'm not strictly set on that line. As long as I find a puppy with the proper attitude, personality, willingness to work, and temperament I couldn't care less which German line they're from. I'd like to avoid the American show line because of their bad traits. If there's any breeders who are having puppies at the end of this year or the beginning of next year that's all the better, although not a requirement. I'm willing to wait and find the right breeder and puppy for me. If you can help point me to the right person I'll appreciate it so much!

I'll take any recommendations for breeders in the US. Although I'd prefer to be able to drive wherever a breeder is it's not a requirement. As long as their dogs and puppies are in good health that's all I care about.
 

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Bat, how active are you ? What specifically are you training for ? Psych service dog is pretty vague. Best advice I have is to find a breeder that specializes the type of service dog you are looking for. Good place to start researching is at local gsd clubs. Also, don't rule out American and German showlines if they have what you are looking for.
 

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I can't speak for a specific breeder in Arizona, sorry, but I can tell you how I handled my search.

I just recently finished my own service dog search. I had specific requirements I looked for from my initial breeder search. I will say these were my requirements and they don't have to be everyone's:

- a litter by litter listing of their puppies on their website or facebook, I could then know where their puppies went and how many went into service work
- live with and work their dogs, including holding back puppies from their own litters and breeding them (BHOT), this usually means the breeders don't breeder terribly often and are selective about where they place their puppies

I then contacted those breeders and explained my situation, several came back with advice (sometimes not what I was looking for). Several came back very hopeful that they could produce what I wanted out of a dog, none of them said they would definitely have a dog for me. You will need to be more specific in what actual tasks you want the dog to do for you.

Then I visited. A lot. Not necessarily their kennels (as my selected breeders' kennels are their homes as well), but their clubs. I visited clubs they didn't belong to. I watched their dogs work, even if it was Schutzhund and not service work. I met their dogs and the breeders were happy to show them off to me. I watched other dogs work. I went to clubs that had nothing to do with my breeder. I brought food (my own and food for them, think cookies) and prepared for a whole day of watching people work dogs. Schutzhund people know working line GSDs well. I talked to the club members, a lot. Club members have a lot to say, not just about the breeder and their dogs but also your goals. Just like on this forum, you won't hear everything you want. You'll have to filter.

I also looked up people on this forum that had contact with the breeder or had the breeder's dogs and PM'd them. Everyone I PM'D was very helpful to me (thank you).

I think this forum is a good start for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bat, how active are you ? What specifically are you training for ? Psych service dog is pretty vague. Best advice I have is to find a breeder that specializes the type of service dog you are looking for. Good place to start researching is at local gsd clubs. Also, don't rule out American and German showlines if they have what you are looking for.

I'm working on getting more active and being healthier in general. I know GSDs are very active. I'll be training this dog to help alert me before I have panic attacks wherever I am, get me to a safer place, and to motivate me to get out more to help with my depression. I'm not avoiding the show lines but from what I've seen on the American show lines is they tend to have bad hips and health from bad breeding. I could be completely wrong about them though so I won't be completely against any show line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Do you have previous GSD experience?
Unfortunately I don't have much personal experience with GSDs which I know is important. I'm planning on getting some experience before I'll get mine. I know they're extremely smart and fast learners. I've done tons of reading and watching videos about how they generally act and their personalities I know I love what I've seen about them. I'm not expecting perfect or anything.
 

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I'm working on getting more active and being healthier in general. I know GSDs are very active. I'll be training this dog to help alert me before I have panic attacks wherever I am, get me to a safer place, and to motivate me to get out more to help with my depression. I'm not avoiding the show lines but from what I've seen on the American show lines is they tend to have bad hips and health from bad breeding. I could be completely wrong about them though so I won't be completely against any show line.
.

Sounds like caradean has more info than I do. As stated, you will need to expand your search area. Depending on the tasks you need your service dog to preform, you also need to research trainers in your area.

I'm regards to ASL, there are some good lines out there. There are some breeders on this forum who might be able to help you or put you you in touch with breeders that have what you need.
 

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I'm not avoiding the show lines but from what I've seen on the American show lines is they tend to have bad hips and health from bad breeding. I could be completely wrong about them though so I won't be completely against any show line.
Have you ever been around ASLs? I wouldn’t dismiss a whole line, unless you spend some time with them. I think the bad hip thing stems from people assuming angulation means hip problems, which isn’t the case. I have American show lines. They aren’t unhealthy or have bad hips, or from bad breeding. Mine are actual show dogs. Good temperaments. Fun dogs.
 

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My GSD alerts me to anxiety attacks before I even know they are coming. But she isn’t trained for it, just so in tune with me that she senses when something is amiss. I wish they could talk so doctors can do better research on what causes it and what helps prevent it. I’ve been told by countless medical doctors and phycologists that anxiety attacks are all in my head, and aren’t an actual medical issue. If my dog can sense one before I can, surely I’m not making it all up in my own head.

Anyway, just another bump to help get more opinions for you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Have you ever been around ASLs? I wouldn’t dismiss a whole line, unless you spend some time with them. I think the bad hip thing stems from people assuming angulation means hip problems, which isn’t the case. I have American show lines. They aren’t unhealthy or have bad hips, or from bad breeding. Mine are actual show dogs. Good temperaments. Fun dogs.
I haven't had much personal experience with the breed which isn't ideal but I'm looking forward to meeting trainers and checking out GSD clubs and groups in my area. I really appreciate the education on ASLs. I didn't mean to completely dis them at all. Only the people who aren't carefully breeding them or any working dog of any breed. I know it's likely a minority of breeders who aren't as careful with health or genetics and inbreeding. I was only saying the limited knowledge I had on that specific line, since I've been looking more at the working lines, and to find out if they have genetic disorders more often or if it's a rarer thing. I'm very glad there are healthy ASLs. All GSDs are beautiful and have different strengths to fit their lines of work be it in the show ring, working alongside an owner or a family dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My GSD alerts me to anxiety attacks before I even know they are coming. But she isn’t trained for it, just so in tune with me that she senses when something is amiss. I wish they could talk so doctors can do better research on what causes it and what helps prevent it. I’ve been told by countless medical doctors and phycologists that anxiety attacks are all in my head, and aren’t an actual medical issue. If my dog can sense one before I can, surely I’m not making it all up in my own head.

Anyway, just another bump to help get more opinions for you!

I know that they're unusually intuitive when it comes to their owners. Anxiety attacks are never just in your head. It takes over and overwhelms you. You might be the only one feeling it in that moment but it's a very real reaction. I wish more people and even professional psychologists and therapists took it more seriously. I'm very happy that your dog can sense when your anxiety is getting to be too much. It just puts a smile on my face. I love how smart they are. Thank you!
 

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I honestly would not recommend this breed for most psych service dog jobs. They can be TOO empathic about emotional states and a dog being freaked out when you are freaked out and trying to do appeasement behaviors is mistaken for the dog "helping" with these things sometimes.

These dogs need strong leaders and it takes a real gem of a GSD to help their freaked out owner in a crowd of people who is not being a leader at that time and maintain themselves and their job. They are out there, I was lucky enough to be partnered with one, but I don't think the right dog is easy to find.

Raising your own prospect puppy and owner training your own dog is hard...you have to pound the pavement and do all the socialization/exposure outings, and you have to do it without having a panic attacking and freaking out your baby puppy who is in no way equipped to deal with the world without a confident leader. Basically you have to protect your puppy from being impacted by your disability in a negative way until they are much more mature and able to deal and help.

Raising your fist GSD puppy can be really hard even if just a pet, read the forums...

Combine all those things together and it's just a lot harder than it needs to be. If you were my friend and you said all this to me over coffee I'd tell you I really think you should get an English lab instead.

For the record...none of this is in any way judgemental of anybody with anxiety, I have PTSD and TBI and have owner trained 3 dogs. A GSD who made it, a GSD who didn't, and a lab who is almost there.

My advice is make it easier on yourself, get an easier breed that you are more likely to succeed with.


So I'm speaking from my experience of how I see dogs responding to things and my experience in raising and training dogs for similar work.

My first SD was a working line GSD and besides working every day in harness for her job, she also needed hikes, fetch, tug, and playing with other dogs sometimes to be physically satisfied. I was able to provide her with all of that and we had tons of fun together. But you have to be really realistic about what you are able to do.
 

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Also my first SD, a gsd, came from a breeder that had a relationship wih the program that was helping me. They had worked with her dogs and really knew what they were getting for me. And she was all that and a bag of chips.

She also was not my first GSD, second as an adult.

And she went to a puppy raiser provided by the program for 6 months so she was not a baby baby when we first lived together. I was able to go to classes with her weekly so I had a relationship with her and was involved in training her but all her exposure at that time was not done by me which was much better for her

If memory serves she was 9 months when she moved in with me. We had some delays due to weather trying to ship her from the breeder, and I think she was 3 months when we finally got her shipped, 6 months with puppy raiser, and I got her on weekends sometimes when puppy raiser was competing, and then she moved in with me and I finished public manners and started task training at some point after a year. We were team certified when she was 2, after a little over a year working together with supervision of the program
 

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I honestly would not recommend this breed for most psych service dog jobs. They can be TOO empathic about emotional states and a dog being freaked out when you are freaked out and trying to do appeasement behaviors is mistaken for the dog "helping" with these things sometimes.

These dogs need strong leaders and it takes a real gem of a GSD to help their freaked out owner in a crowd of people who is not being a leader at that time and maintain themselves and their job. They are out there, I was lucky enough to be partnered with one, but I don't think the right dog is easy to find.

Raising your own prospect puppy and owner training your own dog is hard...you have to pound the pavement and do all the socialization/exposure outings, and you have to do it without having a panic attacking and freaking out your baby puppy who is in no way equipped to deal with the world without a confident leader. Basically you have to protect your puppy from being impacted by your disability in a negative way until they are much more mature and able to deal and help.

Raising your fist GSD puppy can be really hard even if just a pet, read the forums...

Combine all those things together and it's just a lot harder than it needs to be. If you were my friend and you said all this to me over coffee I'd tell you I really think you should get an English lab instead.

For the record...none of this is in any way judgemental of anybody with anxiety, I have PTSD and TBI and have owner trained 3 dogs. A GSD who made it, a GSD who didn't, and a lab who is almost there.

My advice is make it easier on yourself, get an easier breed that you are more likely to succeed with.


So I'm speaking from my experience of how I see dogs responding to things and my experience in raising and training dogs for similar work.

My first SD was a working line GSD and besides working every day in harness for her job, she also needed hikes, fetch, tug, and playing with other dogs sometimes to be physically satisfied. I was able to provide her with all of that and we had tons of fun together. But you have to be really realistic about what you are able to do.
This ^ is great advice. I didn’t mention in my reply (forget not everyone knows my back story here) that my GSD that alerts was a rescue at 4yrs of age. I didn’t have a puppy to raise with the stress of socialization. I also rarely leave my house, so there’s that too. I’m also looking into SD’s for mobility, grabbing dropped items, retrieving things for me due to a spinal injury and surgery, and as much as I truly dislike labs, I know that’s probably my best option SD wise. That’s where all my research is heading now, but I am opting for an older trained SD, I don’t have the time or energy to train another pup.

I will say, when Lyka alerts me to an anxiety attack if we are out on a walk(DH handling her), she gets very very alert and aggressive towards the other dogs, and strangers if they are around. She’s super helpful indoors, outdoors it’s a nightmare, so most times I let DH take her out for her walks without me now. They are naturally protective breeds, and when I go downhill, she counters that with aggression. She doesn’t attack anyone or the other dogs, she has excellent bite inhibition, but it’s not something that makes it easier to not react with more stress and then more anxiety on my part.

For the record, I’ve never had a SD, never trained one, and am in NO WAY an expert. I’m sure people have had success with the breed as a SD, but I wouldn’t recommend it, even for myself, and I love the breed and strongly dislike labs.
 

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Haha, I didn't mean to say "panic attacking"...but it is an interesting play on words.

JChrest I think your description of your dog getting aggressive when you are freaked out is another major concern with GSDs. I think sometimes they may not know the threat is in our heads and look for it externally.

GSDs wash for protective behavior for disabled ppl who don't have anxiety all the time. So again, just kind of stacking the odds against yourself.

I didn't want a lab either but as I've said before, now that he is here I think he is perfect.

Anybody lucky enough to find a working partner as good as my first one....I'm jealous...she was one in a million. There is no better dog than a great GSD.

Just from a numbers standpoint, maybe not the best choice for a situation like this. I was really lucky the first time around...both the program and the breeder are no longer doing that anymore, I think the breeder is deceased. The trainer dissolved her SD program which is a shame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I honestly would not recommend this breed for most psych service dog jobs. They can be TOO empathic about emotional states and a dog being freaked out when you are freaked out and trying to do appeasement behaviors is mistaken for the dog "helping" with these things sometimes.

These dogs need strong leaders and it takes a real gem of a GSD to help their freaked out owner in a crowd of people who is not being a leader at that time and maintain themselves and their job. They are out there, I was lucky enough to be partnered with one, but I don't think the right dog is easy to find.

Raising your own prospect puppy and owner training your own dog is hard...you have to pound the pavement and do all the socialization/exposure outings, and you have to do it without having a panic attacking and freaking out your baby puppy who is in no way equipped to deal with the world without a confident leader. Basically you have to protect your puppy from being impacted by your disability in a negative way until they are much more mature and able to deal and help.

Raising your fist GSD puppy can be really hard even if just a pet, read the forums...

Combine all those things together and it's just a lot harder than it needs to be. If you were my friend and you said all this to me over coffee I'd tell you I really think you should get an English lab instead.

For the record...none of this is in any way judgemental of anybody with anxiety, I have PTSD and TBI and have owner trained 3 dogs. A GSD who made it, a GSD who didn't, and a lab who is almost there.

My advice is make it easier on yourself, get an easier breed that you are more likely to succeed with.


So I'm speaking from my experience of how I see dogs responding to things and my experience in raising and training dogs for similar work.

My first SD was a working line GSD and besides working every day in harness for her job, she also needed hikes, fetch, tug, and playing with other dogs sometimes to be physically satisfied. I was able to provide her with all of that and we had tons of fun together. But you have to be really realistic about what you are able to do.


I don't have debilitating anxiety absolutely all the time. It's usually situational. I'll probably get into a program to help me out since I know I'm not an expert and to help correctly train and socialize the dog. I know exercise is very important as well. Around where I am we have lots of dog owners and a few parks I could go to for that sort of stuff. I believe in my ability to be a leader for this dog. I already set boundaries for people and I'm stubborn to keep them. I know that a GSD isn't exactly a perfect idea for a service prospect for the defensive reasons. If the dog I get doesn't pass as a service dog it'd be disappointing but not the end of the world. I still want to try to find the right puppy for the job and try making it work if possible. I realize it's not easy. Worst comes to worst I'll have them as a pet which isn't bad.
 
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