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Discussion Starter #41
I saw a chocolate lab/dane cross at Petsmart today. I was sooooo tempted. He was gorgeous, super friendly, and larger than any of my dogs at a year old. I resigned myself in though. The shelter manager that completed our paperwork from foster to permanent was there, and we had Floki with us. She tried talking me into the lab\dane mix when I told her we were going to have Floki evaluated to see if he would have a chance at being a service dog, and she couldn’t stop singing this dogs praise. Everyone tell me I’m crazy now and not to even think of it.!!!!!!!!
 

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I would see if you have a dog already that you can train. It would make life easier. English labs are mellow. I thought they were all super crazed hyper dogs until I met some really nicely bred English labs. They are very solid stocky dogs also. I do see many gsds as service dogs on Instagram there are quite a lot but I can understand the challenge of finding the right gsd although I can’t think of a breed more in tune to their handler and some more then others. I was having a coughing fit the other day with Max coming right in checking on me.
 

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Since you asked for reinforcement, I’m happy to oblige: don’t do it! And kudos for holding yourself back. What I would do if in your shoes is start saving big time for an already trained service dog. It’s the only way you are going to be sure that the dog fits your needs and your pack/lifestyle. Imho, your anticipated future needs are too important to be fiddling around with impulse wants of an adorable maybe.

My thoughts have been with you and lots of good wishes with this new endeavor.
 

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You might consider a collie. Smooth or rough depending on how much grooming you'd be up to! They have some of the traits as a German shepherd, a collie is the next dog I plan to have partly because of that! I've seen a website for mobility/service collies, But from a good breeder you may find a good candidate.
Rough collies require a tremendous amount of grooming. NOPE NOPE NOPE!! Unless you can afford to take the dog to be groomed professionally, NOT a good choice!

I have two really bad horror stories, both involving collies from my days running the kennel...:sick: One involved maggots.

These dogs are BRED to have a really excessive amount of coat, just for the show ring, and pretty much all working instinct has been bred out of them. The amount of inbreeding that has gone into these dogs is really over the top, too, and an extremely high percentage of them have eye problems due to this (collie eye).

I also have some experience with the Shilohs. A high percentage of them have spooky, shy temperaments. I had heard stories of these incredible Shiloh service dogs, so I bought one that was closely related to a SD, and wound up rehoming her because she was so very, very timid. :crying: The timidity didn't show up when she was a pup, either. She passed her puppy evaluation with flying colours!
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Since you asked for reinforcement, I’m happy to oblige: don’t do it! And kudos for holding yourself back. What I would do if in your shoes is start saving big time for an already trained service dog. It’s the only way you are going to be sure that the dog fits your needs and your pack/lifestyle. Imho, your anticipated future needs are too important to be fiddling around with impulse wants of an adorable maybe.

My thoughts have been with you and lots of good wishes with this new endeavor.
Exactly what I needed, thank you! I was pondering it when I couldn’t sleep last night. I had to give myself a good mental slap. I’m a sucker for a dog in need, and I could tell this dog would be too much for the average owner, and would likely be a multiple home, frequent return to the shelter type. But I’m just not in the physical state to handle that either. I’m trying hard to get used to my limitations, it’s so difficult getting my mentality switched to “It may have been a cake walk before, but now it’s a hurdle.” This would have been a cherry pick dog before my accident and surgery, but now, it would be a physical nightmare.

I’m working on the info David provided, and looking into the classes they offer in Phoenix for service dog training. It will give me a good idea on what to expect, what my limitations will be and how a mobility dog will help. They offer one week trial courses, and the girls are coming up on a week break from school, so we’ll make a semi vacation out of it. I have a long time family friend that lives there, he already said we can all stay at his place, dogs included, so we just have to rent a large van for the trip.
 

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Owner training a young adult that has been through a puppy raising program is what I would recommend. Almost none of the training will be physically demanding. Usually you will just be task training and teaching the dog the vocabulary of your home. I would use marker training for everything.

Your mobility tasks, such as bracing and pulling, can be trained incrementally after you get the proper harness.

If you go with a completely green dog, that is adolescent or older, training will begin with socialization and basis OB, which requires a lot of work.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Owner training a young adult that has been through a puppy raising program is what I would recommend. Almost none of the training will be physically demanding. Usually you will just be task training and teaching the dog the vocabulary of your home. I would use marker training for everything.

Your mobility tasks, such as bracing and pulling, can be trained incrementally after you get the proper harness.

If you go with a completely green dog, that is adolescent or older, training will begin with socialization and basis OB, which requires a lot of work.
That’s what I’m leaning towards. I’m taking the class to see the different methods used, as I don’t have those skills in my pocket. I’ve been slowing working things in with the pack just to make life easier, like having them put their toys back themselves instead of bringing them to me when play time is over, opening the fridge and doors, but have no clue on how to train for specifics. Like get me the phone, or remote, or anything named other than fridge or door. 3 of the 4 have soft mouths when needed, so I can have them pick things up for me without them destroying it in the process, but that’s about the limit of my training skills at this point. Seeing how others train for things I’ll need, with an already started older dog would be wonderful and what we are working on. My only concern is how my current pack will react to another addition. 2 females, 2 males. Any thoughts on which sex would be easier to add? My males are much more submissive than the females.
 

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I know I’m coming in here late, but unless you have experience training dogs (without harsh corrections) and a good trainer/support group, I would recommend an agency- trained dog.

If you’re a self-trainer, at the very least, I recommend:

Start with an adult dog that you can test hips and elbows. Adults also have established temperaments that you can evaluate. Puppies are a crapshoot.

Get dialed into trainers now. You need an obedience trainer AND a service dog trainer. Many people who call themselves service dog trainers are pretty scammy. You want to attend obedience classes as an observer. (They shouldn’t charge you to do this) You shouldn’t see corrections used. Learn clicker training now so you can watch trainers With an educated eye. (Pat Miller is a good resource.)

Teamwork and Teamwork II books and DVDs (both) will help you understand how Obedience and tasks for service dogs are trained. Many “service dog” training books are pretty useless. These two are good ( they don’t use clicker training, but the trainers are PWD, so you can see how it’s actually done).

GSDs can make good service dogs if you’re fortunate enough to land one with the proper temperament and solid health. (although, yes, they’re long and can be big, so we have to train them to curl up, and either pray our seat mate is super accommodating, buy them their own seats on Planes, or we leave them home).

Proper temperament and solid health are not as easy as they sound. I’m training my 3rd SD. My second had to be retired extremely early for health, after I invested a lot of time and energy into him though.

This round, I have a breeder who is standing behind me if anything doesn’t work out.

I’ have to build up a rock solid retrieve, and let me tell you, a retriever is easier. Don’t forget, it’s not just retrieving, but also the soft mouth. I have specific reasons why I think a GSD is The most suitable breed for my SD, but it’s not for many PWD.

(Quickly as an aside, I’d be cautious with guard dogs, particularly Danes if you’re self-training Unless you have time, energy and excellent trainers. You can’t have a guardy service dog, even just at home. If you need emergency care, that dog may prevent EMTs from approaching you.)

Is it possible to self train a service dog? Sure. Is it a ton of work? Sure. I get up every day, planning several short obedience sessions, a short task session, daily exercise session split into two, at least one public training session, usually two, so, for example, the outside mall that allows dogs and then the playground area at the park where children play. Plus, working with my trainer, and classes.

And all training should be logged.

Also, service dogs have to be immaculate, so we wash them often (weekly or so). I rake & brush mine out before I leave the house, taking particular care if I’m going to a restaurant, grocery store, any healthcare facility. People don’t want dog fur in their soufflé!

That’s daily. I’m self employed, so other than keeping everything straight, it’s manageable usually.

But my disability usually doesn’t prevent me from sticking to the schedule too.

Agency dogs may be expensive, although some agencies don’t charge at all. Self-trained dogs always cost quite a bit of money. I have gear that’s handed down from one dog to the next, but most of my expenses like food, Training, insurance, maintenance vet care, are unique to that individual dog.

It’s a lot to think about. I’m glad you have time to research your options. I’m sorry you’re in this situation.

I wish you the best. ❤
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(Typed on my phone so please excuse all the typos! )
 
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