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Prospect Breeds

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holladogs:
So I am currently thinking about not having the prospect I got do service work. He is definitely not fit. He is extremely unmotivated, his hips don't seem good, he has a huge fear of strangers, etc. If I do decide to stop him from service work, he will probably be kept as my mom's pet or rehomed. Now I am thinking of different service dog breeds. The reason I went with a rescue dog is because he was cheaper, had all his health stuff done and he seemed like a good prospect. The shelter told us AFTER we adopted him and after the week span we could return him, that they think his past-owners abused him.

I am now looking for a breeder dog. They will need to be at least 19 inches and 40+ lb. I am looking for a breed that is calm, eager to please, easy to train and friendly towards practically everyone and everything. It cannot be extremely large and the less shedding - the better. I would like a dog that lacks a crazy prey drive and is not super high energy. Much like my american line doberman - he is able to lounge around the house with occasional games of fetch and tug of war. He would also be content with a two hour long hike. That would be my ideal dog. I want a dog that is not crazy active but also able to do stuff that requires energy without getting tired out easily. I want a dog that is not prone to any sort of aggression. That also is not usually protective or emotionally sensitive. Here are a list of a few tasks I will need.

- interrupting skin picking
- guiding to person, place, thing
- block/cover
- grounding (keeping me from dissociating, snapping me out of a panic attack, etc)

Here are my current breed ideas :

- golden retriever
- shiloh shepherd
- labrador retriever

If you have any other breed ideas, please let me know.

Summertime.and.Azkaban:
Shilohs came out of GSDs right? I'd avoid them, especially since they're not a recognized breed yet.

Go with a lab. Labs are less likely to feed into anxiety than softer goldens.

mommagrizzly:
I 2nd going with a Lab. I think that will probably be your best bet.

Moonsong:
A lab is going to be your best bet.

Goldens are good too.

I would not suggest a shiloh shepherd. Aren't those a giant breed? Here are some pictures for comparison:
http://www.kokopelli-shepherds.com/Kokopelli-Shepherds/Shiloh_vs_GSD_files/shapeimage_2.png
http://www.kokopelli-shepherds.com/Kokopelli-Shepherds/Shiloh_vs_GSD_files/Media/Bria_Quinn2/thumb.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Z495kKpzLko/ULEHztwfRSI/AAAAAAAABq8/rBU1w77Lr2g/s1600/shiloh_shepherd.jpg

Their life spans are also supposedly only, like, nine years or so.

Thing is, you don't have a lot of guarantees with these guys since they aren't an official/established breed. Those coats would probably need a LOT of grooming to fight off mats, too.

Also, when you have psych issues, it's best to get a breed that wasn't bred for protection, such as retrievers. GSDs, Dobermans, Rottweilers, and bully breeds, while great dogs, aren't the best choice for psych work. Since the Shiloh Shepherd came from GSDs, I imagine that they are along the same lines.



But let's look at a lab for you.

Labs are a very well established breed, so it's easier to find good, responsible breeders. I don't say this as in there are more responsible breeders, but in that there are a lot more breeders period, meaning that they're sort of a 'readily available' breed. You'd still have to find the good breeder among the bad ones, though, so keep that in mind. And since the lab is well established, you know what health issues to look out for, what behavior/temperament to generally expect, etc. Though every lab will be different, you can look at their pedigrees to get an idea of what your pup will likely be. This also helps you find a responsible breeder.

The average size of a lab I believe is about 55-80 pounds, and for height the average I believe is about 22-24 inches.

They aren't always calm, but if you meet their needs and train them to settle they can calm down. They are extremely eager to please and friendly, though.

Regular grooming will decrease shedding amount in any dog, and I don't believe that labs are super heavy shedders to begin with, though someone correct me if I'm wrong.

The right lab (perhaps a line bred specifically for service work) will be just like your Doberman; they prefer exercise every day but are okay to potato on the couch with you and miss their exercise here and there. These are dogs who CAN miss a day or two of exercise, but ideally are exercised everyday.

I'm pretty sure they don't generally have prey drive. They have some birdiness, I think, being water retrievers, but I think that's more of a chase thing than an actual hunting thing. Someone else can give you better information here as I'm not 100% certain on the exact definition of 'prey drive'.

Labs are not generally aggressive and were not bred for protection. They are extremely happy-go-lucky dogs and shouldn't get pulled into your anxiety.

They should be able to do each of the tasks you listed (though bear in mind that grounding is not a task).



So yeah, to summarize - a lab will be your best bet. There's a reason that they're the most common type of service dog :biggrin:

I remember that someone on here wanted to start a saying in the SD community, which I agree with: "There's a lab for that". Seriously.

Punktestern:
Have you given any more thought to how you are going to manage your Dobe with a new prospect puppy? With a reactive dog in the house, even if you get a breed that's not prone to reactivity, you could end up causing it in your pup if you're not careful.

That being said, labs and goldens are probably hands-down the best choice to start with in most cases.

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