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Prospect Breeds

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Thank you everyone for the input! I will definitely consider a labrador although I have heard many times they are aggressive and since I have never owned one before, they are not my top choice.  I had read that shiloh shepherds were bred as service dogs but I am not sure if that is true. I didn't realize they were so big, either!

My doberman is very friendly to the right dog. I will most likely get a female puppy. He is friendly with females. He is only aggressive towards male dogs occasionally. Rarely while he is on leash and not usually at home. He just isn't a dog I would let off-leash with another male, though. He can also be separated from dogs at home.

I've never met an aggressive Lab in my life. Labs are the happiest, bubbliest, cheery dogs you will ever see in your life. They love people, they love dogs, they love kids, they love balls, they love running, they honestly just love life. And they are amazing psych dogs because of it. They don't get sucked into or feed into their handler's anxiety like Shepherds are prone to do. Those dogs are bred for service work. I don't think Shilohs are.

Some Shiloh Shepherd breeders breed their dogs to have characteristics of a service dog, but because they aren't even an official breed yet--no breed standard--they are a lot more unreliable than a Lab. I wouldn't recommend any type of Shepherd--even one bred for service dog work--for a psychiatric service dog. They would be much better suited for mobility or medical alert. But psych work? They would likely become stressed or protective with your anxiety or depression.

I've met aggressive labs but never one that was socialized and raised with enough human interaction.

Aggression is definitely NOT a common lab trait. I'm not sure who you heard that from, but labs are actually known for being happy-go-lucky, friendly, accepting, etc...

Of course, it's possible for labs to be aggressive. It's possible for ANY dog under the sun or moon to be aggressive. But it's a lot, a LOT less likely with a lab. They are predisposed towards cheerful, friendliness.

This is assuming that you adopt a well-bred one, though. I believe I've heard that there are some bad breeding lines of goldens that produce aggressive goldens? In any case, a mentally sound, well bred lab who was raised right should not come out aggressive.

While I've met a fair share of aggressive labs, all of those were not bred or raised well. If you find a breeder with the goals of breeding a mentally and physically sound dog, not a breeder who looks only for gun dog traits (some don't have a clear understanding of mental health with their dogs), you will find a quality Lab. There is nothing wrong with contacting a breeder and asking for a young adult who was returned or never adopted out. I'd pick a young adult over a puppy because the hard part is over and it's a clear yes or no if the dog is fit to be a prospect.

I've never met an aggressive Golden and I prefer them to Labs. My goldens had a wild child phase for about a year and after that they were the most gentle and eager to please dogs I've ever met. My next SD will most likely be a golden. Ive had 3 from puppy to adult as well as experience boarding and grooming even more. All were the biggest sweethearts. This is my personal preference and my experience has definitely shaped my fondness. I'm sure if I had the same experience with Labs I would feel the same way.

I also agree that guard or protection breeds are not for psych SD's nor the inexperienced. It is far too easy creating a wash out with a shepherd than it is with a retriever. Shepherds are reactive naturally and have been bred to do their own thing, like home defence without a handler around. Labs tend to want to please their person any given moment of the day and they tunnel vision onto you. You want that in a psych dog, and in an SD in general.


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