Author Topic: Potential breeds??  (Read 291 times)

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Offline goatchild

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Potential breeds??
« on: February 07, 2018, 08:05:19 PM »
I'm new here and I swear it's not a lie, but every golden retriever and lab I've met I've been allergic to. No other dog breeds, just those two.
If that weren't an issue i don't feel I'd have to ask this at all. I'd love to go with a lab or retriever, but I just can't.

I'm going to train a dog for psychiatric disabilities, PTSD, anxiety, and depression that I've had well over half my life. And while I can see some good pros of smaller dogs, That's not really a good idea for me either because I have back/leg problems that when aggravated enough will leave me with back spasms that can last a week or so where i can't really bend over without serious pain. I personally only really have experience with herding dogs currently, mostly Australian shepherds, but i did live with a corgi for over a year.

At first after researching, I assumed a rough or smooth collie would be great in just about all aspects, but I don't really have anyone to argue with me or input any info. My fiance couldn't care less (frustrating, but I don't care. She's not against it and that's what matters. she wants me to get better and if this will help she's all for it, but she's definitely getting tired of me talking through things.) and my therapist is not the most knowledgeable, just knows that this sounds like a great idea given my bond/ability to connect with animals and inability to find other things to help me as much as i need, many medications don't work for me, likely due to a genetic thing(hospitals actually freak me out because of this, they don't ever believe me and give me useless medicine. for example; morphine does not affect me, or at least not nearly as much as it does most people. and the same goes for much of my family).

I definitely need to think of other breeds though, I've contacted a collie breeder and I don't suspect I'll get any response, it's been weeks already. I'm only 20 right now, I live in an apartment(pet friendly, even), and I've never personally gotten a dog before. And I'm pretty sure they saw my age and that I need a dog for a psychiatric disability and no longer wanted to reply. Which is a shame, considering other breeders recommended me to go contact them.
I'd initially been interested in Aussies, but I've heard that they're no good for psychiatric work because they can be too in tune to their handlers emotions, but I keep hearing otherwise back and forth, so I'm not really sure. While they're one of my favorite dog breeds I absolutely understand if it wouldn't be a good idea. It's not like I'll be wanting to train a dog to do DPT or anything, more just alerting me when I start panicking as I simply cannot tell it's happening until quite a while into it. once I figure out I'm panicking I can generally solve it pretty well, but I'm near constantly dissociating horribly when I'm out of my house.

Also, I don't have the biggest problem with poodles, but they really freak out my father so I'd rather not deal with that if another breed would work. But that doesn't mean I won't get a poodle if it is the best option.

So really I guess I really need help figuring out other possible breeds that aren't small, can do okay in an apartment, and would be okay for a first time dog owner (although I'll definitely be getting help from a trainer).  lots of fur/shedding/grooming isn't a problem either, I'd be alright dealing with that. Also, If it's important to note, I love going for really long walks(hours long walks) and walking on trails, so the exercise thing shouldn't be a huge deal.
I'm really bad at communicating in general so hopefully this wasn't too painful too read.

Offline SandyStern

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Re: Potential breeds??
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2018, 05:21:54 AM »

I'm sure other members will give you specific advice. I can't help much because I have no personal experience in breed choice.

I do have one piece of advice for you: take a minute to think about whether a smaller breed could work for you if it were properly trained. Hearing dogs are often small because the high energy is useful in alerting to sound. For people who cannot bend down, the dogs are trained to use a ramp to get to a grooming table for putting on the gear, trimming nails, grooming, etc.

I have to use a large breed for mobility work, but I wish he could be smaller. If you end up with a working service dog, you'll need to fit the dog into small spaces. Having a large dog opens up my ability to get out and about, but in that respect, it can restrict my activities. Even a trip to a clothing store is tricky. I have to be aware of my dog's whole body so he does not accidentally bump his hindquarters into a rack on the left when taking a right turn. Think of those diagrams about buses turning.

Offline Ariel

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Re: Potential breeds??
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 07:55:42 AM »
I don't have time to respond at the moment before running out of the house but wanted to drop in to say hi and welcome to SDC!
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Offline KellyColleen

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Re: Potential breeds??
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2018, 02:43:30 PM »
Hi and welcome!

I hope you find a good atmosphere here and enjoy the experience.

As for breed choices, the only advice I have is not to choose and Aussie they are notoriously hard to train as SD's, according to my trainers. I currently have an Aussie as my pet dog, she is almost 12 and still acts like a puppy. Aussies are super energetic with a high drive and need constant exercise and stimulation or they get bored and can become disruptive. Since they are herding animals they tend to be very active and alert, which is great for certain SD tasks, but bad for the day to day calm needed while in a school or work setting.

If you have allergy problems, have you thought about a poodle or a poodle mix? Just some food for thought.

Offline mommagrizzly

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Re: Potential breeds??
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2018, 04:23:07 PM »
Have the labs and goldens you have been around kept well groomed? Like regular baths and brushing? That can make a difference.
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Offline goatchild

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Re: Potential breeds??
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2018, 10:19:16 PM »
Thanks for the welcome c:

It's not really just trying to bend down to groom/put gear on a smaller dog, I can probably do that sitting on the floor, more that it'd be pretty important to teach the dog to retrieve items as well, for the times i'm mostly incapable of bending(I can completely sit down on the floor just fine, but I risk injury when bending, often when lifting/holding things. even when they're not particularly heavy. which is frustrating,I can easily lift at least 60 pounds as long as I'm lifting from waist level on up, if i don't bend. I bent a bit once, holding up a piece of a cage that could not be more than 5 pounds for about 10 minutes or so and that threw out my back for 4 days or so, I still haven't quite figured out my limits, and it doesn't help that they keep changing the longer it goes on). Otherwise, the smaller size would be wonderful, I do worry about the space issues, but i'm sure I'll find a way to manage.

Oh, I guess I haven't considered that the dogs could have been not well groomed. I know 2 that definitely weren't well taken care of, but the others I was pretty sure were well taken care of. I honestly couldn't say for sure how well though. I wonder if it'd be too weird to ask a local breeder if I could meet with some dogs to see if I react badly to them. I'd assume that'd clear things up for good.

And I have considered a poodle, I'm just concerned about it freaking out my father, they're the one kind of dog he doesn't like. In the end, if a poodle is the best way to go, I'll go for a poodle, I'm not that picky and he'd get over it with time(probably quicker than I think, even). It probably sounds stupid. It kind of is, honestly, but I figured I'd see if there were any other ways I could go before I resorted to a poodle. I'm probably overthinking things, really. I guess I really just want to be sure I have options if I keep getting rejected by breeders.

Offline Solace

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Re: Potential breeds??
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2018, 11:01:17 PM »
You don't sound stupid.  I didn't want a lab, or a golden, or a poodle, and I was concerned about not upsetting my father!  There are a lot of things to consider.  It's good that you're really thinking things out.

Offline Moonsong

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Re: Potential breeds??
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 10:06:31 AM »
I agree with Solace. It isn't stupid to have feelings/preferences, and it takes a good while to figure out how to balance your preferences with your needs. It's a whole new skillset to have to learn, really, as most people have never needed anything out of a dog other than for it to be easily manageable (i.e. not reactive/aggressive or high energy or high drive), and other than that they can go solely off of preference. But for advanced working dogs, preference does need to take a backseat, and we need to learn how to really identify what's truly make-or-break criteria and what is just preference.

We had a thread on this recently, and Kirsten made a good point. If it was a choice between this dog and no service dog, what criteria would have to be present or else you would skip out on the dog entirely?

For example - I likely will never be able to own a lab due to sensory issues. I would have to spend some time with an adult lab to test this out, but based off of my experiences and knowledge, I have a feeling that I would not be able to own one. Interact with them from time to time, but I would not be able to own them. Having a fur style that will not trigger my sensory issues is a make-or-break criteria for me, because I simply cannot live with a dog who will literally exacerbate one of my disabling symptoms.
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Offline goatchild

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Re: Potential breeds??
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2018, 06:16:46 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, It really has felt pretty stupid. When I first started looking, I figured I'd be good with anything but a poodle.
Mostly because of the fur, I thought the odd texture would be too much(no concern about the grooming, I'm actually aiming to be a pet groomer, so that's no big deal) but I thought it'd make some sensory issues worse, where I know straight fur at different lengths were fine, from my past pets. Although I had somewhat recently gotten a pet rat with a rex coat, which was actually weirdly great for just putting me more at ease when I was dissociating at home recently. It's an odd texture for sure, but that made it way easier to try to refocus myself. I'd assumed it's make things worse, push me over to the point of sensory overload, but it didn't happen and it was a pleasant surprise. Silly me, overthinking.
(I just so happened to have him out of his cage with me at the time, otherwise I'd likely have not figured out about this, I'd have likely stared at the wall for a couple hours or something, honestly. Luckily he's a major attention seeker and needs attention at all times he's not asleep.)

Honestly, The most important things would definitely be size, and probably not the highest energy dog. I can certainly deal with a good amount of energy, but I have my off weeks when i throw out my back unexpectedly. I've gotten better at avoiding it with a number of things, but the fact remains, it happens and it's likely to continue getting worse with age. I don't expect it to get in the way of regular walk/jogs for the most part though, I've worked through the worst of it out of desperation to keep a terrible job, I can walk for a shorter time than I worked for something I enjoy. Even on my bad days I make sure to make time for my ferret to be out and about, although I know they're not particularly similar, she's tiny but has pretty limitless energy. She keeps me on my toes, and I appreciate it, annoying at times of course, but as a whole, good.

I'd consider a smaller dog, I've actually considered a corgi as I have done some training and lived with one, but I'd need to train item retrieval and they need to be able to reach my hands. I worry if I get a smaller dog, and if they had to do that, standing on their hind legs and such, could cause them health problems in the long run.

I certainly would need a dog with a lower prey drive, that's actually rather important as I do have a ferret and some rats(my fiance and I get re-homed rats from people who know how we take care of our pets. Mostly ones unadoptable for one reason or another, health wise or personality.) My ferret is only 2 and I'd never re-home her. She actually loves being around dogs as we used to live with a corgi, and she gets very excited when she hears barking. If I'd have to keep my dog away from her, I could she actually has a whole room that she can roam in freely that I can shut off from the rest of the apartment, but there's always a possibility she, or a rat, could escape their cage and I don't want that to end terribly. Especially since Clarice is a dummy and has never been in danger. In true ferret fashion, everything is a game. I don't trust her to get away from a bad situation on time. Again, not that I'd let them interact if I'm concerned the dog has a high prey drive, but things happen sometimes.

So, in short; large enough to reach my hands easily, a limit to their energy, and lower prey drive.
I'll definitely be seeing a trainer regardless of how trainable the dog is, even if i somehow end up with the most eager, easily trained dog in the world, I'm still getting help. I've seen far too many people get a puppy and find themselves unable to train and socialize it properly and have to attempt to re-home the poor things.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Potential breeds??
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2018, 07:25:12 PM »
Herding breeds depend on prey drive for herding instinct.  That would include most corgis.  Prey drive is desire to chase.  Desire to kill is or can be separate from prey drive.  You see it strongest I suppose in terriers.

My dog Tardis has decent prey drive.  He'll certainly drop everything and chase a squirrel that bounds by.  But at the same time he's extremely gentle with small animals and picks up baby birds that have fallen from the nest so gently and carefully.  His half sister, on the other hand, would kill a cat in a heartbeat if given the chance.

I had Tardis "cat scanned" before I took him home.  The breeder put him in with a cat to see his reaction and he figured the cat was another puppy.  So test any dog you are interested in before taking it home and then never leave the dog unsupervised with your other pets.
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