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Old 02-21-2013, 12:48 PM
BriannaLeigh92 BriannaLeigh92 is offline
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Exclamation Do breeders donate dogs to people looking for service dogs?

I am looking for a psychiatric service dog, and I am going to be having one of my own dogs evaluated for the position, but if she does not qualify (which wouldn't surprise me if she didn't because she has ADD)...I am wondering if breeders or organizations donate dogs to people that need a service dog, so that they only have to worry about paying the cost of the training?

I have heard a few stories of this happening, so I am just wondering if this actually happens...
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:59 PM
Kilter Kilter is offline
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I would have a few concerns. For one, if I donate a dog and it fails, what happens to it? Do I get it back, is it kept as a pet, or?

Who is doing the training and how well of a job can they do, what are the methods and success rates? What is the dog going to be used for and how much work, what type of work....

The cost of a dog is much, much less in general than the training, at least it seems to be here where they estimate a guide dog to be worth tens of thousands by the time it's finished training. Even if a pup is $2,000, that's a huge difference.

It might be more worthwhile to find someone who does the type of training you need and go from there, they may have contacts. And depending on what you need, there may be some great dogs in rescue that would fit the bill. We had a pregnant foster who was lovely as far as temperament and such went, good with everything, calm, sweet, young but not crazy. Ready for more formal training and moved in with a family and slept on the bed from the first night.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:15 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Some breeders will, but if they're going to donate it's much more likely they will donate to a program instead of an individual.

I got my service dog from a breeder, and I paid for him. The breeder still had costs associated with producing high-quality dogs, so I wouldn't expect a breeder to give me a dog for nothing. The price of the dog is just a fraction of a cost of the price of training. If you can't afford $800-$1200 for a dog, you probably can't afford $10,000-$20,000+ to train it.

This is another reason why going with a program is a good idea. Most programs charge less than $5,000 for a fully trained service dog. Some are even free.

The problem with rescues is that by the time you factor in not just temperament and behavior but also health, very few dogs in shelters are even good service dog candidates. It's not impossible to find a good candidate in rescue, but you're far more likely to succeed with a dog from a reputable breeder. If you're going to rescue a dog, what happens if it doesn't make it? Do you keep it or does it go right back into rescue? What about the next 17 or 92 dogs you have to try before you find the one that will work out?
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:10 PM
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The program my friend works for here in MN takes breeder donation dogs. Their dogs are also free of charge for the people they're matched with.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:17 PM
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as a breeder: I would love to do this, but I havent the foggiest what kind of puppy needs to catch my eye as SD material. So evaluators from a group would have to come and work with me. But I would totally donate a puppy, if I had any suitable. That would be so awesome to help someones life like that
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:15 PM
BriannaLeigh92 BriannaLeigh92 is offline
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That is very understandable, from what I have learned, it is fairly easy, and takes a trainer one or two evaluation visits to tell if a dog will make a good PSD. Psychiatric service dogs are different than other service dogs because they are more used for emotional support. The dog would be trained to refocus me, create a buffer between me and people when I am out in public, it would be trained to guide me to a quiet safe spot if I start having a panic attack in public, it would be trained to lick my hands or face when I am in one of my depressive states, and to push on various pressure points for relaxation. Like I said, not all that physical.

I didn't mean to make it seem like I was asking someone to donate their dog to me, just wondering if anyone ever has, and how it worked out...stuff like that. I am currently looking for a dog, but don't expect anyone to be donating a dog for my cause.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:25 AM
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milos_mommy milos_mommy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BriannaLeigh92 View Post
That is very understandable, from what I have learned, it is fairly easy, and takes a trainer one or two evaluation visits to tell if a dog will make a good PSD. Psychiatric service dogs are different than other service dogs because they are more used for emotional support. The dog would be trained to refocus me, create a buffer between me and people when I am out in public, it would be trained to guide me to a quiet safe spot if I start having a panic attack in public, it would be trained to lick my hands or face when I am in one of my depressive states, and to push on various pressure points for relaxation. Like I said, not all that physical.
I think this is the opposite of true, actually. Many, many, many (most) potential service dogs "wash out", and I'm not sure of the difference in rates for PSDs and dogs for persons with a primarily or completely physical disability, but I believe it's the same or higher.

Most service dogs don't "fail" because they're not up to the physical tasks or able to learn tasks to help their handler, they fail because they can not handle the public access requirements, and those are no different for a PSD and more traditional service dog. A dog who gets too preoccupied with squirrels, becomes somewhat fearful of rowdy people, barks at escalators, etc. will fail...and while you can predict which dogs temperaments are better suited to handling public access work, it's not 100%, plus a lot of it is related to training and life experiences.

Also, the emotional work is much harder on a dog than a physical task. A dog who is required to be completely devoted to someone with high levels of anxiety or discomfort will often have trouble "disconnecting" from their handler's panic and not simply panicking themselves. Completing a very simple task for a handler who is highly distressed is much more difficult for a dog than completing a complex task for a calm handler. It takes a very specific, special dog to be able to do that....and that's not something an evaluator can predict most, or even half, the time, in a puppy.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:32 AM
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An adult dog's temperament is easier to assess in a few sessions, but definitely not with a puppy. A puppy can wash out at any time for any reason... adults are a little more sturdy.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:46 AM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Milos_Mommy, what you said is very, VERY true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julee View Post
An adult dog's temperament is easier to assess in a few sessions, but definitely not with a puppy. A puppy can wash out at any time for any reason... adults are a little more sturdy.

Indeed. This is why ultimately when I was looking for an SD candidate I went with a young adult. It's much easier to judge their suitability once their temperament is "set"
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:39 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BriannaLeigh92 View Post
That is very understandable, from what I have learned, it is fairly easy, and takes a trainer one or two evaluation visits to tell if a dog will make a good PSD.
I agree with Milos_Mommy that evaluating PSDs is EXTREMELY difficult and whoever told you it was easy has probably never actually done it. :P I evaluate and train dogs from shelters to be service dogs and so I know how difficult it is to find the right dog.

Also, it's not just about finding the right dog, it's about finding the right training for the dog you have. While a lot of behavior problems can be fixed with the right training, I've seen a lot of promising dogs also end up washing out because of the wrong training. If only it were as easy as clicker training vs. compulsion training; training service dogs is much more subtle than than that (well, training all dogs is more subtle but with service dogs the stakes are much higher). So one trainer can evaluate a dog and decide that it would be a great PSD, but another trainer - even a very experienced one - can cause that dog to wash out.

When talking about evaluating a puppy, there are even more variables. At 7 or 8 weeks a puppy can seem promising, but raised in the wrong home all that could turn around very quickly; and vice-versa.
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