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  #11  
Old 02-21-2013, 09:34 AM
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yv0nne yv0nne is offline
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I think a cute, smaller dog would be the opposite. People would be crowding her to ask about or talk to the dog. I can see a lab or something small but mighty working to literally pull you away from the situation.

I know Penn can physically pull me away and she's only 44lbs ..and I'm 116lbs. I don't think you need a huge dog. You could also get a shepherd or something so people assume the dog is mean and are more willing to give you room to move. See, stereotypes for breeds can have benefits
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  #12  
Old 02-21-2013, 09:38 AM
BriannaLeigh92 BriannaLeigh92 is offline
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I think you are right. Part of me kinda wants a dog that will be intimidating so people don't do the typical "OMG YOUR DOG IS SOO CUTE CAN I PET IT?!?!?!" I always respect service dogs and don't even ask their handler if I can pet it...because when the harness is on...the dog is WORKING. I want something that not everyone in the world is going to ask to pet haha
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  #13  
Old 02-21-2013, 10:32 AM
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Berners are adorable, beware.

Have your considered a Borzoi or Standard poodle or Shepherd? Still big yet agile and less likely to draw all teddybear snuggles.
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  #14  
Old 02-21-2013, 11:37 AM
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Shepherds typically aren't really great for PSD work because they're one of those ultra super focused on their handler types that mirrors your emotions. In addition to that, they also tend to have a strong defensive streak. I tried using a GSD as a PSD and didn't get very far into training before it became obvious it was a very bad match. She started mirroring my emotions, and instead of helping me calm down when I was anxious she started hunting down whatever was around me at the time thinking THAT was making me anxious when in reality it had nothing to do with it. Then she became extremely reactive to those random things, thinking she needed to drive them away from me so I'd be happy. She could have very easily become dangerous, so was placed with a different handler who only needed mobility support.

That said, one of our members is partnered with a GSD, and that individual dog is perfect for PSD work. So again, while most of the breed isn't suitable you it boils down to the individual dog.

My borzoi is trained to body block. Basically he positions himself between me and people, then braces so they don't bump me from behind or something. He's a giant weird looking dog so he gets a lot of attention. For the most part people don't grab at him but be prepared to get lots of questions. Nobody has ever bumped or grabbed at me personally while we were out as a team. The right borzoi can work really well because they're tall, they naturally want stand next to you and lean while looking around, and typically they're more aloof to strangers vs. defensive. You have to be careful not to get a shy/scared dog because with aloof breeds a lot of people see shy dogs and think that is correct and breed them, and it's not. They also live 12-14 years which is pretty long for a giant breed.

Sael's dog is a tricolored smooth collie. A lot of people see them and think they're doberman mixes, and they're large enough to body block as well.

Gordon setters are worth looking into as well. The ones I have met were all extremely stable, and have black and tan coloration that most people associate with dobermans and rottweilers.
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  #15  
Old 02-21-2013, 11:58 AM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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I agree that a GSD or mal or something along those lines is not a good idea in this situation. If you get angry when you get stressed, that sort of dog will pick up on that in no time. They'll act appropriately for their breed, but inappropriately for a service dog.

To prevent questions, a lab, golden, or poodle will be your best bet because those are common SD breeds, and people just don't question it. I get tons and tons of questions about what breed my service dog is. 99% of people assume he's some sort of mix - doberman mix, GSD mix, greyhound mix. It gets annoying sometimes, but I always answer because smooth collies are awesome and I like blowing people's minds

A large or medium dog, not a giant dog, is perfectly capable of pulling hard enough to move a person. The task of keeping people at bay is a trained one, not something that magically happens because the dog is big.

With Berners only living 6-8 years, that means if everything goes as planned, he'll start working at 2, and by the time he's 4-5 you'll have to start training a successor dog. Two years between training dogs is not very long. This is one reason (of many) I didn't want another boxer to be my SD. Logan will be 4 in may, and I couldn't imagine training another service dog already! He'll have only been working for 9 months by the time he turns 4. With a bit of luck Logan will be working for at least another 6 years, if not longer.
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  #16  
Old 02-21-2013, 12:30 PM
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Not a mal, too small, too temperamentally influenced by handler anxiety, as a general rule. With an unstable and inexperienced handler the average Malinois will be unsuitable for public access, in short words they feed off emotions.

There are always exceptions but I would never recommend the breed to an inexperienced and particularly emotionally unsteadied handler.

You're looking for a ying to your yang with a PSD.
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  #17  
Old 02-21-2013, 01:03 PM
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You'd have to look into health and lifespan, but I always thought a stable handler oriented leonberger would make a fantastic PSD for someone who wanted or needed a giant dog.
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  #18  
Old 02-21-2013, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romy View Post
You'd have to look into health and lifespan, but I always thought a stable handler oriented leonberger would make a fantastic PSD for someone who wanted or needed a giant dog.
Great suggestion. I have only known a few but they were all rock solid dogs. I knew one who dropped dead from a heart problem at 2 but the rest seem to live til 10 ish.
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  #19  
Old 02-21-2013, 01:13 PM
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I highly doubt a Berner would "scare off" people from asking questions and such. We have a ton of berners around here, and people always go right on up to them because they look friendly.

I would almost agree with a Leonberger, except for again, the size. They naturally walk away if the situation gets too intense, which would be helpful for needing the dog to pull you away.
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  #20  
Old 02-21-2013, 01:18 PM
BriannaLeigh92 BriannaLeigh92 is offline
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If anyone has any breed suggestions for me...or program suggestions...any kind of information at all please PM me...or feel free to email me at [email protected]

as mentioned I am super new to this, and really could use ALL the help i can get!
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