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Old 04-29-2013, 04:49 PM
J19 J19 is offline
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Default Breeds for children with Autism

I am looking for a large breed of dog for my son with autism. He does well with our Beagal and I would like a large breed around the house as well. Any suggestions from experiences? I would like a rotweiler because well trained they are protective and great with children and make great family pets with proper training when they are puppies. I was also looking at a mastif because they are great family pets as well. Any suggestions would be appreciated because we are still just looking around for ideas.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:52 PM
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AdrianneIsabel AdrianneIsabel is offline
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A nice pit bull? Forgiving, tolerant, stoic, honest, driven, energy with an off switch, plus they're cute and fantastic snugglers.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:54 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Don't look for breed. Look for an individual. Try checking your local shelter for dog that are good with kids. If you get an adult dog, you know what you're getting. I'd avoid getting a puppy.

I have a boxer, and he ADORES children. My collie also loves kids, but he's a bit more exuberant and is likely to accidentally knock them down to smother them with kisses.

There's really nothing that would make you need a different type of dog just because your kid is autistic. A kid is a kid, and a dog that's good with kids doesn't care if the kid is different.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:32 PM
Whitewave Whitewave is offline
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A pit bull would be my first suggestion too. But honestly, it is hard to recommend a dog for that one aspect as many dogs could be fine, but it depends on other issues.

Do you own or rent? Are there any breed restrictions where you live? What other qualities are you looking for in a dog? What about grooming? Activity level? What is your experience with dogs? Etc.

My Dogo is awesome with autistic children. He adores them, but I wouldn't choose a Dogo based on that reason.

One of Casper's experiences with an autistic child-

We were at the local collage fall festival and this 12 yr old autistic girl started screaming and jumping up and down, broke free from her mother and tackled Casper. He is 120lb dog and she took him down to the ground and was on top of him hugging him in a bear hug. He just started thumping his tail and licking her in the face. You could see the look of relief in her Mother's face. She had been bitten quit severely by other dogs b/c she got soooo super excited when she saw a dog and wanted to hug them. A few more kids ended up piled on top of him. He is just good natured like that. But he is also large, powerful, selective with other dogs, sheds white hairs on everything I own, has food allergies and has to eat expensive food, and hardheaded as they come!
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:30 PM
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Romy Romy is offline
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Originally Posted by Saeleofu View Post
There's really nothing that would make you need a different type of dog just because your kid is autistic. A kid is a kid, and a dog that's good with kids doesn't care if the kid is different.
Pretty much this. ^^

What's more important are things like whether the dog's activity level meshes well with the family schedule. For example, if you're in an apartment with a beagle and kids, you probably don't want a large active breed that needs to run an hour or more every day.

Things to consider are:

Are you willing to groom or have a professional groomer work on your dog periodically? Or do you want a wash and wear coat?

Do you have a fenced area the dog can get some exercise on days where things are too hectic/busy for a regular walk?

Do you want a dog that's friendly with everyone or reserved/suspicious toward strangers?
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:37 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Okay, I did think of ONE thing to take into account with autism. Hair type. Why? Sensory issues. I don't care for GSD hair, but I can tolerate it. I really prefer smooth coats, like boxers and pointers. But I love the look of wiry coats. Do you think your kid would be okay with a long coat? A wiry coat? A soft and curly coat? A medium-length double coat? If you already have a beagle, odds are a coat along those lines is fine. But there may just be issues with other coat types.

Way back when I was planning a service dog program for autistic adults, I was wanting to have standard poodles, smooth collies, and rough collies. That gives a wide variety of coat types to choose from, since poodles can be clipped really short or really long, or anything in between. They can even be corded.

Along those same lines, drool. If your kid's going to be sensitive to drool, stay away from breeds that tend to be drooly. I don't like getting slimed with dog spit, so I'd never choose a drooly dog. It took me a long time to even be okay with dog kisses (but now I love them )
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:56 PM
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milos_mommy milos_mommy is offline
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I agree that it is first more important to narrow down to breeds that fit your family's lifestyle, and then find the perfect one for your son. Going through a rescue or shelter might be an option, someone may be able to help you find a good match.

Consider how much experience you have in training and raising dogs - Rottweilers can be a tough breed to train and handle, especially without experience. They need a good deal of exercise and might be overprotective of your child if they aren't socialized properly, but they are also excellent with children. If you've got the energy to exercise one and the experience to train one, they might be a good choice.

I also think a pit bull could work well, they're often called "Nanny dogs" for a reason. But if you already have a beagle, you want to make sure the dog you bring home will be friendly towards your other dog - and sometimes pit bulls, rotties, and mastiffs aren't great with other animals.

Golden retrievers are also typically very fond of children, as are springer spaniels - but they're quite a bit smaller than the breeds you're considering.

If you want a dog as large as a mastiff, a st. bernard might be a good breed to look into. They're a bit easier for someone less experienced in training to handle than a rottie or mastiff is.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:44 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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I totally agree with Sael but i wanted to add...

There's a program around here that raises puppies for children with Autism, SPDs, ADHD or ADD, BiPolar seizure response dogs (some learn to alert, it's amazing), etc.... the most common breed I see is Goldens. In second Collies and Labs. There are also a few GSDs, also a few Paps lovely dogs with amazing temperaments, from good breeders. BUT, SO many of them don't make it and get placed in "pet only" homes - amazing pets at that!!!

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Old 04-29-2013, 10:34 PM
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CharlieDog CharlieDog is offline
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I wanted to second Saels input about coat type.

I can handle long and smooth coated breeds, but breeds like poodles and doodles hair I can't really handle. It makes my brain hurt. Cottony coats as well, like, I remember a specific spayed Papillon I couldn't really touch because it bothered me so badly. Wirey coats as well give me issues. It's really an individual person thing, so finding out what your child is likely to react to will help narrow down the search.
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:41 AM
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SevenSins SevenSins is offline
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I have to say I disagree with not taking breed into consideration at all when you have an autistic child. Some breeds are more prone to reacting negatively to a child who behaves in an "unusual" manner. For example, the lack of impulse control and even complete meltdowns that can occur in a person with ASD, especially in response to the sensory issues that were already mentioned. My co-breeder's son has ASD, and while she is very diligent in her parenting and supervises him around the dogs, like most children with ASD he still has his moments. A more stoic, tolerant breed is ideal for that type of situation and a responsibly-bred APBT with a correct temperament is a good idea, but only IF the home is otherwise suited to the rest of the unique responsibilities of owning the breed.
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