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  #11  
Old 06-14-2010, 12:51 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Also, keep in mind it takes 18-24 months to train a service dog. If you start with an adult with a solid obedience foundation, that time can be reduced, but still plan on about 6 - 12 months of training. Ideally a dog won't be working in public until abotu 2 years of age, not only for physical maturity (especially if you'll have any weight-bearing tasks) but also mental maturity. If you start working a dog too early they can burn out rather quickly. You can also watch as everything a "teenage" dog has learned fly out of their brains overnight, and when that happens you don't want them to be working in public, really.

So my point is, if you go with an adult, I'd place a cap on it of about 2 years. 1-1 1/2 years is really ideal.
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  #12  
Old 06-14-2010, 01:15 PM
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I've never worked with or trained any type of service dogs, so you can take this post with a grain of salt if you will but I wanted to say that I've met some rock-solid-temperment dogs in the rescue. Some of them, even better than our own (raised from puppies) or even retired from show (Mia's temperment is not stellar). But I've also met some crazy ones
If it were me, I'd contact a couple of people (breeder, trainer, and/or rescue ... w e) and keep your options open. You'll find the "right" one when the time is right! Good Luck!!
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  #13  
Old 06-14-2010, 04:14 PM
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Brattina, that's how I feel. It will be a bit harder to find and riskier, but worth it IMO.

Also, I'm not sure about not taking the dog into public until it's a year old....I live right near an enormous guide dog foundation, work with people who work there, and often see them training in public.

Puppy walkers take those pups into public wearing a cape starting at 12 weeks old. And by four or five months those dogs are pretty rock solid in public about not being distracted, barking, etc.

If I get a puppy the plan would be something like work on basic obedience and start socializing, maybe short outings in low-distraction areas, and once the puppy had basic obedience around distractions down, to start taking them (at maybe 6-8 months) for "working" outings, not with task work but just things like lying under a restaurant table, automatic doors, public transit, etc. and then start to introduce tasks around a year or a little less (all of this would be pushed back if this was an older pup). I would of course be working with a trainer, hopefully someone with service dog experience.

I'm starting to think puppy is the way to go. I think a rescue puppy is the riskiest option, though. But also at 2 or 3 months a puppy wouldn't have had a lot of trauma or developed many negative behaviors.
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  #14  
Old 06-14-2010, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milos_mommy View Post
Brattina, that's how I feel. It will be a bit harder to find and riskier, but worth it IMO.

Also, I'm not sure about not taking the dog into public until it's a year old....I live right near an enormous guide dog foundation, work with people who work there, and often see them training in public.

Puppy walkers take those pups into public wearing a cape starting at 12 weeks old. And by four or five months those dogs are pretty rock solid in public about not being distracted, barking, etc.

If I get a puppy the plan would be something like work on basic obedience and start socializing, maybe short outings in low-distraction areas, and once the puppy had basic obedience around distractions down, to start taking them (at maybe 6-8 months) for "working" outings, not with task work but just things like lying under a restaurant table, automatic doors, public transit, etc. and then start to introduce tasks around a year or a little less (all of this would be pushed back if this was an older pup). I would of course be working with a trainer, hopefully someone with service dog experience.

I'm starting to think puppy is the way to go. I think a rescue puppy is the riskiest option, though. But also at 2 or 3 months a puppy wouldn't have had a lot of trauma or developed many negative behaviors.
We have litters born while momma is in a foster home (she's pulled from the shelter while pregnant. That would mean they've never experienced abuse or anything like that. You'd also get to meet at least half the genes that went into the puppy.
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  #15  
Old 06-14-2010, 05:18 PM
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Check out psychdog.org. They've got a table of tasks that these dogs perform, for anyone who is wondering what they do.
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  #16  
Old 06-14-2010, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
We have litters born while momma is in a foster home (she's pulled from the shelter while pregnant. That would mean they've never experienced abuse or anything like that. You'd also get to meet at least half the genes that went into the puppy.
Just keep in mind with this, though, is that you still don't know the genetics behind the puppy. I adopted Chloe at nine weeks....and she is a dog with ISSUES. I did everything "right" in her puppyhood and raising, but she has anxiety issues, reactiveness issues, and aggression issues, all of different severity. She would definitally not make a good service dog. At all. (She barely makes a good pet, and that is after three years of work. lol) Just because a dog starts out right does not mean you are going to end up with a stable dog - Chloe is proof of that.
Of course, you also have the chance of getting a really good dog (we've had three of those to Chloe's one), but it is a chance.

I'd keep my eyes open for a rescue adult, but if I were you I'd probably go through a breeder for either a puppy or an established adult dog.
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  #17  
Old 06-14-2010, 07:08 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Quote:
Also, I'm not sure about not taking the dog into public until it's a year old....I live right near an enormous guide dog foundation, work with people who work there, and often see them training in public.

Puppy walkers take those pups into public wearing a cape starting at 12 weeks old. And by four or five months those dogs are pretty rock solid in public about not being distracted, barking, etc.
The difference is they usually have special permission to do so. You have to check the laws for your state. Also, if you check out that link I gave you, ask a question about it there and they can explain it much better than I can at the moment.

Just a warning, Psychdog.org isn't the greatest site. Sure, they DO have some good information, just be cautious about it. Some things they promote there are also technically illegal.
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  #18  
Old 06-14-2010, 07:13 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Also, if you're going to use a trainer (and if you don't have extensive experience training a dog, you really should use a trainer), have the trainer picked out first, and then have the trainer help you pick out a dog.

I do have a lot of dog training experience, but I do technically still have a trainer...in the form of my dad He's trained several service dogs as well as a guide dog in the past, plus 40+ years of other dog training experience.
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  #19  
Old 06-14-2010, 07:35 PM
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I believe dogs with issues like an anxiety, etc. can come from a good breeder. Maybe it's more unlikely than coming from a bad breeder, but it's a chance I'd take.

I just thought Pyschdog had a good example of the tasks those dogs can do, most of their info seems pretty reliable, to me, actually, but I haven't read even close to all of it yet.

do service animal laws vary by state? I thought they were federal civil rights laws or something? I also know they'll likely be changing in the next few years.

Here, a lot of stores have a sign in the window (at least big corporate grocery stores and wal mart and costco and stuff) that say "Service dogs always welcome" and a number you can call to report if they give you a hard time.
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  #20  
Old 06-14-2010, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milos_mommy View Post
do service animal laws vary by state? I thought they were federal civil rights laws or something? I also know they'll likely be changing in the next few years.
Service dog laws are federal.

Service dogs in training are covered by state law and vary from one state to the next.
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