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  #11  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:19 PM
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I wouldn't say 1/1000, or even 1/100. If you're good at evaluating, and you're good at training, far more than that will make the cut.
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  #12  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:20 PM
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Um, how is this a bad thing? I truly don't understand how this is bad.
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  #13  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:24 PM
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Villalobos has tons and tons of under exercised, under stimulated, under trained dogs that they just warehouse. AC is called on them frequently. They should focus on cleaning up their act rather than diving into a new excursion.
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  #14  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julee View Post
I wouldn't say 1/1000, or even 1/100. If you're good at evaluating, and you're good at training, far more than that will make the cut.
Considering the number of GDs bred for the purpose that wash out for health and temperament I would not venture it's an issue of "good enough" causing wash outs.
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  #15  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:38 PM
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Are there any kind of standards, or standardized testing, for service dogs or service dog trainers? I was just reading the comment section on that facebook link and somebody posted that they and their dog were taking service dog training through PetCo?
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:42 PM
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No, there are none. That said for some organizations becoming a trainer of service animals (ie GD) is a lot more serious than others (ie some of the "hi, we train basic obedience and service dogs here").
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  #17  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julee View Post
I wouldn't say 1/1000, or even 1/100. If you're good at evaluating, and you're good at training, far more than that will make the cut.
When you have to take into account:

Health. The dog can't have any orthopedic or other major health problems and needs to be screened for them before training starts. If something crops up in the meantime that can't be screened for ahead of time (like epilepsy) the dog has to be washed.

Temperament. The dog has to be rock solid stable. It can't flip out at at gunshots and fireworks, umbrellas opening suddenly, be reactive or aggressive to other dogs, animals, or people, cars, motorcycles starting suddenly, etc. etc. etc.

Working ability. Some dogs are able to work. They just don't want to. They're not reliable, and when the handlers' LIFE is depending on how reliable an animal is, it's critical.

Socialization.
If you get a dog from a shelter, you have a crapshoot as far as how socialized it was. The major window of socialization is 8-15 weeks. Miss that, and you can correct it to a degree which is usually fine for a companion dog, but NOT for a dog whose handler's life depends on it. Sometimes you get really lucky and find a well socialized rescue. Sometimes you find puppies.

The crapshoot part with puppies is they could have joint and other debillitating health issues that can't even be screen for until they're two. So... do you invest two years of training and risk the dog washing for health reasons?

Honesty. This is a HUGE one, and really pretty rare. An honest dog is the dog who will never ever eat a steak laying on the floor, because it's not his. He'll never sneak food from his blind handler's plate. He has flawless OOS down/stays because he won't deviate from what he's been trained, no matter now unsupervised he is.

Now, how many dogs in shelters are free of ALL those issues. This isn't just a cutesy feel good way of getting dogs homes and helping people with disabilities. Service dog handlers' lives depend on the reliability of their partners, the stability of their partners, the quality of their partners training, and the stability of their physical health

I would have no problem with any rescue contacting experienced SD training orgs and bringing dogs in for them to assess and take to be trained by experienced trainers.

I do not know of ANY rescue that is also equipped to train SDs. It takes a HUGE amount of resources and a totally different skillset than rescue does.
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  #18  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:44 PM
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Extremely well put, there is so much more to SDs than most people think.
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  #19  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:46 PM
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I don't think this is a good idea. I think this could be bad for the Pit Bull community and for the Service Dog community. I'm not saying Pit Bulls won't make good Service Dogs, but I don't think the kind of dogs Villaboos is rescuing are necessarily good candidates for the work.

As a Pit Bull* lover and advocate and the owner of a related breed** I think that Pit Bulls with proper breed temperaments would make GREAT service dogs. Well bred Pit Bulls are extremely friendly and affectionate with people, even complete strangers, they are strong, have a high pain tolerance, are eager to please and they are generally very healthy dogs.

The problem is, there are a lot of unethical, irresponsible breeders out there who are breeding for color and appearance rather than health and temperament, so we are seeing more and more Pit Bulls that don't have proper Pit Bull temperaments and have health issues. While most can still make good pets, I doubt if most would make good SDs! I get the idea that people are trying to show that rescue dogs can do anything that well-bred dogs can do, but in some cases it's better to go with well-bred dogs. With the types of homes/breeders that Villaboo's pit bulls are coming from, you have no idea if they have sound temperaments!

I hope they will be doing this responsibly, do LOTS of temperament and health testing and know that not every dog is cut out for this job and there is no shame in admitting defeat with one of their dogs.


*When I say Pit Bull I mean American Pit Bull Terriers or the AKC equivalent breed, the American Staffordshire Terrier.

**The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is, basically, the smaller British cousin of the Pit Bull.
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  #20  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CatStina View Post

As a Pit Bull* lover and advocate and the owner of a related breed** I think that Pit Bulls with proper breed temperaments would make GREAT service dogs. Well bred Pit Bulls are extremely friendly and affectionate with people, even complete strangers, they are strong, have a high pain tolerance, are eager to please and they are generally very healthy dogs.
It's very true that some pits/pitty types would make excellent SDs.

Here's the unfortunate part.

SD handler teams already have a lot of prejudice against them. A lot of people and places give them a hard time about access. Yes it's illegal. Yes people can and do get in trouble for it. And that's with "friendly" breeds like goldens and collies.

Being a SD handler is really hard. Having a disability is really really hard. In a way, having super well trained SD pits out there would be really great press for the breed. BUT-

And this is a huge BUT.

It's not fair to ask SD handlers, people who are already struggling with debilitating illness and restrictions on their day to day life that make having a SD necessary, to bear the brunt of poop slinging that is going to come from it. It's just not fair. I hear enough horror stories from SD handlers with dobes, like the police being called on them and them being put in handcuffs because someone didn't think the dobe in the store could be a real SD. Nobody needs that. And especially not someone who is already struggling to meet their basic needs.

ETA: I do think it could work with the absolute right handler. It would have to be someone with the resiliency to deal with the public's reaction to their partner. I definitely don't think it would work very well for a lot of people.

There's also BSL. Pit-type service dogs have been confiscated by AC and euthanized when handlers teams were traveling through BSL areas with no negative consequences to the local AC. It was devastating to the handlers though.

There needs to be a lot of work done before the public is ready for pit SDs. And that absolutely should NOT be put on the service dog handlers of the country.
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