new to SD's - lots of questions (college, training, invisible disibilities)

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

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Wherever mom is,- there I will be- also.
Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 5:59pm PST 
How will you train your dog yourself if being in public is a problem? You will have to go into public to train.

The Boy Wonder
Barked: Wed Dec 5, '12 7:33am PST 
Gidget that is something those of us with service dogs that we plan to train our self have to deal with. Usually with the help of a service human while we're in training in public. It can be done.

As to the OP - If you have good breeders in mind Shiloh's can work but it's hit or miss. You could find the same temperament size and look that you want in many of the 'old style' lines of german shepherd. And if you don't have a breeder in mind for Shiloh's I urge you to consider them.

There is a lot to be said for a common dog more so than an uncommon one. First off it is a lot easier for the public to recognize your dog as a service dog. I have a Huge problem with this as a handler of a border collie, never had this problem as the handler of a shepherd which is why my puppy in training will be another shepherd. Second these breeds are chosen by programs for a very good reason, because as a whole they comprise the best traits to reliably be trained for service work. That doesn't mean that other individuals of other breeds can't make service dogs it just means as a pool of dogs it's harder to find one that will. Shiloh's regardless of the registry can be a little all over the place with temperament. That doesn't mean that you can't find a good one or that in another 20 years that they won't be a breed to look at for a great pet.

With Shiloh's or GSD's seek a breeder who's lines produce a lot of therapy dogs, and a breeder who actively Does stuff with their dogs. Obedience, agility, Rally... ect, it doesn't matter as much What they do as that they do. Please don't seek a 'pet' breeder. You need a puppy from stock that is worked, that has titles, and has Proven without a shadow of a doubt that they can work. This will advance your chances of it working exponentially.

Find a trainer in your area now who is familiar with the training of service dogs. If you haven't raised a puppy before you will want their help. Talk to a local guide dog school and get their puppy raising criteria.

Now as to one of your original questions on if it raises your anxiety to work a service dog... Yes in the first year it's a nightmare. You don't know what to say when people ask, they're nosy and pushy and will crowd you and pet your dog without asking, or even if they do ask they don't take no for an answer. Find a handler in your area and ask to make a quick run with them somewhere and see first hand if you can handle the attention. People will point and stare, and talk about you like you can't hear them, or aren't there. All of this is a normal part of being a handler. I can't tell you if the balance of the help the dog gives will be enough for you... no one can.

You have my support as though... I've been there and done that with three successful owner trained service dogs and two wash-outs, I've trained dogs in just about every sport imaginable. I'm willing to talk dogs or service dogs or disability in general.

Jeanene and SD Happy
Need info on service dogs

Barked: Thu Dec 6, '12 2:26am PST 
Its great to be getting so many responses :3 thanks guys!

Charlie - i dont really agree with your comments, as was said any dog can be agressive or fearful depending on how they were raised. i believe nature vs. nurture is a very delicate 50 / 50 balance. and i also believe properly bred shilohs are the ideal service dog (at least for me). and about being asked the breed of dog - earlier this year i was on a bus with a lady who had a guide dog - the dog was clearly a lab, there was no way in hell it was anything but a lab, and yet i heard two seperate people ask her the breed. i think most people who want to innitiate conversation would go to this question as it is very 'safe' regardless of whether the dog is a common breed or not. Im sure if people want to innitiate conversation and they felt silly asking if a lab is a lab they would just ask for the dogs name or some other random question. I dont personally believe that you will get more encounters with an unusual breed - if people want to talk they will either way.

Mali - thank you for explaining more about Shiloh's, they truly are exceptional dogs! I am only considering ISSR reg. puppies :3

Happy- thank you for your help! Shilohs came about essentially by trying to bring back the old line GSD if I am correct. So they are a very similar dog while the Shiloh is more selective and has closed stud books as Mali mentioned :3 From that it seems the breeders are more selective with Shilohs - for example all the research ISSR is putting into hip dysplasia in their dogs and requiring health testing before being allowed to breed (Im not saying GSD breeders dont do this - Im very sure they do) but it is the ISSR standard. Also the Shiloh has been described as a lot mellower dog, easier to handle, less 'intense' and not quite as protective ect. all are which things I sort of see as a fault towards GSD (or atleast the ones I have met personally - I can only remeber one that was friendly with strangers and Ive met a number).
As for the points about looks they do look quite similar to the old GSD - personally based on looks I dont see too much of a difference except Shilohs have a tendancy to look a little wolfy. And their semi intimidating look is deffinatly a big pro to me as I would rather people not aproach my SD (although this seems like a big hope after reading lots on this forum =p).
Im also very aware of what dogs the programs use and why. I read in another thread that one of the reasons GSD are less popular with programs is because with their loyalty the uphaul between raisers, living in training, then being placed is too much for them to handle. I really like loyal - almost velcro dogs - that are very human centred. My experiance with labs and goldens is that they are more go with the flow, and somewhat impartial to people. This is likely very biased - but its what experiance has taught me. I am more drawn to dogs that are 'one person dogs' they know who there person is, they are loyal, and they have an ounce of protection in them (obviously i dont want very much protection drive though). To me that is why I dont see myself meshing as well with a lab or golden as well as a shepherd.
Also I mentioned before I have been around mastiffs ALOT as a teenager - I worked for a lady who had an english mastiff x dane and a bull x italian mastiff and i absolutly fell in love with the breed. I also keep my horse at a farm with 7 dogs (not a typo ;3 dont worry everyones neutered now) who are all mastiff xs (shepherd, bloodhound, pits, and even coyotee xs) i look after them in the mornings or evenings sometimes. The breed is fantastic - big, muscular, playful, lapdogs.. but if a someone who is not supposed to be there shows up.. anyways I am getting way of track here - my point is I love a protective instinct in a dog - I want to feel protected and like someone would think twice before breaking into my house.

I have found a breeder who has every attribute reccomended and more. She has placed therapy dogs and is familiar with service dogs. She has a spring litter for 2013 whose dad is with TDI. Both parents have every quality I could ask for - friendly, bombproof, very trainable - and Im able to meet them both. The breeder is willing to do pre 8 week socialization - she does extensive temprement testing at 7 weeks. I am *praying* this is my breeder - all sounds perfect so far - they certinally know their stuff!

I also have found a trainer who has trained service dogs before and I have been emailing back and forth and have a phobe conference set for tomorow :3 all is moving along very well!

Thanks for the reccomendation of looking at guide dog raising criteria - i will most deffinatly do this! And the things you spoke about in terms of anxiety were really helpful too Happy - I was thinking about it at alot the mall today (first big trip out by myself in a few months! EEeeeekk!!) and I had lots of anxiety. I hope very much that having a SD will mitigate my symptoms - it is hard for me especially though because I have gotten quite good at wearing a 'mask' so to speak. Theres only a handfull of people that are aware of my disorders and half of them think Im making it up (it's a mental disorder - its in my head - quite the oxymorin). I guess Im more worried about people saying Im lying about my disorder - it hurts me alot when the aforementioned handful say things along those lines.. Im not sure how well I would handle strangers feeling like they have the right to talk about my mental problems or supposed lack there of.

Anyways this was very ramble-y and Im quite sorry for the length - congrats if you missioned all the way through though ;3

Thanks again for all the help =D

Edited by author Thu Dec 6, '12 2:34am PST


Bianca CGC- TT HIC Thd- ♥

What big ears- you have...
Barked: Thu Dec 6, '12 2:31am PST 
Keep in mind Shilohs are not bred to work.
~Missy~SD~CG- N

~Passed my CGN- test June 17th- 2012~
Barked: Thu Dec 6, '12 7:37pm PST 
I sent you a paw-mail

Member Since
Barked: Fri Dec 14, '12 3:51pm PST 
Six months is no where near enough time to train a service dog. One reason it takes a couple years to get one through most programs is because it usually takes about 18 months to train a service dog - and this is when they are being trained by experienced, professional trainers. Unless you have a lot of experience training dogs, you probably won't be able to do all the training yourself. In fact, the most difficult thing may be simply choosing a suitable dog. Most dogs don't have the right temperament to be service dogs, and if you get a puppy and try to train it yourself, there is a good chance after six months or a year you'll realize he's not suited for the job and have to start all over again.

Super Jerry the- Diabetic Alert- Dog
Barked: Tue Dec 18, '12 5:50pm PST 
First of all, congratulations about doing research before you get an SD! I think people are voicing some legitimate concerns and just trying to get you to think of all the different aspects of having an SD.

I have had my SD for about 8 months now and I attend college in Illinois. I got him my the summer between my 1st and 2nd year of graduate school, pretty far into my school experience. College can be pretty overwhelming for anyone, but let me tell you, being a first time SD handler in college is pretty intense. I have a very tall, muscular labradoodle whose big, white and fluffy. I get stopped, gawked at and "aaaaawwww! Look at that puppy!" all the time. I'm STILL learning how to deal with the public!
I'm a really outgoing person, I'm not afraid of public speaking and I work in healthcare so I didn't think that I would be so overwhelmed. BUT I TOTALLY WAS!!! I would say the first month was the hardest, but it really is an evolving process. Especially if you have a invisible disability, people want to know why you have a SD and whats "wrong" with you.

Another way to think of it is, it's kind of like being told about how much work having a newborn is, but you don't actually KNOW until you do it. Or like having and training a horse, like you've had. I grew up on a farm and trained my own dogs, but I wasn't as ready as I thought I was when I got my 2 yr old, completely trained SD. I'm so glad that I was able to just work on my skills as a SD handler in public and Jerry's and mine emotional bond, vs. all of that PLUS training.

Barked: Tue Dec 18, '12 7:05pm PST 
It really is a LOT of work, isn't it? I considered owner trainer, with assistance from a professional trainer, and I am so glad I didn't try to go that route. I got a fully trained SD from a program and even so, there was a lot of work for me to do with him, getting him used to following commands from me and things like that. I was really amazed at how much work it was and it was a lot like bringing home a newborn. I was pretty overwhelmed for a while.
Abrams Tank- SD

I'm trying to- fill some BIG- paws
Barked: Wed Dec 19, '12 1:56pm PST 
I have put off saying anything for a while because I am helping my husband train his third SD. Abrams Tank is 11 months old and weighs in at 70 pounds already. He may be a very calm dog but dont let that fool you. He can be a terror at home when he wants to go play in the back yard and its pouring down rain. We started his training at home when he was about 8 weeks. His mom for some reason quit nursing him and his brother Mojo when they were about 3 or 4 days old so we raised the two of them with their aunt as their mother. Granted they are only half German Shepherd but we get a lot of "Wow what a nice looking lab!" when we have him out in public. He is very professional even though he hasnt been training in public all that long. He started his PA training in August after the death of my husband's last SD a Doberman. When we would take Katana out in public for work people would give him a very wide birth. We went into Rural King one day for cat food and took Katana in with us in his vest of course, when we got to the counter to check out the lady asked what breed he was and when I replied "Doberman" she was all "OMG dont let him near me hes one of those breeds that EATS PEOPLE!!" keep in mind that Katana wouldnt eat a hot bisket unless I or my husband told him it was alright to do so. That said training a puppy takes more than a tiny amount of work. Tank is really very smart and picks things up quickly but he is not fully adult yet. He still has days where he wants to go through the spoiled brat puppy moments. You would have to be super prepared for the fear periods and the "I can hear you I just choose not to listen" moments and the teen age rebellion stages. So far Tank hasnt hit that frame of mind yet and I hope he doesnt. There is a lot that goes into getting puppy ready for public access. I suggest going with a yearling to a two year old to start with.
Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Sat Dec 29, '12 11:03am PST 
I agree with most of these good people about the age I feel that starting off with a slightly older dog then a puppy would be a better deal for you since you are a beginner in this field. You see though I had many dogs and most all were well behaved for pets. When I got sadie she was 7 months and it was a lil bit of a challenge with her cause she had been a pet that was able to rome as she pleased. I had wanted a older dog that had already had it's basic down pat but it was not to be. Younger dogs such as puppies seem to have a lot of energy and I had to have some help with her excerize. Her training went very well cause Sadie is a quick learning breed and easy to want to please. though the Landlord had a lil bit of a issue with her size. Now the Landlord and Sadie are very happy with one another and sadie is very well trained as far as her tasks though there are puppy issues that I have to deal with every now and then lol even at 4 yrs. now.
For the most part though Sadie trained herself and I just nurished the behavyors I wanted her to her to keep as well as cute lil tricks that came in handy for tasks. Though the struggle is a long time to handle with a pup and that is my consern as well as I feel those others are saying.
The benifits of an older dog would be that you can start right off with tasks if the dog has already gotten their basics down solid already. Socializing can also be a easyer thing too cause a
puppy is so spunky and some older dogs don't deal well with that. the trouble I had most with Sadie was that she was not able to define play and work till she was a lot older. Puppies need ply though to figure and learn life the big and small of things. I am not sure if this makes since to you I am not good at exsplaining this stuff.
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