Good breed for psych. service dog?

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Good breed for psych. service dog?

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Old 03-26-2015, 11:51 AM
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Good breed for psych. service dog?

Hello! I just posted an intro and was about to ask this question in it, but that's not what intros are for, so sorry for the back to back posting.

I have been looking into training our future dog to be a service dog for my anxiety and have narrowed down the list of breeds quite a bit over the past few months. I need a dog in the 60-85 lb range, calm and trainable, kid friendly, non-aggressive, intuitive, loyal, and good with the outdoors. We go camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, to the coast, etc and would love to take our dog with us as much as possible (especially being a service dog). I work in childcare (with approval to bring a dog), so it must be child friendly.

Here's our current list, do any of these dogs strike you as inappropriate for service work? Are there any similar breeds that you would recommend based on our needs? In order from favorite to least:
Flat coated retriever
Golden retriever
Chocolate lab
Black lab
Greater swiss mountain dog
Siberian husky
Chinook
Nova Scotia duck retriever
Entlebucher mountain dog
German Shepherd
Vizsla

Breeds/types we don't want:
Terriers
Herders
Aggressive types
Collies
Mastiff
Akita/other kens
Chow chow
Small breeds

I know some of our choices are rare and probably unavailable, but I wanted to add them to give an idea of what we're looking for. Ideally, we'd like a lab or retriever for their disposition and love of water (we spend a lot of time near rivers, lakes, and the ocean).

Lastly, anyone know any reputable breeders in Oregon/Washington/Northern California? XD
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:05 PM
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Siberian husky, Nova Scotia duck retriever, German Shepherd, and Vizsla. Wouldn't recommend any of these.
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:53 PM
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I disagree with jclark on German Shepherds. If anything, German Shepherds were the FIRST choice breed for service dogs when they were first used for the blind. However, you will have a hard time these days finding one whose hips aren't totally shot. But I would say a Husky is not a good choice for a service dog, and I know very little about Chinooks but I know they've been used as sled dogs too. What is it about them that's make you think they might be appropriate?

Also, why did you split Labs into colors (and exclude yellow)? I don't know how much you know about dogs but their color has absolutely nothing to do with personality. Keep in mind that with Labs, though they are excellent as service dogs, they're often a bit insane the first 2-3 years of their lives.

Additionally, I would recommend the standard Poodle. Contrary to their image portrayed by the media they are a large, sturdy breed that was bred as a sporting breed for retrieving game from the water, so they love to swim. Highly trainable and one of the smartest breeds that are also good because their hair does not affect people with allergies.

When you look at breeders, it would be a good indication if mom and/or dad work as therapy dogs visiting people, or if some of their line (this is probably just applicable to retrievers and maybe GSDs) have ever been used by service dog groups. This is a great hint as to the temperaments of the dogs. You also need to open yourself up to the possibility that the dog you pick might be a great prospect, s/he might not turn out to be what you want in adulthood and you might just end up being a pet. And if the dog DOES fail, are you able to keep him/her as just a pet?

Here's a great list of stuff to test pups for when you go visit:
http://downunderassistancedog.blogsp...itter-for.html
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Old 03-26-2015, 01:11 PM
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Sorry, that's just how my SO classed them. Most of his choices were based on personality and appearance, then I chose the ones that I think might make a good service dog. Not sure why he excluded yellow, but he's just not a fan.

I kind of figured a husky or chinook wouldn't make a good fit considering their energy level, but I had a husky growing up that behaved quite well and would have made a good service dog, but obviously the breed as a whole isn't the best choice. I am very partial to them because of him though so I wanted to add husky.

Most of the breeders of labs I've looked at do have offspring with service work history.

The dog will absolutely stay with us regardless of his ability to perform as a service dog. I would LIKE a service dog, but our original plan was to have one as a pet exclusively.
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Old 03-26-2015, 01:17 PM
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Huskies are more of a "pack" breed that enjoy the company of other dogs and really need to run all the time rather than being attached to one person for a job like this.

And why is it you excluded the Collie? I've definitely seen them as service dogs. While many herding breeds are energy on crack and not totally suitable for this work, they are very good at training and bonding with their master. Collies and GSDs are probably two I would say that can still make good service dogs. But of course they've got lots of health issues these days, so that's something to consider.

It's also good to hear that you have a back up plan in case your dog doesn't meet the service dog needs!
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Old 03-26-2015, 01:20 PM
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Collies were excluded because I work with children and can't have a dog that herds them.
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Old 03-26-2015, 01:37 PM
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Labs and Goldens are the ones that I see most commonly used. If you look for a breeder that breeds with therapy in mind then they should come from a more docile line.
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Old 03-30-2015, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by violetdelusions View Post
Collies were excluded because I work with children and can't have a dog that herds them.
That's part of training... while they're on the job, they shouldn't be herding anything...

Also, (I know you don't want terriers, but I have to mention) I know two different people using pit bulls as their service dogs. One for seizures and one for PTSD, and they're amazing.
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Old 03-30-2015, 08:46 PM
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I would not consider a puppy of any breed as being a help for anxiety. They're a handful. I would recommend purchasing an 18-36 month old dog that has been trained for service work
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyri View Post
That's part of training... while they're on the job, they shouldn't be herding anything...

Also, (I know you don't want terriers, but I have to mention) I know two different people using pit bulls as their service dogs. One for seizures and one for PTSD, and they're amazing.
Pit Bulls can make great service dogs but you can run into massive problems with breed bans, widespread discrimination and I'm sure more than one "concerned parent" would call her boss to complain about the "vicious" dog she brought to work with her.
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