Hello From CA, What type of dog would be best for my situation

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Hello From CA, What type of dog would be best for my situation

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Old 10-10-2016, 08:12 PM
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Hello From CA, What type of dog would be best for my situation

Hello From California.

For the last 6 months I have been searching for the right dog to become my service dog. I have read and read and read about too many breeds to think about. I have jumped from full breed to mixed breed from small dog to big dog, from adopting to purchasing form breeder and I am at my wits end.

A little about my lifestyle, I am pretty much a homebody. I like relaxing at home in front of the tv, going for walks at the park and just being at home. I love dogs, any dog really. I have gone to so many shelters in the last 6 months they know me by name. Visited tons of events with rescue groups and it is draining, both physically and emotionally.

I was "prescribed" (is that what its called) a service dog by my primary care doctor after a year and a half of being medicated for PTSD, Anxiety and Depression. I had bonded with a dog that would visit our office everyday. She was so attached to me and I to her that the owner had agreed to rehome her to me. Once I had her trained and had fallen in love with her, the owner changed her mind. That was devastating and really took me down a rough patch in my recovery.

Now every time I think I have found the right one something goes wrong. I fell in love with a little Maltipoo mix that was up for adoption at a shelter here but when I tried to spend some time with him he wanted no part of training. The shelter said he wasn't a good candidate for me. Luckily he was adopted quickly by another family.

More emails and reading and research later and I absolutely connected with a 5 month old Poodle-Pomeranian mix. But by the time my application was submitted there where 12 applications for him. I went to the shelter this weekend and met an Australian terrier mix that was such a sweetheart, but was over 6 years old, according to the PTSD service dog program that is too old to start training. I went to an event over the weekend for adoptable dogs and there was a sweet and calm spaniel, she was such a sweetie, but she is 8 years old. Then I met a little spunky 3 year old Maltese-Shih tzu mix. I spent a good 2 hours with him. And towards the end, I was told he has food aggression issues, which the program told me it was a BIG no, no for service dogs.

I get really depressed leaving any animal at a shelter let alone one that looks at me with such sweet sad puppy eyes.

So my question is, what would you suggest I research more, as in what type of breed. Adopt or purchase a puppy, (I would rather adopt but its hard to find a dog with the required temperament)

I live in a 2 story apartment, its not small and not large but cozy. I have had and trained an Alaskan Malamute before as well as a poodle. I know Alaskan malamute is out of the question, too large for an apartment with no yard and they have their own mind and if they don't want to train...they wont! lol Love that breed.

I have looked at small due to living space, but cannot have a dog that is prone to barking too much. I am leaning towards middle sized. Maybe Sheltie, Poodle, Basset Hound.

Sorry for the long post, thanks in advance for your suggestion and advice.
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Old 10-10-2016, 08:33 PM
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Maybe look at something like a Cavalier or a Papillon. Yes there is maintance with there coats but from what I learned just recently is that both are great dogs in there own right.

Papillons love to learn and are large dogs but in a tiny body. From what I have read they are not barkers and love to learn and to be with there people.

Cavaliers love people love learning and tend to be gentle souls. They are bigger (some going a little over 20lbs) but still on the smaller side. They aren't good for people with small pets.

Now mind you I just learned this recently, I'm searching for my and my fiancÚ first pup.

However from growing up there is one I can think of but it definitely is in the larger dog category:

Boxer- more on the hyper side, large, love having a job & learning, very people friendly and it's hard not to smile with a boxer butt wiggle and there silly grins (but there size wouldn't work for you)
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Old 10-10-2016, 08:49 PM
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Hello and welcome! What you're looking for is not considered a "service dog" per se. Its a "comfort dog." I have PTSD as well and it was recommended to me that since I am also physically disabled (not to the point where I need assistance from a dog/person), and spend at lot of time at home alone, that I also get a comfort dog. Since my physical disability makes it impossible for me to give a larger dog the outdoor exercise it needs, I got a Yorkie to keep me company and also provide a calming feeling and also makes me focus on his well being and less on what is happening around me so I'm also calm. Depending on your physicality and your ability to take a dog out and exercise, that's how you should choose your animal.
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:58 AM
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I'm a big fan of the Shih Tzu (see avatar lol!)
They do well in apartments, they don't shed, they're not big barkers and they don't have any working drive since they were bred to be companions.

Besides the breed, in your situation, since it's so specific, I would look into a puppy from a reputable breeder. You've really put in a good search at this point.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:46 AM
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What is the dog going to be doing for you? Is it a service dog or an Emotional Support Animal? Service dogs are trained to do a minimum of two (I believe its two) tasks that are associated with their handler's disability. These tasks are like retrieving items, opening doors, alerting to seizures, supporting a physically weak handler, blocking the public from getting too close (without any aggression), and so much more.

If your dog is going to just be around you, to help relax you and give you comfort then it is an emotional support animal.

Knowing what the dog is going to be doing for you is very helpful!
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Old 10-11-2016, 03:47 PM
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McCourt, the OP may in fact be talking about an SD rather than ESA. Dogs can be trained to assist with psychiatric disabilities. Psychiatric service dogs are sometimes lumped in with ESA's, the difference being the trained tasks or lack there of.

Yessyd21. After working with my prospect for a while, I have come to regret not going with a puppy from a breeder. I personally am very new to dog training and I do not know about your experience training dogs, but I have found several of my girl's bad habits very difficult to break. I got her at nine months and have come to realize that she was very under socialized, slowly we are working through the issues but I wish we had started at the very beginning and prevented instead of fixing unwanted behaviors.

If you have the experience and patience to handle an older dog, I say go for it. I know many handlers have rescued and their dogs are doing great. But the first thing I would consider for a SD is what size would work best for your needs, for a psychiatric SD that usually only refers to how much pressure would be beneficial for you when the dog provides DPT for you. For me I need at least a 40lb dog to apply enough pressure to ground me effectively, it would be different from person to person. But if you need the dog to lead you away from a triggering situation I would not recommend a small breed. Temperament and having a dog that wants to work were my second main concerns when selecting my prospect, if I had a chance to do it over again I would have hired a trainer/behaviorist to help with temperament testing and would have brought someone that was not my Mom. Mom definitely pressured me into choosing Saria, she is working out so far but it very likely could have gone very wrong. Appearance based attributes and suitability for other activities were definitely a last consideration in my list.

Though if in fact you do just need an ESA the above paragraph means next to nothing to your situation. As long as you and the dog get along there are not really any other major considerations that need to be taken into consideration, outside of personal preference and living space restrictions.

On average a service dog takes two years to be fully trained, but you will always need to maintain the training or a situation may arise that you need to work on so technically training never ends. Some states do not allow the same access rights to SDiTs as SDs so you will need to look that up. Also while not required, Assistance Dogs International has standards on its website that is a great starting point for things you need to train.

Sorry I rambled and became unfocused. But that is what I can remember off the top of my head, I hope it is helpful despite the rambling.
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Old 10-11-2016, 04:12 PM
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Thank you everyone for your response and help.

I do require a service dog, not just an emotional support dog. Although I need both I would say.

I need to be able to teach him/her to catch my focus when I have a panic attack by nudging me. I also have some nervous ticks that I need to teach a SD to catch and again take focus away from. They need to be able to step in front or behind me to create distance between me an the public, due to my PTSD I am super claustrophobic and hate when people are too close. I also have batches of severe Vertigo and although I don't find it crucial it would be nice to be able to brace myself slightly on my service animal or have them lead me to a chair when my vision is too blurred due to it.

I have considered Labs and golden retrievers but due to living space find that it may not be doable. I have looked into Labradooodle and goldendoodles and collies and so many more, I jump from one to the other and when I finally feel like I made up my mind Something else pops up and I start questioning if it is the right choice.
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Old 10-11-2016, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveGus View Post
Maybe look at something like a Cavalier or a Papillon. Yes there is maintance with there coats but from what I learned just recently is that both are great dogs in there own right.

Papillons love to learn and are large dogs but in a tiny body. From what I have read they are not barkers and love to learn and to be with there people.

Cavaliers love people love learning and tend to be gentle souls. They are bigger (some going a little over 20lbs) but still on the smaller side. They aren't good for people with small pets.

Now mind you I just learned this recently, I'm searching for my and my fiancÚ first pup.

However from growing up there is one I can think of but it definitely is in the larger dog category:

Boxer- more on the hyper side, large, love having a job & learning, very people friendly and it's hard not to smile with a boxer butt wiggle and there silly grins (but there size wouldn't work for you)

I have actually researched the Cavalier quite a bit as well. I have not been able to find any adoptable ones here though.

A friend of mine actually has a Boxer as her service dog.
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Old 10-17-2016, 09:48 PM
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Unless you are a very experienced trainer it's going to be tough to train your own service dog. The pro trainers actually don't have a very good success rate per number of dogs started. Many wash out for all kinds of reasons. To select a single dog and train it to do the work is very difficult. It could be at least a couple years down the road before the dog really reliably can serve you. For example, how would you train the dog to retrieve medication if you had an epileptic seizure? How would present this to the dog? You would probably be incapacated very quickly and unable to command the dog. You would have to convincingly present this to the dog. Not just say "Rover, meds". Frankly I have a real admiration for service dog trainers. Many service dog providers selectively breed their own dogs. Even so if they get two out of a litter of six they are doing pretty well. Both may still fail. This is why service dogs are expensive.
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Old 10-17-2016, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by yessyd21 View Post
Thank you everyone for your response and help.

I do require a service dog, not just an emotional support dog. Although I need both I would say.
Then you should be buying a trained service dog. They are usually selectively bred and professionally trained.

If you just want unconditional love, adopt a pup! They all know how to do that!
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