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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone!

I do not have a dog at the present but am looking to get one soon. I suffer from PTSD and am looking for a dog that could serve as some kind of a therapy dog or at least an unofficial emotional support dog.

Growing up we always had dogs and other animals as we lived on the stereotypical Appalachian family farm. I got a lot of companionship and comfort out of my little buddies. However, they were always "outside" dogs. Being a little kid, I didn't really know any better and to be honest we didn't exactly have the money to maybe do right (regarding staying up to date on vaccinations and such).

Times have changed though. I'm an adult now and I'm trying to learn as much as I can and do right by a dog before I get one.

I look forward to learning from all of you and if you know of anywhere I should start digging, feel free to let me know.

Thanks!
 

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Hi, welcome.

Can you describe what a typical day / week would be like for a dog with you, maybe we could make some suggestions?

And, if you want to start preparing, have a look at Kikopup's videos on YouTube. She has great material on everything from basic manners to cool tricks.

And of course, ask here if you have any questions :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
@JoanneF

Thanks for the video suggestions (lot of information there) and the help with figuring out some more suggestions.

A typical week for a dog with me would mostly be doing things like hiking around some local lakes a couple times a week, hanging out with me as I work in the yard, and hanging out as I work on collegework. I don't know if I live the kind of lifestyle that would be fair for a dog with a ton of energy but I like to get out and do things. Also, I have some young nephews so hopefully my next dog is okay with children.

I mentioned before that I was interested in a dog that might serve as a kind of therapy or emotional support dog because I have PTSD and I occasionally have flashbacks and issues related to that. One of my doctors recently suggested I look into this kind of service type dog. My issues don't happen in public so much anymore so I don't know if I would need to get paperwork to bring my new friend with me places but just having a dog that could help center me and bring me back to the present when things get rough would help a great deal.

The dog that is my avatar is the last dog that I had. I'm not sure what breed she was but if I had to guess she might have been part Shiba inu or perhaps some kind of corgi/akita. She just kind of showed up one day and adopted us. She was pretty empathetic. After being involved in a car accident, I suffered seizures and she would let me know somehow if I was about to have one or if I was pushing myself too hard and making conditions more likely for one to occur. It was pretty amazing. She was also a great hiking companion. Hiking without her now just feels strange. I miss her and I would very much like if I could find another dog with her kind of temperament.
 

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Just sharing what was a lifesaver for me, literally. My Chelsea. She was a mini schnauzer and I've owned them since I was little, so maybe i'm bias, but I feel I owe her my life while dealing with PTSD. They are so in tune with their humans, social, need moderate exercise, happy, they are typically good with children....I can't help but think to suggest a mini schnauzer for one. I lost my Chelsea in March at almost 15YO, and we ended up welcoming a mini schnauzer puppy in Sept, Ozzy. But i'm sure what I say next applies to many breeds, I just don't know which ones.

They are very intelligent and need a lot of mental stimulation. I can use my creativity by inventing games to play with him to keep his mind busy. I can give examples if requested. At the same time, it keeps my mind busy. This helps me focus on the games and keeping my dog busy and not on negative things.

I hope the latter helps if the rest didn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@Schnauzeluv

I'm sorry for your loss and that you have to deal with PTSD also, but thanks for suggesting this breed and the ideas for games. These are great suggestions!

This is one breed that I hadn't thought much about but now that you mention them, I think my great grandparents had one when I was little. His name was Cricket and was one of the smarter dogs I've had the pleasure of knowing. I'll definitely keep them in mind.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Apart from helping with PTSD, and hiking/hanging out with you what are you looking for in a dog?
 
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Your views on size, grooming needs and ease of training would be helpful. I do agree schnauzers are awesome dogs, provided you are happy to have their coats clipped every few weeks.
 

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Oh, ok.

I'm looking for a small to medium sized dog that is relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. I wouldn't mind giving the little guy or girl a haircut every few weeks but I'm looking for a dog that doesn't shed a whole lot. We had an Alaskan Malamute in the past and although she was a great dog, I'm not looking for a big shedder right now. I'd like an intelligent dog that would be easy to work with but I do have the time now to work with a dog to do the extra training if need be. What I'm mostly focusing on trying to find is a dog that is a good balance of affectionate/intelligent.
 

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A mini schnauzer or poodle would tick those boxes. Poodles can be left in a shaggy clip if you don't like the traditional look.

Or a working cocker, but I'm not sure you have so many on your side of the pond. They are a bit more of a handful though.
 

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Oh, ok.

I'm looking for a small to medium sized dog that is relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. I wouldn't mind giving the little guy or girl a haircut every few weeks but I'm looking for a dog that doesn't shed a whole lot. We had an Alaskan Malamute in the past and although she was a great dog, I'm not looking for a big shedder right now. I'd like an intelligent dog that would be easy to work with but I do have the time now to work with a dog to do the extra training if need be. What I'm mostly focusing on trying to find is a dog that is a good balance of affectionate/intelligent.
Toy or miniature poodle?
Chihuahua? Don't let their tiny size fool you. They more than capable of keeping up on long walks. They also love nothing more than being with their human. Long hair chihuahuas need regular brushing, but don't shed and don't really need much in the way of grooming. Make great alert or "watch" dogs because they're small, but yappy. Also fearless. :D
 

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Regarding grooming and mini schnauzer, they do require brushing pretty much daily, but my little guy loves to be combed lol. So it's like I'm petting him and that increases our bond. If you didn't want to give hair cuts yourself, you could bring them to the groomers every 2-3 months or so. The shorter the coat, the easier to keep combed. I just gave Chelsea haircuts myself, and with Ozzy i'm learning to hand strip. They ARE a bit more involved with grooming, but honestly that sort of thing just helps my stress and mood even more. So relaxing.

They are very affectionate, Ozzy is my little baby. He is sleeping on my knee this very moment. Gives me kisses, real little tail wagger. Nothing augments my mood like a dog!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the replies everyone! These are breeds I wasn't initially considering. I'll definitely keep a more open mind. I would never have thought of poodle (Always thought this breed was too fancy.) or chihuahua (These little guys are intense.).

@Schnauzeluv I was looking at grooming all wrong. Instead of something I would need to worry about keeping up on all the time, it could be a special time to unwind and spend with my dog! It's like a bonsai tree that you can cuddle with.
 

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I'm really excited for you, @goodboi !
In my experience, most dogs are pretty empathetic and affectionate, regardless of breed - our dog is a shar pei cross, and though they're typically thought to be aloof, she's super-loving, even with strangers, and has given great comfort to us and our friends / family when needed! But it certainly makes sense to give yourself the best chance of developing a special therapeutic relationship if you start with a companion breed.

The only thing I'd caution, since you don't mention if you expect to leave your dog alone a lot: the flipside of breeds which were bred to be great company and to love to be with you can be that they struggle to be left alone. That's true of our dog, who has had severe separation anxiety ever since we rescued her despite a lot of behavioural training (very stressful all round!) But if you are able to be around most of the time for your dog, that's not such an issue.

I'd also suggest considering a staffie - good stamina for hikes but generally fairly modest exercise needs, and they are some of the most affectionate dogs I've ever met (that whole-body wag when they see you is hard to beat!) They're also very low-shed, and sadly there are often many in shelters, should adopting a rescue be an option for you. Just an idea!
 

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@Animals45 We've actually had Labrador retrievers in the past. They are a great breed of dog. Ours were very intelligent, good with people and children, and good companions (in home and on the hiking trail). I'm afraid that a lab might be too big for me right now though.


@Beth06 Most likely I would be adopting a rescue. In fact, I received an email not too long ago confirming that I have been approved to adopt at a local shelter. They currently have 2 medium sized dogs that might fit the bill (a beagle and a really mellow female treeing walker coonhound). You bring up a lot of good points though. I will keep an open mind when looking for an affectionate dog. I wish people in the US were more open to ownership of bully breeds. The few that I have come across have been big babies. So loving. However, a lot of apartments don't accept that kind of dog, in my area at least (should I ever have to move from the rural area in which I now live to somewhere else for a job). It is also good to consider, as you mentioned, the flipside of dogs that seek companionship dealing with anxiety.

I'm so excited about getting approved at that shelter though. I will hopefully get to visit (protocols for visiting animals is a little difficult right now due to the pandemic) within the next few days.
 

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I got my new best friend today. His name is Duke. He is about a year and a half old. As far as we can tell he is a lab/terrier mix. He is only 40 lbs and has the best disposition. He is already housebroken and listens to commands. He is a little cuddle bug. I don't think I could have been paired up with a better dog.

Thanks for all your advice and insight, everyone! I don't think I would have been able to be paired up with him and known the kind of dog I wanted without your help.
 

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Congratulations!! I'm so pleased that you've found the right dog for you (and vice versa) - Duke looks adorable and sounds like a sweetie! Good luck as he settles into your home; I hope you give each other all the love and support you could wish for...
 
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