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dog breeds that train well for special needs/tasks?


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This is definitely a post for dog owners/experts. Thoughts from folks who have trained dogs to be working/visiting animals would be really cool.

 

I am currently researching dog breeds. Will be attending the local dog show in March to start interviewing breeders, but want to have narrowed it down to a few breeds by then.

 

This will be my first dog as primary owner. I want a smaller dog, but not one that is small enough to fit into a microwave, because believe me, around here, someone would do it. :tongue_smilie: Not fluffy, due to allergies and laziness (I barely comb *my* hair!), and not highly energetic. I have 1/2 acre, and have chickens, so can't be too much of a bird dog, but a herder would be very helpful. A dog that was a ratter would be good too. Also need a dog that can be alone some of the day without going too nuts. I will be working nights when I start the doula work, so that will help. Gonna get a girl dog.

 

What I am also looking for is a dog that can be trained for special tasks, much like that of a guide dog. I will be training the dog to tell me when someone is at the door, and when my phone rings (due to severe hearing loss issues), etc. She will also need to be good with babies and old folks, and will most likely be sort of a visiting dog. My mother's assisted living home loves dog visitors, and I will sometimes take the dog with me when I nanny.

 

 

 

Breeds I am considering are mostly hounds and terriers, and would love to hear opinions relating to my very specific needs.

 

Not in any order:

Basset Fauve De Bretagne

Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen

Hamiltonstovare or Beagle (I hear they are not easily trainable-thoughts?)

Black or golden lab (highly trainable, but on the big side)

Border terrier (how trainable?)

Smooth fox terrier

Jack Russel terrier

Boston terrier (I would love, love, love one of these dogs, but my entire family makes fun of them. I am not sure why- I have met several dogs of this breed, and they have all been lovely dogs.

 

Mixed breeds- I am looking at labradoodles, goldendoodles, but not many other mixes I know about. Thoughts?

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This is definitely a post for dog owners/experts. Thoughts from folks who have trained dogs to be working/visiting animals would be really cool.

 

I am currently researching dog breeds. Will be attending the local dog show in March to start interviewing breeders, but want to have narrowed it down to a few breeds by then.

 

This will be my first dog as primary owner. I want a smaller dog, but not one that is small enough to fit into a microwave, because believe me, around here, someone would do it. :tongue_smilie: Not fluffy, due to allergies and laziness (I barely comb *my* hair!), and not highly energetic. I have 1/2 acre, and have chickens, so can't be too much of a bird dog, but a herder would be very helpful. A dog that was a ratter would be good too. Also need a dog that can be alone some of the day without going too nuts. I will be working nights when I start the doula work, so that will help. Gonna get a girl dog.

 

What I am also looking for is a dog that can be trained for special tasks, much like that of a guide dog. I will be training the dog to tell me when someone is at the door, and when my phone rings (due to severe hearing loss issues), etc. She will also need to be good with babies and old folks, and will most likely be sort of a visiting dog. My mother's assisted living home loves dog visitors, and I will sometimes take the dog with me when I nanny.

 

 

 

Breeds I am considering are mostly hounds and terriers, and would love to hear opinions relating to my very specific needs.

 

Not in any order:

Basset Fauve De Bretagne

Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen

Hamiltonstovare or Beagle (I hear they are not easily trainable-thoughts?)

Black or golden lab (highly trainable, but on the big side)

Border terrier (how trainable?)

Smooth fox terrier

Jack Russel terrier

Boston terrier (I would love, love, love one of these dogs, but my entire family makes fun of them. I am not sure why- I have met several dogs of this breed, and they have all been lovely dogs.

 

Mixed breeds- I am looking at labradoodles, goldendoodles, but not many other mixes I know about. Thoughts?

 

We had MIL's Jack Russell and I am not sure how calm they would be. She was a great ratter though. But VERY hyper.

 

When I read your description, I thought of Border Collie. They are supposed to be very smart and easily trainable. I knew an elderly couple who had one and she was not too energetic for them (she was able to go out on her own) but she was so well trained and the couple relied on her for all kinds of things, i.e getting the newspaper from the end of the driveway in the winter.

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We had MIL's Jack Russell and I am not sure how calm they would be. She was a great ratter though. But VERY hyper.

 

When I read your description, I thought of Border Collie. They are supposed to be very smart and easily trainable. I knew an elderly couple who had one and she was not too energetic for them (she was able to go out on her own) but she was so well trained and the couple relied on her for all kinds of things, i.e getting the newspaper from the end of the driveway in the winter.

 

I know several border collies, and they are so sweet tempered- but that hair, oh that hair! Our last dog was a gordon setter, with long hair and long fetters on her legs- she was miserable to groom. I just don't think I can do it, lol.

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Can you seek out an organization that assists the hard of hearing with getting trained service animals?

 

I suppose if something like that is available, you would end up getting a dog that is already trained in some basic skills, and then probably would not get to pick the breed/breeder. But the help with training would be nice.

 

Anyway, I am no dog expert, but I have owned dogs all my life and have trained a few in ways that were convenient for me (no special tasks). It takes hours and hours of work. I spend many hours training a dog so that it will be reliable to do what I ask just in terms of coming (even when distracted by a squirrel or another dog), sitting and staying, etc. It's basically like having another child, but a child who is less predictable and more able to do real injury.

 

It sounds like you have a very very busy life. I would just caution you that in the short term (maybe for a couple of years) training up a dog will require a tremendous investment of time and energy. You reap the rewards long term, but for a few years, you need to have a couple of extra hours a day to exercise a dog, train it, work it, etc. When you own a dog, you can't just have days when you are "too tired" to exercise it. And when you are new to this, you have to do a lot of "lesson planning" lol.

 

I personally think that one person needs to do the bulk of the training, too. In my experience, you can get the kids involved in the longer term, but short term, one person needs to bond with the dog and work daily on training, and it probably needs to be an adult.

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I've learned a fair bit, albeit 2nd hand, from SpecialMama. They have an Autism Service Dog.

 

Honestly, I'd really encourage you to contact whatever service dog agency is in your area.

 

Not all dogs, despite being from the same litter even, are capable of being trained to the extent that you're looking at, and its something that even the very experienced trainers can't predict until they're in the intense training period. They're also incredibly well socialized.

 

A beagle is a scent hound. Probably not the best choice if you have chickens, etc.

 

A Jack Russel tends to need constant work, can be quite high strung and hyper.

 

Most common breeds used for service animals tend to be the Labs and Goldens.

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. I want a smaller dog, and not highly energetic. Breeds I am considering are mostly hounds and terriers, and would love to hear opinions relating to my very specific needs.

 

Not in any order:

Jack Russel terrier

?

 

given your requirements, stay away from a jack russell terrier. they require LOTS of stimulation and are very energetic.

 

Also, observe the breeders dogs before you choose, and look for intelligence and calm. the same breed can vary greatly, in both disposition and energy levels.

 

There is also a kind of medium German Shephard -belgian malinois - that some police municipalities are using since it can go places a larger dog can't.

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Terriers ARE bird dogs. Hounds are hunters. Jack Russells - don't get me started.

 

The smaller you go, the yippier you get.

 

Whatever you do, don't train it yourself - get it professionally trained. I may not be popular saying this, but I don't care - no matter what anyone says they are going to do with their dog, the training, unless they personally are a professional dog trainer, will never approach that which a professional trainer can accomplish.

 

My 5 year old family dog was trained to be a service dog in ONE month by a professional trainer. That is the difference a professional can make. (yes - that was a special case: she has a genetic predisposition to predict seizures. But still - she went from NO training to perfect off leash, able to protect me, able to bring me home)

 

I would second a poodle. There are some very gently bred lines and they can be groomed to be very low maintenance. A medium size (as opposed to toy or giant) would do well.

 

I have an Airedale terrier that is AWESOME (no shedding, no dander), but she is definitely a defiant birder (they run 50-70 lbs). The next "size" down from her with the same fur is a Welsh terrier, but they are h*ll on wheels attitude-wise.

 

Beyond that, please listen to Danestress. I have seen more (inadvertently) neglected dogs than I have cared to in our romp around the world. They really are akin to having another individual living in one's household -- an individual who must be taken care of as if they were a toddler most times.

 

Finally, service animals are particularly "moody". They are trained to be there for YOU. They don't take kindly to being paraded around to help everyone else on the planet - even if they CAN in some small measure. And they don't take kindly to being left alone, even for short periods. If you feel you need a service animal, seek one out. If you want an animal for all of those other needs, you need ANOTHER animal for that.

 

Do you feel you can bring TWO animals into your life at this point? Especially two who probably won't like one another?

 

 

asta

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That's one tall order, lol!

 

I think you may need to reevaluate how much the "services" are worth to you in terms of training, exercise, and grooming.

 

You mention labs, but I want to point out that my lab/rottie mix can put out huge amounts of hair even when I give him a daily brushing. He may not be fluffy, but he's still hairy!

 

The less-hairy service dogs I've known have needed plenty of good, hard exercise in order to be able to focus on their quiet, calm work.

 

In my experience with my own dogs (I also have a GSD/rottie), dogs give in direct proportion to what they get.

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Corgi, trainable, social, smart. Sheltie is another option, but they need a lot more grooming.

 

I would stay away from any terrier, they are hard to train and will want to eat everything (animals) - and beagles are extremely hard to train. Mixed breeds are also not a good idea for very specific needs, you really won't know what you are getting.

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We have a small mini poodle (the runt of the litter). She is so good. I groom her myself about once a month. I bought clippers for $30 and just keep her trimmed. It is really easy and takes about 1 hour including a bath. She is very smart and loyal. She is so much fun and loves to play as much as she loves to cuddle. We have not bothered to train her to do much; she is obdient and seems to understand my commands - not that she always obeys. She comes back when she is called. She will stop yapping when I get her attention and tell her to NO. She is calm when needed, and delightfully hyper on a walk or while playing. Good luck

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My DS has a service dog. She's a German Shepherd, albeit on the smallish side (~60lbs). The organization we received her through gets about 1/2 their dogs from rescues and the rest they breed themselves. The dogs in their breeding programs are German Shepherds, Labs, Goldens, Poodles, and Papillons, or any conbination thereof.

 

Out of the dogs they don't breed themselves only about 10 per 100 temperment tested at 6months are put into service dog training. Only about 5 of those graduate to be full fledged service animals. The percentage is SLIGHTLY higher with the dogs they breed themselves.

 

If you want a dog that can do a few things to help you around the house, by all means train it yourself. If you want a service dog, IMO, you should contact an organization that trains them for you. Good Luck.

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Can you seek out an organization that assists the hard of hearing with getting trained service animals?

 

I suppose if something like that is available, you would end up getting a dog that is already trained in some basic skills, and then probably would not get to pick the breed/breeder. But the help with training would be nice.

 

Anyway, I am no dog expert, but I have owned dogs all my life and have trained a few in ways that were convenient for me (no special tasks). It takes hours and hours of work. I spend many hours training a dog so that it will be reliable to do what I ask just in terms of coming (even when distracted by a squirrel or another dog), sitting and staying, etc. It's basically like having another child, but a child who is less predictable and more able to do real injury.

 

It sounds like you have a very very busy life. I would just caution you that in the short term (maybe for a couple of years) training up a dog will require a tremendous investment of time and energy. You reap the rewards long term, but for a few years, you need to have a couple of extra hours a day to exercise a dog, train it, work it, etc. When you own a dog, you can't just have days when you are "too tired" to exercise it. And when you are new to this, you have to do a lot of "lesson planning" lol.

 

I personally think that one person needs to do the bulk of the training, too. In my experience, you can get the kids involved in the longer term, but short term, one person needs to bond with the dog and work daily on training, and it probably needs to be an adult.

 

Good points. I have been thinking about a dog for almost 2 years now, and think that in about 9 more months, I should be ready and able to devote the time and energy to a dog. (If the perfect dog happens sooner, I will embrace it.) Doggy should only have to be alone for up to 3 hours during the day time- if that much, and not at all during the nights that I work, as there are others in the house.

The folks I nanny for now have already said if I get a dog, they want me to bring it to work with me, lol. So that part is good.

 

I really am looking forward to the training, and want to learn as much as I can about it before I get the dog. I do like the idea (from another post) of having someone train the dog for me- I think I will start looking into helper dog orgs and see what I can find out.

 

So what breeds of dogs have you had? Do you have any faves?

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There is also a kind of medium German Shephard -belgian malinois - that some police municipalities are using since it can go places a larger dog can't.

 

We have a Belgian Malinois. My understanding is that they are also less prone to hip dysplasia. She is definitely a working breed. She wants to have a "job". We have chickens and she chased them once, was scolded and never has again. On the other hand, she is high-strung and uber-protective. She does not like strangers. That is partly due to bad experiences that she has had(abuse and Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath) but may be in part a breed charactaristic. She seems to have something similiar to PTSD but it might have been easier for her become traumatized than another breed.

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