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Old 25.08.2010, 21:19
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Choosing and training a service dog: advice?

I plan to get a dog in a year or so, and would like to choose a breed that has a natural aptitude for service. If he/she is inclined, I would really like to train for enrolment in one of the rescue services that work with dogs (REDOG or other).

I'm giving it a year because by then I should have a place with outside space, have narrowed down the right breed, and be (back) in good enough form to keep up with the dog and the other handlers. Any kind of mission interests me, besides of course mine clearing and, in my case water rescue.

Does anyone have experience? I'd be grateful for your advice.

Thanks, SB
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Old 25.08.2010, 23:12
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Re: Choosing and training a service dog: advice?

No personal experience - doG knows, mine are only good at rescuing biscuits from locked cupboards - but we used to train with a retired REDOG dog, a lab.

Goodness, he was amazing! He had the typical lab will to please, the trainability, the physical stamina - and he clearly, even at 12 years old, loved having a 'job'. He continued various types of training after retirement, simply because he got so much enjoyment out of it. Such a great dog!

Have you been in touch with the REDOG group in your area? I would imagine they would be happy to advise you.

Good luck - the REDOG dogs (and their people ) do fantastic work.
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Old 25.08.2010, 23:44
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Re: Choosing and training a service dog: advice?

if water rescue is part of it I would also look for a lab. The working type that is. Working type is usually livelier and skinnier then the typical show lab.

Our lab is "just" a house dog, but comes from a pedigree with worker dogs, his ancestors and siblings are all either gun dogs, sniffer dogs (drugs or people), helping dogs for blind or otherwise disabled people. You can learn them everything by rewarding (with food).

I choose a working type because I like labs, but I do not like the really big ones. (they are cute but for me I prefer the atletic type). And this one came up for sale because the litter was big and there were not enough adoption families for him to become a service dog for blind people.

Edit: actually we've met a rescue dog while camping in Italy 3 weeks ago: that was a white shepherd dog (Canadian?). Very sweet and very strong.
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Old 26.08.2010, 11:57
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Re: Choosing and training a service dog: advice?

Thanks guys!

A lab is certainly high on my list. I have seen a few in action as guide dogs and explosives detectors, and I do love them. The smaller labs would also be easier for me to handle. I've tried with the bigger labs but their strength is just overpowering!

My one concern, even with a slimmer lab, is weight: if I ever had to carry the dog I think it would be a struggle.

For this reason I am also considering a beagle, a spaniel or a terrier.

I will be in touch with REDOG once I've collected some more info. It's been a fantasy of mine to work with them for some time.
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