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Exactly why are puppies from breeders a better choice than a rescue?

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

  
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Baby

What'd you say?- I wasn't- listening.
 
 
Barked: Wed May 8, '13 10:36am PST 
This is coming from a service dog handler of both a rescue (Baby) and a breeder picked puppy (Chaplin). I keep seeing the question of what dogs have the highest success rate of turning out the best for service work and routinely see the breeder puppy option (thus Chaplin). But why?

Wouldn't getting a rescue (not a shelter dog) at the age of 14-20 months that's been in foster care for about three weeks* be the most ideal choice?

*Common foster rule of thumb is a dog shows their true colors around 20 days of intake*

You have a better understanding of their personality, they've gone through their fear faze, you can perform a better temperament test, you know if they're food motivated, and at 2 years you can get a bit better of an idea on health. Most of the time you'll get a dog that already knows the basics, whether taught by the foster or previous owner.

Baby was easy. He knew sit, down, stay, loose-leash walk, he didn't pee in the house, he didn't wake me up at 3am to pee, I didn't have to watch him like a hawk in fear of him swallowing something because he's a land shark...

Of course I don't regret Chaplin but a puppy is a lot of work and if you haven't raised a puppy before it's even harder. You don't know if something he or she has been exposed to will have negative effects on their personality later or not, etc.

Yes, well bred pups have a higher chance of having fewer health issues, but it's not 100%, there are abnormalities that can pop up in even the best bred litters. Or if you're looking for a specific size, I've seen some of the largest puppies come out the smallest of the litter.

So why not a rescue?

Out of curiosity
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Nova

1184372
 
 
Barked: Wed May 8, '13 11:13pm PST 
Many answers to this, but a quick one is that if you get an adult rescue, you have an unknown puppyhood and puppyhood is the most critical time in a SD's life. The outlook the pup gains about the world wouldn't be evident from a few weeks of a foster family.

One of the greatest benefits of really knowing what you're doing when you're raising is that the pup gains a great deal of flexibility and learns how to handle himself in stressful situations and with stress in general. We're not talking situations that can be contrived in a few foster weeks; we're talking month five of heavy-duty SD training which no foster stay can replicate. That's why you have responsible OTs washing out 18-month-old dogs they have had in training since 8 weeks old.

MOST dogs are not suitable to be SDs. Guide dog programs which have bred their own dogs for decades, begin working with them the day they are born, have them in heavily regulated raiser homes, and then with professional trainers for 6-ish more months. Even these guide dog schools have a wash-out rate of about 50% (a bit more or less depending on the school and when you begin considering released dogs wash-outs).

So the chances of finding an adult rescue who has not had three of those four crucial components (decades of specific breeding, very early work, very purposeful upbringing, and a professional trainer finish) that would actually make it as a true service dog are so, so incredibly slim. Heck, the chance that a dog picked from a private breeder would actually make it as a true service dog are also slim, but nowhere near as tiny as the adult rescue.

(By "true service dog" I mean dogs who are truly trained quality SDs, not the unqualified dogs in service dog vests being inappropriately dragged into stores in droves by every dog lover who manages to convince themselves they qualify as disabled under the lack of certification requirements of the ADA...any dog, rescue or otherwise, would work fine for that! smile )

Oh, and I'm all about rescuing dogs! I volunteer weekly at my local SPCA and all my pets are rescued! It's wonderful to try to save a dog's life, but think of how stinky it is for the dog when you have him for 6 months and then have to wash him out, which is what would happen in all likelihood. That's not so great for the dog to have to start over with a new family again, assuming you have to rehome and can't keep collecting rescue wash-outs! (Because again, you'll probably have to go through quite a few dogs to find one that might work out.) And by "you" I mean "one."
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Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 6:19am PST 
I don't agree with that I know a lot of people are do. But I do feel that rescue dogs are more happyer to please cause they've been rescued form a worse sinerio or just love to be loved. I really believe that a lot of shelter and rescue dogs have potental to be SDs and we should give them a chance too.
I feel breeders condem really good dogs to death and a lot of times you can even find true breeds in a shelter and rescue.
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Baby

What'd you say?- I wasn't- listening.
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 2:43pm PST 
So you couldn't conduct a canine good citizen test after the settle in period?

But yes, that's true about moving the dog around. You can only have so many; I had to stop fostering before my house was overrun with animals haha.
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Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 3:37pm PST 
I just understand why people feel that it matters if a dog is full breed or not I have had both and I feel it is how the dog is raised not it's breed that makes a dog a good canidate for SD work.
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Iris vom- Zauberberg

Service Werewolf
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 4:03pm PST 
It is extremely important how the puppies are raised. They should be gently exposed to as many people and situations as possible that are safe for the puppies. They should be exposed to children and to cats and to a wide variety of surfaces to walk upon. Exposed to water and baths and having their nails clipped... being handled in every way.

That is so the puppies grow up in a way that they will less likely to be afraid of new situations or men in hats or children or lightning storms... of have trouble with things that can cause a SDIT to wash out.

It doesn't stop when the puppy SDiT candidate arrives at its new home, either. It's a big job to condition and expose the puppy to the world so that it is confident and able to be calm in chaotic situations.

Puppies from dams known to have produced puppies that have the solid temperament that works well in service dog work are possibly also good candidates.

It's all about getting everything you can in your favor, because owner-training is not easy. It is very difficult. I sometimes think that Public Access Training does not get the respect and energy it deserves.

I have two friends who use rescues as their SDs, but they have also been dog trainers for 10 and 20 years respectively. They have worked very hard with their dogs. I would not expect to be able to copy their success with my level of experience.

There are many options for owner-training. I believe in stacking the deck in your favor as much as possible so that you have a better chance in ending up with a fully trained SD and not a dog you must wash out.
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Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 4:12pm PST 
I agree with you all about the raising but I also feel that it is proven that a lot of behavors and trama can be undone also. A lot of proffessionals have proven that too.
I feel love and patients also has a lot to do with training and rehabilitating a dog.
There are so many dogs in shelters now and so many good dogs being put to sleep.
We are not counting all animals in the shelter that are being put to sleep and abused cause of over breeding and rejections form breeding and programs I have read and research this I am not talking
out of no where. I just feel that people should try finding a match in shelters or a rescue breed center.
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Iris vom- Zauberberg

Service Werewolf
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 4:37pm PST 
All of my pet animals have been and will continue to be rescues. I can't take the chance with my SD that a hidden trauma will come out unexpectedly. I chose to go the breeder route with my SD.
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Nova

1184372
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 4:39pm PST 
You certainly could conduct a CGC test after the dog settles down, but the problem is that the CGC test tells you exactly nothing about the dog's potential as a SD. I am confident in my abilities to train just about any dog on this planet to pass the CGC with flying colors; less than 1% of the dogs on this planet are SD material.

That's the point I was trying to make. You can certainly train the tasks and skills the dog would need. You can train ANY dog to do just about any task. You can't train the "soft skills" that are THE most crucial part of a dog's ability to be a SD. A dog is either born with the potential for them or not, and if he does have the potential for them they can either be cultivated to reach that potential or not.

Puppyhood is the most crucial time to cultivate those soft skills.

Is there a dog sitting in a rescue somewhere in this world that has the potential to be a successful SD? Yes. What are the chances that I am going to be able to find this dog? Infinitesimally small. About the chance that I have to be the first astronaut to go to Mars. Sure it *is* possible, but I really shouldn't bank on possibility coming to fruition and if the ability to conduct my life were at stake there, I should probably find a more likely career; it would in reality be a waste of time for me to try to be this astronaut (even though I think it would be the coolest thing ever!) smile

As a side note, my guide dog school is often asked about using rescues as guides (and berated for not doing so). The school actually DID try using rescues as guides a few years ago (and the dogs that don't pass as guides also get a shot at trying other types of service work, so we're not just talking guides here) and the results were abysmal! This school knows what it's doing, has its act together, had the financial resources to search all over the country and the best canine training expertise in the country (on par with other guide schools), and it was an utter failure. Those dogs didn't make it as guides or other types of SDs.

I would LOVE for it to be possible to go to a few local rescues and find the perfect SD, but the reality is it's just not possible.
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"Selli"

The Muddy- Princess
 
 
Barked: Thu May 9, '13 7:35pm PST 
Genetics play a role in a suitability of a dog to be a service dog....there is a reason that a)most service dog organizations use specific breeds and b)if they are large enough they have their own breeding program.

In addition to the behavioral stability, there are also health issues to consider. Not all of these issues are visible in a two year old dog...and they are problems that can occur in mixed breed dogs as well as pure bred dogs. A dysplastic at two may not show any symptoms but that may shorten his career significantly.

There is plenty of evidence that a pup out of parents that have hip and elbow clearances is at much less risk of dysplasia, however rescues seldom have evidence of clearances, unless the dogs are x-rayed when they are selected. Then their are other health risks....pigmentary uveitis is a problem in goldens that does not appear until a dog is a senior (around 8 years). The smart choice seems to be a pup from a breeder or program that will do everything they can to produce a healthy long-lived pup.
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