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Christina

Seeking a very specific kind of breeder- can anyone help?

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Psmitty- I would really appreciate not being called "rude" if you're obviously going to be ignoring the disrespectful tone of Julie's posts. ("Poo-pooing"? Really!?).

 

Service dog candidates are raised with a variety of experiences- walking on moving surfaces, acclimating to medical equipment from an early age, have feet touched, ears pulled, fur pulled, things they don't expect to see like opening of umbrellas or flapping of plastic tarps, sounds of thunder, fireworks, trucks, trains, buses, cash registers, children, etc. Waking on various surfaces not limited to grass and concrete. Associating with other animals including dogs, cats, horses, sheep, chickens (obviously easy for a farm).

 

There are more methods than I can possibly list. But, once again, this is not the only criteria that I am looking for. I want to work with a breeder who has time to talk to me about what I need and isn't going to leave the description of their puppies at "they are all good pups, pick one."

 

You folks are making it sound like every breeder would cater to this when that is simply not the case. Why it bothers anyone that this is my personal preference is WAY beyond me.

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And for the love of dog NOBODY has suggested that anyone is "anti-service dog"!! Stop saying that! Jesus!

 

I only said there seemed to be a vendetta against them because of the snotty attitude towards me.

 

Admin, can we close this thread or something? I will find help elsewhere.

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And for the love of dig NOBODY has suggested that anyone is anti-service dog!! Stop saying that! Jesus!

 

Well, I was about to say I didn't call YOU rude, but then there's that.

 

Thank you for elaborating on what goes into early SD training.

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Please close this thread.

 

This has been extremely upsetting when all I have ever asked for is recommendations based on the things suggested by THIS GROUP.

 

I see now that this clique is closed and not accepting new members.

 

So please close this thread. I had very good intentions when I initially posted and now I see that those will never be acknowledged. I am hurt by the attitude towards anyone new to this scene. I hope you all realize that you are not going to be around forever and if you really do want to preserve the Border Collie you are going to have to accept newcomers at some point.

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If you stop posting inflammatory things, Christina, people will stop responding, and this thread will die a happy death.

 

ETA: I see you've now edited your previous and other posts. So I did, too!

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I hope this does not blow up in my face since I don't always seem to be able to get my thoughts across....

 

This is my pov and my pov only! And this is also a total generalization (and yes, I know there are service dogs of all breeds that provide invaluable services to their charges) just because I can not cover all possibilities.

 

The reason why I would not recommend someone a BC as a service dog could go something like this....they are working dogs bred, in an ideal world, for one purpose. Of course in todays world we want/need/prefer our BC to also be super well rounded dogs, working ability should be the most important point. If I make my living tending sheep and depending on a working dog, there are many things I can and will live with because the job at hand is the most important. I by the way also hold this opinion with other working breeds. There is a bit of a trade off at times. Personally, I prefer a GSD that does carry some natural defense and is not just a toy driven play machine that is easy to train and looks flashy in competition but will not bring a bit of bite to the table when needed because it has been bred out. So if a dog startles a bit, responds to noise or different things initially but recovers quick, or is a bit of a pain learning tricks because all it wants is sheep...I can deal with it as I want sheep too! As a service dog though, based on what I have seen and read...this is undesirable and it would be preferred not to have to train these responses out but rather not to have them in the first place.

 

And following that paragraph, then there is the whole genetics vs, environment debate. I totally believe in exposing dogs to ENS or the true, real life equivalent. This is because I believe that a dog that is secure, does not worry about, and I use this term for lack of another, life...it will have better chances at excelling, without detours, in its predestined job. And again, working dogs are bred for a specific task. Everything else to me is gravy!

 

Labradors, Golden Retrievers and the more traditional service dog breeds are of course also working dogs. Or at least they were. The split in the breeds is a lot older than the BC divide. And today many programs use generations upon generations of dogs bred as service dogs. They are often also in closed programs where very experiences people do they testing and the evaluation of the tests based on years and years of knowledge of those specific lines and breeds.

 

As many, I have several friends/acquaintances that utilize service dogs. One has a lab from a program (guide dog), three others have home trained support dogs (balance, psyche and one chi who helps his owner who is in a wheel chair with chores around the house plus mental support). The breeds are a chi, a lab, a newfie and a bully breed. Would anyone have recommended three out of the four for a traditional service dog? No. But there goes the exception.

 

So, do I believe that there are BC's that make wonderful service dogs? Totally. Would I recommend one? Probably not without some reservations which would no doubt be voiced. So I think it is fair to say this maybe where some of the advice came from as far as maybe recommending another breed? And having said this...have there not been people on this board that love BC's and use them as service dogs but certainly have issues to overcome that are maybe somewhat based in the genetics of the breed? Now, could be that my memory is tricking me here.

 

Does this take into account the fact that you already have a BC service dog? No. Of course you know best what suits you. What you can deal with. Exactly what kind of service you need provided to you and what dog can do it.

 

Forums are a funny thing. Few people know each other. And few can take all day to put down all their thoughts, experiences and expectations in a single post. That is why this is destined to backfire. Plus, once the old "my experiences trump yours" is thrown out there....yeah...it is not nice. While I have been typing this, things have taken a down turn even more.

 

Christina, none of the things you mentioned about the exposure a service dog pup needs are probably new to most. These are dog people. If they are like me, they have seen many shows, talked to quite a few people and understand real life enough to get that.

 

You have the right to look for what you want. But I will say, your statement about not being able to find it and maybe therefore having to breed it yourself...does that not somewhat take away breeding for the one purpose of breeding for livestock work?

 

I would hate for you to turn away from the forum. Simply because I do believe in the power of different opinions and experiences. It is tough at times. Going through something myself at the moment. But sometimes it makes sense to look back a bit and maybe let emotions rest for a bit and re read. I can be very prickly! Some might even compare me to my very defensive GSD at times...but usually, when I calm down a bit, one of two things happens...I may see the others point and am able to take something from it...or I am reconfirmed in my knowledge and believes and will maybe learn to not let others get my hackles up quite so fast!

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P. Smitty wrote:

 

"I don't know if it belongs here, or if someone would start a new thread, but I'm curious about service dogs, training, upbringing, etc. What *needs* to be done differently in the first 8 weeks of life to make a dog a good candidate for becoming a service dog? I've actually been wondering since another recent thread, where someone wanted to get a puppy for a companion and possible future self-trained SD, and it was said that a puppy from a rescue situation wouldn't be a good idea. And I was wondering, even an 8 week old puppy who'd been born into rescue, or come into rescue at a few weeks old? Just something I was thinking about, and now it comes up here again! That what we consider "normal" puppy-raising and socialization isn't enough for future service dogs. Since any training happens well after 8 weeks when a puppy typically comes home with new owners, what special things need to be done before that?"

 

I don't wish to get into the main discussion in this thread, but did want to add just one observation regarding the above underlined sentence.

 

I fostered a JRT/BC mix (best guess) that was picked up as a stray out in far SW Virginia. She was a very confident little pup and small (~14 lbs at ~6 months of age). She was adopted by an awesome girl, who at 18 years old, puts most of us to shame when it comes to training dogs. This girl is legally blind (can never drive a car) and has social interaction issues. In addition to training the dog for flyball (as a fun activity), she is training the dog, by herself with the occasional help of a local ex-service dog trainer) to be her service dog - picking up things she drops, riding with her on the bus, warning her of curbs (which she can't see) and of approaching cars, and I don't know what else.

 

This pup is probably an exception, but it warms my heart to think of this little pup, with an unknown background, wandering the country roads at a young age, who is now getting trained to be a service dog and has yet to fail at anything. I am not posting this to say that this rescue dog could be a service dog in all situations/handicaps, but she has certainly enriched the life of her owner.

 

Back in my hole now, but just wanted to share a feel-good story.

 

Jovi

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I don't know, they put up with me... Julie has been extremely helpful in getting my dog started on sheep and put up with some really ridiculous questions without ever getting rude. Anyone I've contacted through the boards has been equally helpful.

 

FWIW, my best SAR dog came from a puppy life of being dumped on the side of the road. I doubt he was exposed to ens, but this guy was bomb proof...

 

I've been biting my tongue and simply reading, so I'm hoping this comment is well received. If you think of everything a trialing stock dog goes through, they have to be pretty stable, as well... If it's not your standards, hopefully one of the other breeders will work out... You could also consider doing something between the 8-12 week mark.

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So if a dog startles a bit, responds to noise or different things initially but recovers quick, or is a bit of a pain learning tricks because all it wants is sheep...I can deal with it as I want sheep too! As a service dog though, based on what I have seen and read...this is undesirable and it would be preferred not to have to train these responses out but rather not to have them in the first place.

 

I think I understand what you're saying here. As a SD Border Collies do act much differently from other breeds. They are reactive to motion and can't necessarily be trusted with children carrying balls, toys, etc. I don't find any of the typical BC behaviors unacceptable for SD work. Just very different. I personally don't like GSDs, Labs, and Goldens. I prefer the different capabilities of a Border Collies as a service dog.

 

FWIW here is a video of my Border Collie (red and white) and my partner's puppy (from Patrick, black and white). I don't know anything about my dog's life before he ended up in a shelter.

 

Both dogs are practicing public access commands like heeling, sitting when stopped, laying down and staying in one position when stopped for a long period of time, and focusing on the handler with distractions. That last one is the reason I love Border Collies so much- no breed can ignore distractions like a BC.

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10201066901527592&l=6524948268770572497

 

Christina, none of the things you mentioned about the exposure a service dog pup needs are probably new to most. These are dog people. If they are like me, they have seen many shows, talked to quite a few people and understand real life enough to get that.

 

I've just realized that a key problem here is that I am basing my expections of breeders on my experience with breeders. I have met a few working breeders (who I will not name) that did not do the things I am requesting. This is why I am searching for something specific.

 

You have the right to look for what you want. But I will say, your statement about not being able to find it and maybe therefore having to breed it yourself...does that not somewhat take away breeding for the one purpose of breeding for livestock work?

 

No! I was waiting for this point to come up. The difference is in raising the puppy. I like working Border Collies. I don't want to change anything about that except the way the dog *I* choose to use as a service dog is raised.

 

I would hate for you to turn away from the forum. Simply because I do believe in the power of different opinions and experiences. It is tough at times. Going through something myself at the moment. But sometimes it makes sense to look back a bit and maybe let emotions rest for a bit and re read. I can be very prickly! Some might even compare me to my very defensive GSD at times...but usually, when I calm down a bit, one of two things happens...I may see the others point and am able to take something from it...or I am reconfirmed in my knowledge and believes and will maybe learn to not let others get my hackles up quite so fast!

 

Thank you.

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One of my pups was a service dog....he was raised like I do with all of my pups....born in the house, raised in the house until 8 weeks, handled extensively, dragged everywhere, downtown, etc.....car rides, the local pub, you name it....Bongo had tow children in wheelchairs who could barely move their arms....he picked up everything for them and put everything away for them. He also walked next to their motorized chairs in heel position, waited at lights, got in front of the chair at street corner and stuff like that. The mom trained him. He loved the two boys and they handled him a lot. He was very gentle with them. They had some form of disease which they died from by 12 or so, then he came home. Now he is a semi-service dog for a 80plus year old lady. He is semi-retired as well. When the first owner came to me looking for a pup, I wasn't sure but she described what she needed in a dog and Bongo had those traits, calm, willing, noise proof, easy to train and so forth. I remember asking her why not a lab and she said she had one but it was too bulky, meaning his body was too big and it would brush against the boys legs and it would be painful. So Bongo went on a test run and he learned his job quickly. They would come out to the farm once a month as the boys loved feeding the sheep and chickens. I was amazed to see how the pup grew up into a gentle dog. He adored those boy and when they passed, he grieved. He came home for a while and my friend needed a pet for her and her mom so he went to his second career. Did I do any special training for him as a pup for a service dog....nope, the same, ole stuff I do for all my pups. I just saw the traits the woman described in him as a pup. Not of his littermates had his super calm wanting to please people attitude. His parents were my open trial dogs, Zot and Mick.

 

The top SAR/avalanche handler in Whistler has gotten two dogs from my lines. He got Hector quite a few years ago. He came to me based on word of mouth. Made the trip down from Canada to see my dogs work sheep. He handled them (put hands all over them, etc) and ordered a pup. When the pups were born, he came down weekly and handled them and then picked his pup. Hector ended up being the top avalanche dogs up there. He got a Roo pup to replace Hector when he retired. I asked him why my dogs and he wanted rock solid personality with the old fashioned work ethics and good health.

 

So I guess my ENS is the old fashioned raise in the house routine. When I get company, I send them to handle the pups. Plus they go everywhere and ironically enough, the spouse play music (band) in the studio next to the barn, so they become bullet proof to loud noises and gangs of people.

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The top SAR/avalanche handler in Whistler has gotten two dogs from my lines. He got Hector quite a few years ago. He came to me based on word of mouth. Made the trip down from Canada to see my dogs work sheep. He handled them (put hands all over them, etc) and ordered a pup. When the pups were born, he came down weekly and handled them and then picked his pup. Hector ended up being the top avalanche dogs up there. He got a Roo pup to replace Hector when he retired. I asked him why my dogs and he wanted rock solid personality with the old fashioned work ethics and good health.

 

Oh cool - Pretty sure I "know" this person on another forum! I had no idea his dogs were from you :)

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I seriously have to wonder sometimes why there seems to be such a strong reaction a lot of the time when border collies as service dogs is brought up as a topic, there seems to be a lot of underlying resentment and disapproval. When I posted here looking for breeder reccomendations it was suggested that I choose another breed

 

Christina -

This is where where it was suggested that people were against Border Collies as service dogs. And why I posted what I did re: other breeds. Simply trying to point out that since other breeds had a long track history of being well suited for service work it is not at all a sign of disapproval or resentment when people suggest said breeds.

 

I think G. Festerling did a much better job making the point I was trying to make.

 

Anyway, good luck in your search. I hope you're able to find a pup that is a great fit for you.

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P. Smitty wrote:

 

"I don't know if it belongs here, or if someone would start a new thread, but I'm curious about service dogs, training, upbringing, etc. What *needs* to be done differently in the first 8 weeks of life to make a dog a good candidate for becoming a service dog? I've actually been wondering since another recent thread, where someone wanted to get a puppy for a companion and possible future self-trained SD, and it was said that a puppy from a rescue situation wouldn't be a good idea. And I was wondering, even an 8 week old puppy who'd been born into rescue, or come into rescue at a few weeks old? Just something I was thinking about, and now it comes up here again! That what we consider "normal" puppy-raising and socialization isn't enough for future service dogs. Since any training happens well after 8 weeks when a puppy typically comes home with new owners, what special things need to be done before that?"

 

I don't wish to get into the main discussion in this thread, but did want to add just one observation regarding the above underlined sentence...

 

...This pup is probably an exception, but it warms my heart to think of this little pup, with an unknown background, wandering the country roads at a young age, who is now getting trained to be a service dog and has yet to fail at anything. I am not posting this to say that this rescue dog could be a service dog in all situations/handicaps, but she has certainly enriched the life of her owner.

 

Back in my hole now, but just wanted to share a feel-good story.

 

Jovi

 

Here's another feel-good. On FB, I follow a group called "War Dogs Making it Home" which pairs veterans (often with PTSD or TBI after-effects of their service) with dogs. The dogs seem to be a range of types, from small to large, and the handlers as well, from petite women to hulking big men, from easily ambulatory to wheelchair-bound. And I am right, the dogs are usually shelter dogs (which, in this case, might especially make them suitable for their job as many of these veterans may be vulnerable to feeling abandonment, etc.).

 

So, while I know little to nothing about service dogs, there does seem to be a place as a service animal for many of those who might not be considered "traditional" service candidates. I guess a lot depends on the situation, and I am sure the experts and those who benefit from a service animal will be the best ones to know what is going to work for a particular person.

 

So, just a feel-good aside. :)

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Julie I'm.... done, responding to you. I don't know if it's your intention but you seem to just want to provoke a response and argue and I'm not contributing to the cycle anymore.

 

I second the recommendation for contacting Denise as well as reading her book. She is a very nice, helpful lady and her book was an enjoyable read.

 

Many of you have asked about ENS and what service dog breeding programs entail for the puppies before 8 weeks of age. Apparently my and Christina's brief descriptions were "poo-pooed" so I did a quick google search and came up with some good sources of information on the first page.

 

http://puppyprodigies.org/Early%20Learning%20Focus.htm

http://puppyprodigies.org/Early%20Learning%20Program%20Highlights.htm

http://kalaharirr.tripod.com/achiever.html

 

I have never said that what working breeders do isn't enough, my own service dog is working bred and the breeder didn't do ENS. But seeing as this is my first service dog, next time I get a puppy it would be much more preferable if possible to find a breeder that does do ENS and other forms of early socialization and imprinting. If I can't find that I'll just supplement the puppy when I get them as I did with Link. However it seems silly to not take advantage of the window of opportunity from 2 days to 6 weeks old if it will help my dog be better adapted to their future career. Puppies are already a crap shoot so I'd like to do everything possible to stack the deck in my favor. This is also not to say that rescue or shelter dogs cannot make good SDs, it's just a very rare occurrence and most handlers would not choose to take that risk, or if they have they usually don't with the next prospect.

 

Now, the topic of border collies as service dogs, I largely agree with a lot of what has been said. If someone was looking into getting a dog to train as a SD and they were thinking about border collies I would take much the same precautions if someone were looking to get one as a pet. This is not a breed for everybody. However, when it is the breed for you there is no going back, no substitute. The thing that is frustrating to me personally is when people are recommending I look into a different breed when I've already had this breed for over 10 years, I already have trained one as a service dog. This is not a subject open to debate. I am well aware of the pros and cons of this breed and for me the pros far outweigh the cons.

 

I cannot stand the traditional SD breeds (sorry to those that like them), and I just wouldn't be able to live with one. There is also no denying that these breeds come with their own list of cons. I can see why they may be good choices for things like guide work and retrieving, but I don't require any of those things. Border collies are simply better suited to my disability, and IMO have great potential to be better suited to many others' as well. Which is why someday I hope to be able to breed and train my own border collies for those people. And no, realizing that some puppies from the litter may make good SD prospects does not take away from breeding for livestock work. The choice of who to breed in the first place, as well as who to breed after, does. And I have no intention of compromising that.

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Christina -

This is where where it was suggested that people were against Border Collies as service dogs. And why I posted what I did re: other breeds. Simply trying to point out that since other breeds had a long track history of being well suited for service work it is not at all a sign of disapproval or resentment when people suggest said breeds.

 

I think G. Festerling did a much better job making the point I was trying to make.

 

Anyway, good luck in your search. I hope you're able to find a pup that is a great fit for you.

It's frustrating that this is still being misunderstood. When I posted that I was honestly asking a question. I didn't understand why there seems to be disapproval from some people of my choice to use a border collie as a service dog. It appears, based on G. Festerling's response as well as your agreement with them that you simply believe other breeds are a better choice. I've already explained above why that is so frustrating and why it comes off as being disapproving as someone who has over 10 years of experience with this breed. I'm not saying that you are anti-service dog, for all I know you all just don't think I should use this breed for this work. I just don't know how else to get this point across. I guess if you don't understand what I was trying to say, just please ignore that post, because I'm getting really tired of the misunderstanding.

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I watched a NatGeo program on Sunday evening about service dog breeding and training. I think much of the program was filmed in Britain. One of the tests done early on was to observe the dog to see which front paw it moved when it started to walk, suggesting that dogs are strongly left or right pawed. It was explained that a right pawed dog was the better choice for a service dog because they are thought to be more emotionally stable and more of a "people dog". It was added that dogs whose hair goes in counter-clockwise swirls are also chosen above dogs whose hair goes clockwise (I think I have this right but it might be the other way).

 

So....first thing I did was check my three. All are strongly left pawed. All of my dogs are very stable in regard to noise, motion. Lady likes men, but not women. Brodie loves everybody - I take him into my mother's assisted living complex and he visits with men, women, old, young (staff), including stroke patients and the learning disabled residents. He's been to nursing homes as well and doesn't react to plastic gloves, those floaty dr gowns, wheel chairs, walkers, IVs and carts rattling down the hall. To him it is all part of the scenery. He brings a great deal of comfort to people. A man who rarely talks or shows emotion whistles and smiles when he sees Brodie and Brodie runs to him.

 

Robin likes certain people really well and tolerates others. He shows no preference for men or women but rather focuses on those who seem to really like him. He doesn't react well to people who are learning disabled. He is also the dog that really, really, *really* likes sheep. Brodie likes sheep too but he has his own off switch; he'll look then walk away. Robin needs to be called off, repeatedly until he is out of sight of them and headed somewhere interesting - like the creek.

 

(Brodie and Robin are littermates by the way)

 

I thought I might train Robin in some assistance skills during his first year when I was quite ill. I had specific things in mind - to be able to carry a pack, to pick up things (laundry and whatever else I dropped.), to open handicapped doors, and to help me balance by walking very close to my left side, the direction I tended to tilt. I took him everywhere that I thought I might want to go when he was a pup - even the library, which is one of four buildings in my town that actually has an elevator. He did well with going out, was great with walking once he learned to heel (that was a battle!), and took to a pack with grace. I decided to not risk socks, etc. when he was young because he was a chewer of some regard. I did teach him and Brodie to pick up their toys and put them in a basket; very handy when it comes time to mow the lawn.

 

I thought that Rally might be "my thing" with Robin. It moved at a slow enough pace that I felt I could do it. I realized partway through the first class that he wasn't loving it at all. He would do the moves for me quite well but he was only doing it to please me - his heart wasn't in it. We tried agility. I wasn't loving that too much - too expensive to do, I thought. All that equipment to buy or build.

 

One day I was at a friend's who had a fenced ring, practicing my rally moves. She and a friend were doing a lesson with their Border Collies. Robin came alive; really alive. I saw for the first time how focused and happy he was when he was doing something that he was bred for. Looking at him, I remembered the Border Collies of my childhood and how they effortlessly and beautifully they worked and took such joy in what they did. I sat down with my dog and made him a promise - that we would do that.


So we did. Robin still helps me with things. We continue to work on doors, going out in crowds and visiting different stores. He walks easily on a leash when I push the cart. Sometimes I let him pull the cart. He's not a mouthy dog, except for his toys - having been corrected more than once for chewing as a pup. (I think that will be Brodie's job. He's actually much more trick oriented and quicker to learn than Robin.) I've recently realized that Robin orders my life. He has recently decided that 6 AM is a good time to be rising and when he nudges me I know that it is five minutes to the hour. He's also woken me at night when I've been thrashing about in a nightmare. 10 PM is bedtime. He shows marked concern when I stay up late grading papers. While he's flexible on his feeding time, about 3 PM (but only on weekends) he starts in talking about "going to the farm" because that is when we feed on the weekends.

 

The other two dogs do not exhibit these clock watching skills. Scotty, the dog I lost, did to the 9th degree. Dinner was served at the same time every night and when it was time to go out, he sat in front of the television until someone moved.

 

So, my dogs are not service dogs by definition but they do preform jobs and could learn more. The thing is, it isn't what makes Robin and Brodie the happiest. They do what we ask and as the bond has grown, offered some behaviors because they love us. What they love to do, is sheep, cows, chickens...

 

I think a Border Collie could be trained to do just about anything - but you really have to ask yourself. Is the dog's heart really in it? Though you can control some variables, a single pup from even the best bred litter is a crap shoot regardless of how it is raised. You might want the experience of breeding/raising your own pups, which many people do. I would have loved to have a pup by Robin or out of Ladybug - but what would have happen to the other five or six in the litter? You have to ask yourself - is it for you - or them? Will the animal - be it a dog, a horse, or a frog - , be fulfilled in what you want it to do? What will you do if it washes out? We don't have many choices in life, but we do have the choice about what kinds of animals we bring into our lives, what we do with them, and how we treat them. What will you do if the animal washes out of its expected work? I think it is fair to categorize me as a pet owner. Any animal that I own means a commitment for the natural life of that animal. With nine sheep, 3 dogs, and a cat, I'm pretty well booked up for the next 10 years or so. I won't be bringing so much as a goldfish into this house - and I have to say that when you go from two dogs to three, it's a whole 'nother country. If you are serious about being fair to the animal you want for a service dog, get one that has a better than average chance of being able to do the job you want. Get a Border Collie to work sheep.

 

I guess this is my swan song on this board....not that folks will really miss me but I'm going to gain back an hour or two a week that I spend reading these bickering threads....there's just something fascinating about a train wreck but I think I can do without it.

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DeltaBluez, if it's about ENS they're probably referring to the study the US military did which lead to the development of their Bio Sensor program which is now known also as Super Dog or ENS.

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I'm sorry but I kind of have to laugh at your post ejano so I don't get overly annoyed. Yes, Link's heart is very much in his work. He lights up when we go out, is happy, relaxed, and usually has a big grin on his face. He regularly gets his vest off the shelf and brings it to me, excited to start our day. He loves task training and is very serious about his work. Like most border collies, he lives to be useful. If you ever saw him out working you'd have no doubt he loves his job and is very fulfilled. Oh and we are getting ready to trial in USBCHA too ;)

The washout question is a good one, and one I had to face when Link was going through his worst teenager phase. There is no way I could live without this dog, service dog or not, he will be with me for the rest of his days. A lot of owner trainers who have to wash out the dog choose to keep it as an emotional support animal and train another dog for service. Most retired SDs live the rest of their lives with their handlers. These dogs are very much loved and fulfilled.

 

ETA: I just want to clarify because this is how your post came off, are you one of the people who thinks pet owners shouldn't own border collies, or that border collies that don't work sheep aren't fulfilled?

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I second Flamincomet's comment about wash outs. My dogs are in my life permanently. I take that kind of commitment very seriously. A wash out will go back to being "just" a trial dog. And if they hate that too, then we will find something else to work on :)

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"just" a trial dog... am i offended by that or am i being overly sensitive to a tongue in cheek remark? given the path and passion of this thread one might choose one's words a bit more carefully.

 

dave

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