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Service dog question

A.J. Holst

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With my wife's recent stroke, I've been mulling over a GSD as a service / companion dog.

Primary job would be for momentary balance / stability (she is almost off a walker without therapy)

Plus safety / security for when I'm at work / out of town.

Added bonus of a non judgemental companion offering unconditional love.

I have a line on a 3 y/o female with excellent "bedside manner" meaning she already walks off leash and very social out in the world.

Off leash K9 training in Knoxville was the first google hit.

Wide open to any advice, opinions and suggestions.


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My neighbor breeds golden retrievers. Before his wife passed away she stayed in bad health for quite a while. I remember her telling me about one of her dogs helping her out in that regard just out of instinct. I’ve always thought that dogs are much more intelligent and intuitive than we give them credit for. 

I always had Labs and Rottweilers, with a few good ole mutts scattered in. I have a Shepherd now. I can tell you I am absolutely sold, so I don’t think you could go wrong there, especially with that one you have picked out. They’re known for extreme loyalty. 

I’m no expert of course (not even all that knowledgeable), but I would guess that most of the stout large breed dogs with strong family instinct might be a good fit for your intended role. 

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1 hour ago, A.J. Holst said:

$2800 for 2 weeks of boarded, service dog training.

Does this sound reasonable?


No, and not because of the cost.  Unfortunately becoming an actual service dog takes months.  The actual cost isn't what bothers me, it's the idea that within two weeks any dog will be trained enough to make a difference.

I think you have to go in with eyes wide open.  If you are expecting an actual service dog with the capabilities I think you are hoping for, then just buying a dog and sending it to training is not the answer.  If your expectations are that you are buying a pet with the hopes it could maybe help at some point down the road, then that is a leap of faith you are going to have to decide the risk on.

What happens when that dog doesn't do what you want it to or to the level you were hoping?  I hope the answer isn't just get rid of it.  I am not trying to be negative, but a dog that can assist in the manner you are talking about is not just a dog you buy and train in a couple of weeks.  

If you really need an assistance dog, talk to one of the organizations that does this professionally.  You will find that it takes a lot of time and money to get a true service dog.  It can't be a quick fix so to speak.

A 'companion dog' is absolutely possible, but one that can help with any mobility issues is asking a lot from what is essentially a pet.

Edited by Hozzie
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Honestly, y'all are going to have enough to deal with in the coming days - that I don't know that it makes sense to add a dog to the mix in the near term - especially one that hasn't already had extensive previous training.  A lot of dogs can be taught the brace command - but having a true service dog involves a lot more.

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On 9/6/2021 at 8:52 PM, A.J. Holst said:

Plus safety / security for when I'm at work / out of town.


 This really jumped out at me.

While you're at work or out of town will your wife be able to care for the dog, as in feeding, watering and letting it in and out ?

Another concern would be if your wife needed help while you were gone. How aggressive would the dog be toward strangers ( police or Emt's ) coming to your wife's aid ?


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Thanks @xsubsailor

Regarding her mobility, she anticipates smear full recover from the stroke.

She's mobile enough now for the in/out, feeding / watering.

Security in terms of a dog being a deterrent vs. a true protection unit.

And my out of town, as a rule, is typically a single night at a time.

Plus, we had a dog for almost 17 years and have been dogless for about 18 months.

Edited by A.J. Holst
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