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Looking For Service Dog Candidate


Guest mjaynes288
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Guest mjaynes288

I am looking for a service dog candidate. My last service dog was a lab/poodle mix. He was wonderful and worked great when I lived with my parents with a pool in the backyard to exercise him. When I moved into my tiny apartment he was way to much dog for me. He retired to my parents' home over 2 years ago. He is almost 9 now and walks over 3 hours and plays ball for at least 30 minutes a day. After all that he still isn't tired.

 

I have conditions that cause chronic fatigue and pain. My energy level fluctuates. Some days I walk 1.6 miles to the grocery store and after I shop I walk back home. Other days it takes me 30 minutes to walk around the block. I am looking for a dog who can go a few days with just potty walks around the block and short clicker training sessions but would be interested in longer expeditions when I am up to it. I thought of a greyhound because my family got a greyhound oops puppy when I was a preteen. After he grew up he did not require much exercise but he would happily walk as far as I wanted.

 

I really want to avoid a puppy if possible so I have been looking into retired racers and I have some questions.

 

The main taskes I need my service dog to do are counterbalance (especially in my apartment which is not accessible), deep pressure (leaning), and retrieval. The ladies at the meet and greet were skeptical I could teach a greyhound to retrive. I figure if I get a food motivated dog I can shape a formal retrive like I did with my last dog. Am I wrong?

 

Sleep aggression has me worried. Once while I was at the library a toddler snuck up on me and used my napping service dog as mattress. I only notice when I heard noise from under the table. I try to protect my service dog from muruading toddlers but this one slipped through. I cannot have a service dog that wakes up growling or biting. Are there retired racers who do not have sleep aggression?

 

I am sure I will think of other questions soon.

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Guest jetska

Mouse doesn't sleep startle and Barbie was counterconditioned out of it. Teaching a greyhound to retrieve is not impossible but may take more patience than a lab/poodle mix. They will be good at leaning on you, though.

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There have been a few people here over the years who had a greyhound service dog or in some cases as an emotional support dog. I'm not sure how many are still here on a regular basis.

 

If you can make contact with Brooke Lim via Twitter or Facebook, she has a retired racer named Dee Dee who is a very successful service dog. Brooke is a member here, but I haven't seen any posts from her in quite a while. She had done a lot of research and helped guide others who wanted to train a retired racer for this task. Brooke's Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/aroundwthehound

 

Keep checking back here as well, as the greyhound community is pretty helpful and you will find that someone here will know someone who can help you.

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Not saying greyhounds can't be taught to retrieve, but I've never seen one do it consistently. Greys are fabulous dogs but they are sighthounds and sighthounds are just wired a bit differently from retrievers (and Poodles were originally water retrievers) to chase down game on their own instead of bringing it back to their master.

I've had greys with sleep startle that never went away, greys that had it at first (I have a scar from that one) but lost it later and greys that never had it at all.

Edited by Hubcitypam
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Since you require a service dog that actually DOES things, I wouldn't look to a Greyhound since there are so many other breeds out there that, by their nature, would perform better.


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With patience I believe greys can be taught to retrieve and pretty much anything you want them to do, but it would take time and patience.

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http://www.awesomegreyhoundadoptions.orghttp://www.awesomegreyhoundadoptions.org/

 

this groups provides service dogs for veterans, but may be able to answer your questions better than we can.

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Greyt Heart Service Dogs

 

http://www.greythearts.org/

 

Of course greyhounds make great service dogs. All they need is proper training

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Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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The main taskes I need my service dog to do are counterbalance (especially in my apartment which is not accessible), deep pressure (leaning), and retrieval. The ladies at the meet and greet were skeptical I could teach a greyhound to retrive. I figure if I get a food motivated dog I can shape a formal retrive like I did with my last dog. Am I wrong?

 

 

 

 

Since you require a service dog that actually DOES things, I wouldn't look to a Greyhound since there are so many other breeds out there that, by their nature, would perform better.

 

 

The counterbalance and the leaning requirements have me concerned. Greyhounds have skinny legs and long backs neither of which are ideal for putting more weight on them then they would normally carry -- meaning they are built to just support their own weight.

 

As GeorgeofNE says, maybe there are better dogs out there to meet your requirements - one that comes to mind is a pit bull mix as they are very strong and would likely not have a problem with leaning or being used for balance.

 

 

edited to add ... I should also add that greyhounds may tend to be more independent than other dogs, actually sighthounds are general are more aloof and independent. These dogs have been bred to act independently and not really be a "partner in working" like a shepherd (for example) would be. Hunters used these dogs and let them go do the catching and then bring the food back - the dogs were on their own. Other breeds would be very happy to learn things for you but, a greyhound is more like .. "what's in it for me" or the "really" look that you can get. You can't do long training sessions as they get bored and start looking around and do not focus on what you want. This is not to say that they cannot be trained, they can .. you just need to decide whether it is worth the effort and the time.

Edited by MaryJane
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I also agree that as a rule greyhounds probably aren't the easiest to train or ideal service dogs. In general, they tend to be lazy, sometimes aloof, and not always motivated to work or train. They may also not have the physical capabilities to perform tasks and work for longer periods as other working breeds do.

 

Having said that though, that does not mean there is not a perfect greyhound out there for you. Not all hounds fit the typical greyhound mould. There are many greyhounds who have been taught to fetch and retrieve (NeverSayNever greyhounds and ApexAgility both have blogs and videos on training the retrieval among other things).

 

There are service greyhounds out there, but it is a matter of finding the right fit. This means that I would not adopt directly from a track I would go through a service dog group (such as the link above) or else get one who has been fostered in a home. This way you can know the temperament, sleep startle/guarding issues, and workability.

 

Good luck, and I hope you find your perfect dog, whatever that may be :)

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Guest mjaynes288

The counterbalance and the leaning requirements have me concerned. Greyhounds have skinny legs and long backs neither of which are ideal for putting more weight on them then they would normally carry -- meaning they are built to just support their own weight.

 

As GeorgeofNE says, maybe there are better dogs out there to meet your requirements - one that comes to mind is a pit bull mix as they are very strong and would likely not have a problem with leaning or being used for balance.

By leaning I meant the hound leaning on me. This is a natural behavior of greyhounds I plan to harness. I am autistic. Deep pressure helps me to relax in difficult situations. Some people sit on the floor and have their dog lay across their legs. I do not like this as it attracts a lot of attention and most dogs are all elbows. I like a more even pressure. I was planning to sit in a chair or stand with my back to a wall and have my dog stand leaning into my legs.

 

I do not plan to ever place downward pressure on my dog. When I need that I would use my walker or crutches. I would use my dog as an anchor. If I start listing I pull up on a soft handled harness. Once I am fully upright the handle goes loose again. I am unable to pull on the harness with more than 5 pounds of pressure because my wrist and elbow fall apart. As a teenager I used to slip a finger or two under the front of my greyhounds walking harness. In a small space with a lot of seats that is all the help I need.

 

I will not use a pit bull for service work. It would cause many more access disputes and possible violence againest my dog. I live in an apartment and landlords are allowed to deny service dogs if their breed would cause problems with homeowners insurance. Then there breed bans. There was a man who was visiting a city with a breed ban with a pit bull service dog. His service dog was confiscated. He went to court and after months of fighting won his case only to find out his service dog had been euthanized the same day it was confiscated.

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Guest mjaynes288

The reason I am looking into greyhounds instead of retrievers is I do not need a dog to work long hours. I am rarely out of my apartment for more than 4 hours. Even on vacation I have lay down and take a long break after 4 hours. Most days I do not leave my apartment. When I had my retiever I had to spend all of my energy on exercising him. I had nothing left for cooking, cleaning, or shopping. My previous greyhound would exerise himself in a small backyard doing zoomies. There is now a totally fenced ball field near my apartment and I have seen people running their dogs there. People at church have offered me the use of their backyards.

 

I realise it will be harder to teach a greyhound to retrieve but the most important thing to me is getting a dog I can live with. Retrievers were not bred to relax 20 hours a day. My dog will need to be carefully selected but I feel a greyhound would be a much better fit for me.

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I think you can find one to suit your needs though doing so may take some time. My greyhounds did or do retrieve although I'm talking about a fetch retrieve, not a behavior that I've put on cue for a dog to go and get objects for me, but in the end, greyhounds are dogs and can be trained just as any other dog provided you are an efficient trainer and can find what motivates them. To that end, I would make it clear that you are looking for a bright dog who is very food motivated and who naturally enjoys play (balls, tug, toys, etc.) so you have added reinforcers in your toolbox. Your biggest challenge may be finding one that is on the brighter/easier to motivate end of the spectrum who can also go stretches with minimal exercise. If you're not familiar with nosework, I would consider taking a class with your dog at some point (if you're able) to learn the basics of the sport so that you can do it at home as a way to tire your dog out. Nosework can be very tiring for the dog and requires minimal effort/involvement from you once they become somewhat skilled. Between that and food puzzles (stuffed kongs and the Bob-a-lot are my favorite) you should be able to keep your dog entertained on those days when you can't walk much.

 

FWIW, I am a dog trainer and have 2 greyhounds and a mutt who I adopted at around 8 months of age. Because I enjoy training and being active (lots of hiking and camping especially) I've chosen greyhounds who are food motivated and active. Certainly there are breed differences and one can make generalizations - Skye (my mutt) is incredibly FAST at learning new behaviors whereas my greyhounds require more repetition - but the generalizations about greyhounds not being smart or good dogs to train are just off base. The big difference I've found - and this is true of many dogs who didn't get started with training early in life, or who had experiences where they were trained by being told what not to do and never kindly shown what to do - is that greyhound don't just start offering behaviors from day 1. They sort of need to be taught the game of training. Once they learn that when the reinforcers come out they need to start working to figure out what's expected, it's game on. And again, being an efficient (and by efficient I mean someone who is clear about showing the dog what they want, has good timing on reinforcing and especially raises criteria in a way that the dog continues to be successful quickly and thus gets loads of reinforcement in the training sessions) trainer will go a long way toward your goal.

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Not saying greyhounds can't be taught to retrieve, but I've never seen one do it consistently. Greys are fabulous dogs but they are sighthounds and sighthounds are just wired a bit differently from retrievers.

I have two that retrieve consistently. Jen Bachelor has trained all of hers as well. With the right dog the retrieve won't be an issue. They're not naturals, but they can be taught.

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Greyt Heart Service Dogs

 

http://www.greythearts.org/

 

Of course greyhounds make great service dogs. All they need is proper training

 

hey Robin - weren't they at GIG last year??

 

mjaynes288 - I would really suggest you talk to these folks! They had several grey-service dogs at a greyhound event in Gettysburg last year so they CAN be trained to do what you need!!

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Guest BlueCatch

Catch retrieves but only for a couple of tosses. Once she is done, you can't convince her to do it again. She will always be a good leaner though.

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Guest daytonasmom

My greyhound is an emotional support animal, and he is absolutely perfect for it! I can't imagine him as a service dog, and if I needed one I would chose a different breed that is more focused on interacting with humans. Daytona, and most the greys I've met, are more like cats - they will interact when they want to LOL

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Guest mjaynes288

My greyhound is an emotional support animal, and he is absolutely perfect for it! I can't imagine him as a service dog, and if I needed one I would chose a different breed that is more focused on interacting with humans. Daytona, and most the greys I've met, are more like cats - they will interact when they want to LOL

I would get a different breed if I thought I could keep it happy. Greyhounds were not the first breed I thought of. Retrievers and herding dogs require at least an hour of hard exercise a day (full out running). I will not use mastiffs as they are to large to fit most places and their natural tendency to be protective does not mesh well with an anxious handler. Small/medium dogs can't do all the tasks I need though I have thought about it seriously. I really want a dog that can easily do counter-balance.

 

If anyone has ideas of breeds of with low exercise requirements over 50 pounds that do not have a history of guarding I would be happy to look into them. I don't want to get another puppy as you cannot know adult temperament or health until around 18 months. It would be nice if there were many well socialized dogs between the ages of 18 months and 3 years who have either been tested for hip/elbow dysplasia or are not prone to it. A service dog program kept numbers on the shelter dogs they used. 1-5% passed initial screenings for age, size and temperament. 50% of those were released due to hip dysplasia and other health issues. More were released due to temperament issues that did not show up on the initial screen. Finding a service dog candidate is hard.

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My 70 pound collie/golden cross (that would be herding and retriever) is three years old and calmer than most of my greyhounds ever dreamed of being. You couldn't pay him to run even 15 minutes a day but he does pester me when he knows it is walk time.. Dogs are all different, just like people. You can't paint all breeds with a broad brush.

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I'd recommend a retriever of some sort if only for portability. Greyhounds are not a very compact breed in terms of "go anywhere". A lot of those higher energy breeds can have their needs met with regular leash walks, play in the backyard or nearby field, and training. Trick training is actually how most of the higher energy dogs that I know (herders, retrievers, terriers) are "exercised" in the winter. My own dogs spent very minimal time outside this winter... we spent a tonne of time in our basement working on tricks and training.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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Guest mjaynes288

I do not think you understand my disability. If you are interested read the short story "The Spoon Theory" by Christine Miserandino. http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/ I do not have the same condition as the author but it has the same results.

 

I know how to exercise a dog in a small space. When I lived with my parents I had enough spoons to keep my dog exercised. When I moved out on my own I did not have enough spoons to cook, clean, shop and provide enough exercise for a high energy large dog. My dog was acting out from boredom/pent up energy and refusing to work. I will not put myself in that possition again. I need a dog that can be happy with short potty walks and short clicker session for an indefinite period of time.

 

I realize not all dogs conform to breed standards in energy level. I am looking for a young adult dog so I will know the energy level but I want to know the parents of the dog were sound. That is pretty much a given with racing greyhounds. I have contacted lab and golden breeders in my area about getting a young adult but none even bothered to respond. If I found a random bred shelter dog that fit my needs I would have to shell out for hip, elbow and possibly shoulder or knee x-ray and according to the statistics there is a 50% chance of washing the dog right there. I do not like those odds.

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Oregon Dog Rescue might be worth checking out.

 

I don't know how far OR is from WA, but this wonderful group, Old Dog Haven, might have someone to fit your needs:

 

The Oregon group I don't know, but Old Dog haven I do and they are fab. Good luck.

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Guest mjaynes288

Oregon Dog Rescue might be worth checking out.

 

I don't know how far OR is from WA, but this wonderful group, Old Dog Haven, might have someone to fit your needs:

 

The Oregon group I don't know, but Old Dog haven I do and they are fab. Good luck.

Thanks but I am looking for a service dog candidate. It is going to take me at least a year to train any dog. Most large dogs retire between the ages of 8 and 10. To maximize the working life of the dog most programs refuse dogs over 2 years old. I would be willing to go to 3 years. All of Old Dog Haven's dogs are over retirement age.

 

I know how to find rescue groups. It is just less than 1% of dogs in shelters/rescues could handle public access work. Look at Oregon Dog Rescue. They have 3 dogs large enough to do the work. A shepherd/husky mix who's breeds would cause trouble with my landlord's insurance. A 6 year old golden mix that is easily overwhelmed. A 2 year old lab that was given up because her owners could not give her enough exercise. The lab would be worth temperament testing if I had the ability to exercise her but I don't.

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Greyt Heart Service Dogs

http://www.greythearts.org/

Of course greyhounds make great service dogs. All they need is proper training

To quote myself, have you contacted this organization yet?

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Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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