I was pointed in this direction and so I'll post my thoughts- let it be known though that I was out at a club event all day today in the hot sun and my bad health is currently making itself known and throwing a temper tantrum, so I may have more typos or half finished sentences than usual.
I will start by saying a big THANK YOU to Meadowcat for thinking of me- Creed is still in training. I had thought of officially graduating him but he showed me in April that he still needed some work in high stress/multi-dog areas so we are holding off on that one. I did not get a PM, if OP thought sent one to me that's why I never responded.
I don't know enough about Lyndobe to be able to tell you one thing or the other about her. My dog is Euro and a blend of working and show lines, those are the lines I know more about than AmShow like what she breeds. That's what I prefer to live with and to train and to look at, and that's probably where I'll stay too.
I will say, however, that I don't recommend dobes for service dogs for beginners to working breeds, nor do I recommend them for those with disabilities related to panic or anxiety disorders. These dogs were initially bred to neutralize threats- what's going to happen when you feel threatened by the person in front of you that triggered you? This is a large (medium), powerful, energetic breed that struggles with nerve, courage, sharpness, and dog aggression, not to mention the plethora of health problems that they're prone to. Are you prepared for the worst case scenario- you spend years training your new partner only for them to fall down and die from cardio with no warning? This happens more often than you might think, and you need to be able to tell yourself that you're willing to take the risk that it might happen to you. Remember, roughly 50% of doberman will die from DCM... and if it's not my dog, it might be your dog. How's your luck with coin tosses...?
I don't mean to be rude, but depending on how large of a person you are, you may not be looking at a doberman for mobility work. A sizeable but within standard male is still only 90-95lbs. If that's not at least half your weight, then look for a larger breed. My male is a small but standard male at only 70odd lbs, good thing I'm tall-but-small at under 130lbs/5'10''! Even still, the only mobility I use him for is momentum as I still feel it is unfair to a dog his size to be leaning my weight onto his back or shoulders. Dogs were never meant to bear weight on their spines like that, so it's imperative to start with as sound spine and joints as possible and to be fair with the amount of weight we expect them to carry.
Dobes work like machines- this is something echoed by myself and nearly every single one of my friends with a doberman service dog. They put in their honest day's work and they give it their best shot. They're lifesavers in times of crisis and they ground you when you need it. Creed is the most reliable dog I've ever had. He's also been the most work to get to that point and maintain. A well bred, well selected, well trained doberman service dog is a sight to see... but your road to get there is not easy. Remember that even in dogs born and bred and raised solely for service work, there is a 60-80% wash out rate. Again- are you feeling particularly lucky?
I spent about two years researching various breeders, lines, temperament, health, longevity, versatility, etc until I found three breeders that all fit my bill as far as what I wanted and needed in a dog. One would be von Luka/Erynn Lucas, one would be Swift Run/Tammy Marshall-Weldon, and one would be who I eventually ended up going with Rebholzer/Traci Mulligan. Funny enough, Creed has both a portion of the pedigree that I liked in Erynn's dogs through his Incredible grandmother and a Swift Run grandfather, and ended up being exactly what I had been looking for.
Creed's breeder did ask me later to go into depth on what to look for in a service dog and we have had several conversations about it since, thanks to the success I've had with him and a few folks who saw that he's from her inquiring about their own need for a service dog. She's currently expecting another litter from his mother sometime this month- perhaps she'll be including some of that temperament testing with this litter if any of the other service dog people have signed up. I've also had a few of these conversations with some others on the UDC listings who have also had buyers interested in SD work. It is rather unfair to say that a working line or working bred (remember that those are two different things!) doberman cannot be a service dog or have a worst time of it than show line dogs when both have their pros and cons and most of why I don't recommend dobes for beginners is to do with the breed and not their lines.
I might have missed something, it's possible. I did a lot of standing in the heat today and am paying for it now. If I did I'll come back and finish in another post.
Sorry for the late reply, I've been working all week and have had no time or energy to get on the computer.
Anyways! Thank you so much for posting! I have very bad ADHD aka executive dysfunction aka I forget literally everything. I had a tab open on your profile and I just never got around to sending a message.
And this is lengthy and probably incredibly rambling, but it's almost 3 am, I've worked 20 hours in the last two days and I go in for another shift in nine hours, and I'm sorry. And I know this sounds rude or snippy at some points, and it's not meant to be, I'm just tired and couldn't careless to edit them to be more ~soft around the edges. Also, I might have misread something or forgotten something. Again, I'm tired.
And if you want to skip this post, I'll say now that my choice in breed was not my question. No offense. The question was never if she was going to be a doberman or not (unless you talked to me 16 months ago, because yeah that was a question then, but it hasn't been since I ruled out setters back in December and focused my research solely on dobermans).
A dobe will definitely not be my first working breed. I have ONLY had working breeds. We had a collie and lab, and we currently have a terrier, a husky/wolf mix, and an australian shepherd. I've also grown up around many, many breeds of pups and often help training basic obedience and rear end awareness (for bigger dogs who are most likely to go to families with kids) as a volunteer at the humane society. I have never worked on training with a dobe (though I have been around them quite a bit as we had three in our neighborhood when I was growing up), but I have worked with a cane corso, multiple german shepherds, a few great danes, samoyed, and a lot others. I've been around dogs as long as I've been alive and it's where I'm most comfortable. Training pups is something I genuinely enjoy, as well.
Also, oddly enough, a doberman was actually referred to me BECAUSE of my anxiety. Dobermans have higher sensitivity to stress and anxiety and all of the dobes I know as SDs are at least a combo including psychiatric tasks. Also I have a trainer who helps with people approaching. First responders occasionally have to deal with me because I have a knack to pass out and people tend to jump the gun on calling for help. Some of the public access training weíve talked about is people approaching when Iím down. And I know itís possible, two of my friends have seizure alert dobes, who frequently get approached when theyíre down. I spoke with them about training for the sort of thing, too, though they said they never trained for it because they never had issue with it in the first place. And yeah, all dogs are different, and my pup may not be like that, and Iím still going to train for it, but manners are always the first things I teach my dogs, and socializing her will be the first thing. To everyone, in every situation. To me laying on the floor, having people approach and crouch down while she lays with me. Having people touch her when Iím down because her vest will say ďemergency information inside.Ē Having people move me when Iím down. Everything that we can manage, weíre going to train for. This is actually something Lynne and I discussed along with some of her other training.
And I would never be prepared for losing her that, but it wouldn't negatively impact my mental stability. I'd be sad and devastated and guilty, but I've lost animals unexpectedly before, and it hurts, but I would retire her as soon as anything showed up, and it'd take rearranging some things in my life, but yeah, I've looked in to most everything I've found that could be any sort of issue. The health issues in dobes was the absolute first thing I looked in to, the health issues in every breed were the first things that I looked in to. And chances are, itís not going to be either of our dobes? The 50% overlooks BYBs and breeders who donít care. Both you and I have bought or will be buying from reputable breeders with longevity in their lines. Not saying all the dogs from those lines will have long and healthy lives, but it heightens my chances. Not all smokers get lung cancer, but those who smoke more do. Frequent smokers in this case would be considered BYBs. The majority of that 50% will be from BYBs or something of the sort. Of course it could be my dog, but then again, it could be yours, too. It could be anyones. I'm being careful in my decisions, but I'm also not basing everything off of a possibility, because if I did that, I'd be even further behind in life than I already am, thanks. So yeah, I'm careful in what lines she comes from, but I'm not going to act like she's dead at age five before I even have a pup.
And bracing... I would be putting no where near that much weight? It's pretty much. The stance, and placing my hands on the shoulders while the pup is leaned against me. Imagine leaning up against a wall. The wall is holding about as much weight as I would be placing on her. This is for vertigo and other things. I am not going to be putting any where near a large amount of weight on them-- it's to keep me standing, not to keep me from passing out. It's when I'm dizzy and stumble and need something to hold on to. I know bracing is also popular with mastiffs to help people stand up by pushing their weight down, but thatís not the only type of bracing and I don't need that assistance. I'm not going to be pushing down, just... bracing. Holding on while I'm swaying. If I needed to put that much weight on anything it'd be a chair or the ground. I'd sit down before I pressed all my weight down on to a dog's shoulders.
And the washout rate is a concern of mine yes, but it is why Iím getting her as a puppy, so I can start with her immediately. My state has laws protecting SDiT access rights, so Iíd be able to start with her as soon as I get her potty trained. Socialization to everything will begin before SD training. But my ďluckĒ is screwed no matter what way you want to look at it, if youíre looking at it from your point of view. Iím not getting from an organization because Iím not going to wait six years for a pup, I was on a waiting list before and took myself off after three years. So any dog I get is going to part OTíd, part private trainer. So honestly, that 60-80% may be true, but itís my fate no matter what breed, or pup, or timeline I choose. It was the same for you, and yet youíre praising Creed.
Lyndobe has the type of dog I'm looking for, in my time line, and the most important thing is that I am able to evaluate the pup myself and discuss it's probability of success with her after evaluating the pup. That is the biggest appeal right now. Her dogs have low(er) prey-drives, longevity in their lines, good hips in their lines, her lines are healthy, and are particularly great at obedience and agility, so Iíve heard from Lynne herself and everyone Iíve spoken to with a pup from her. Iíve heard a few negative things, and yeah, it kind of catches me off guard, but I also think that you'll hear a few negative things no matter where you go. Not every pup will be perfect, and not every owner is right for the pup. But Iím going to be in contact with her for the next year, and am able to say ďnever mindĒ at any point.
So maybe I'm not feeling "lucky", but I'm feeling confident. I trained Dyre, a pup who only knew "sit", ďleave itĒ, and "spin" to alert when I started shaking, to alert when I started rituals, to remind me to take my medicine when I was getting a migraine or had a panic attack, to alert when anyone came up behind me, to scent a migraine and hypoglycemic episode, to ground me, to sit and refuse to move when he notices I dissociate, to do all these things that you'd never think he'd be able to do before I started. And I know every dog is different, don't get me wrong. But I feel confident in myself and the trainer I will be working with. I feel confident in the breeder I'm getting from, and maybe Iíll find another one in the next year, but that's why I haven't fully decided yet. But I feel confident in her lines, in her previous buyers that I've spoken with, in her dogs (though of course I'll only be buying if both the parents are over 2 years and have been fully tested and have good hips as well), in her ideals, and in her. And I also don't have all the time in the world. This has been something that I've spoken to so many people about. I've done so much research, and there have been days I've done nothing but spent anywhere between 5 to 15 hours on this forum, on the internet emailing breeders, reading about dobes, reading about everything I could find. It's been as demanding as my classes, because this is the next... however many years of my life.
I don't want you guys to think that I don't care about what I'm doing, or that I haven't considered even the most upsetting scenarios. I don't want you to think I haven't thought of having to wash her out or say good bye sooner than we should if something happened with her health. I don't want you to think that I'm just going with the first breeder I found. I emailed somewhere between 10 and 20 breeders, and talked to a few on the phone. I don't want you guys to think I haven't considered the work I'll have to put in because it's a dobe. I don't want you guys to think that I haven't researched. I don't want you guys to think that I don't care about the pup's health or well-being. I don't want you guys to think that I don't care.
I do. And I've researched, and I've spoken to as many dobe handlers and owners that I know of. I spoke to a person with a service dog from Lynne and I even get to meet two of Lynneís pups, who are both service dogs (one is retired at 11 years old, the other is two) in a few weeks, as the handler lives only an hour or so away.
I know I always use too many words and not all of my points get across (back to the executive dysfunction) but please know that I care about this. I care about this because even though I have to do it within the next year, but I want to do it right. I don't know absolutely everything about Lynne's dogs, but that's part of why I came here.
I care, but I don't respond to medication, and Dyre is the only reason I have any sort of independence at the moment. He's the only reason that I'm not paying thousands in medical bills when people see me go down and want to call an ambulance or get me to a doctor, even when it's just an episode. Heís the only reason I can attend college, and the only reason I can work. Heís the only reason I can function, and heís the only reason Iím alive. I care, but I don't have the two years you have.
Dyreís going to stay working until I can take the new pup out and am confident in her, but he canít be the reason I donít wake up with faces around me every day. He canít be the reason I donít find new bruises on my body after every outing. He canít even be the reason I donít fall over from something as simple as picking up something I dropped, because heís too small to pick up anything more than my keys and pencils. He canít be the reason I donít have a lot of issues I have currently, and itís a major concern for my doctors and I as I move forward into my career. Which is starting in a year and a half. And she wonít be with me immediately, but sheíll also be preparing.
And it might not work out. Iíve considered this. I have, and Iím scared, yeah. But Iíve talked to so many people about this, I have three trainers that I will be working with (though only one for service dog tasks), and. Iíve researched. Iíve talked to others. And the more I talk to others, the more I feel confident in Lynne.
I care, and I know what I'm doing. And something might go wrong, but I spent twenty years of my life focusing on everything that could go wrong, and I'm really tired of my OCD controlling my life, thank you. I know what I'm doing. I'm just trying to figure out my first step.