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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone! I'm looking for educated opinions...I am a 42 year old, single mother of 3 girls and I was diagnosed with MS in Sept. of 2013. Up until then, I was a self employed dog groomer. Unfortunately, I'm right handed and it affected my right side and can no longer do what I loved. So now I'm looking for a service dog and every site I look at for service dogs are Golden's and labs. Neither of which are on the top of my favorites list. I really want a Doberman. I'm 5' 10, so I'm thinking a male would be better for me. I would really like to hear what you all think.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 08:50 PM
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What would you need the dog to be able to do?
How old are your kids?

One of the major problems with a doberman as a service dog is that many people are afraid of them. If you need help, some people might be afraid to approach if you do not seem to be in direct control of the dog and if you are unable to reassure them that the dog is a service dog--if you were unconscious, for example.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 09:23 PM
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another breed to consider, and one i've been seeing more frequently in service capacity, is the standard poodle. less intimidating than the dobe (so more people would be willing to approach the dog if needed), but dang smart and the ones i've met have been pretty solid dogs as far as temperament is concerned.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 09:25 PM
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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My girls are 23, 15, and 12. They've all been around dogs all their lives. Even police dogs when they were boarding where I worked. I need a dog for balance. I lose my balance easily and fall. My dream dog was always a Standard Poodle, but now that I can't groom, it would be too much maintenance. The facility where I rented my grooming shop had boarding and a doggy daycare. I helped out in both, and I fell in love with a doberman.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 10:10 PM
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there is a health issue in the Doberman breed which could make them unsuitable for a weight bearing job..........do some research on CVI/Wobblers.

I LOVE this breed, but not sure I would recommend many of them for service type work, as they are a personal protection breed.

I noticed that smooth collies are being used for weight bearing service work, not sure if you are familiar with the breed or not.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-09-2014, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by teabellie View Post
My girls are 23, 15, and 12. They've all been around dogs all their lives. Even police dogs when they were boarding where I worked. I need a dog for balance. I lose my balance easily and fall. My dream dog was always a Standard Poodle, but now that I can't groom, it would be too much maintenance. The facility where I rented my grooming shop had boarding and a doggy daycare. I helped out in both, and I fell in love with a doberman.
if your eldest is 23, she should be able to help you with grooming...hell, if my inept neighbor can do a semi-decent puppy cut on his 2-year-old, your daughter should be able to do it unless she's physically incapable due to her own limitations or distance.

dobes are great, but i agree with Darkevs - i wouldn't want to risk the dog's health if his job is to catch you if/when you fall. i don't know i'd want a poodle, either. you're likely better off with one of the sturdier dog breeds. i understand your desire for a dobe, but i don't know that this would be the best option for your needs.

my mom has MS, too, so i know all about the falling - she's done it ever since i was little. i don't know if you're a heavy person but she is, and she would absolutely wreck a dobe's neck and back with a couple of falls.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-09-2014, 08:26 AM
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I'll have to agree with the above, dobermans just aren't a strong enough breed to support a person.

I've got a facebook friend with epilepsy (she's about 5'8 and closer to 180-200lbs) her service dog currently is a saint Bernard, she needs a dog built to be able to support a person's weight, this is a job many average service breeds can't do (labs, poodles, etc) they just aren't sturdy enough.

I'd look into more sturdily built breeds like saints, bernese mountain dogs, swiss mountain dogs(less hair than bernese).

In fact many of the european born service breeds would probably be a good fit

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-09-2014, 08:46 AM
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swissies and berners are a great suggestion. not only are they both sturdy breeds, they're sweet as hell. my handling class is easily 2/3 berners and there isn't an obnoxious one in the bunch. they're just really big, slightly slobbery teddy bears.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 12:16 AM
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Some Service dog schools will not train a Doberman at least the one here in Tulsa would not hen i asked them.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 05:12 AM
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I have known a friend that had MS, she was diagnosed at 43, she was married but no children and got a GSP to help her, he was absolutely great and could take her wait, even helped her up the stairs nearly dragging her. He was taught to dial emergency in case she asked or couldn't respond (was just a special phone with a couple of buttons that made instant call). When they were out he had on his collar a tag saying he was a helper dog but he had such a cute face that people weren't afraid to approach him, also they didn't go far and everyone around new the situation.

I would say you need a similar dog, or a Mallinois or Border Collie, they are also very clever and sensitive and willing to help. People could be afraid of approaching you if you had a dobermann and he can't really carry weight.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 05:49 AM
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borders are too short to help someone if they fall. she's going to need a much taller dog than that.
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