Can any breed do what a lab can do?

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Can any breed do what a lab can do?

Post by master2 » Tue May 24, 2016 9:23 am


After my friend getting her diagnosis. It has made me start thinking could any breed be a service or assistance dog other than a lab?

Dogs aid actually teacher pet dogs to be assistance dog to help there disabled owners so I was thinking in that case even breeds like GSD could help a person take of there socks and pick things up just as well as labs do?

What do you think could other breeds do these tasks just as well?

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Re: Can any breed do what a lab can do?

Post by Erica » Tue May 24, 2016 11:45 am

In the US, any breed can legally be a service dog, except wolfdogs.

Now, there's the question of training and temperament.

A service dog must be highly reliable, performing potentially complex tasks and doing them quickly and without fuss. They should be a dog that doesn't need a constant stream of rewards for their work (after the training phase). It helps if they are a dog that enjoys working with their person, and is not easily distracted or startled.

As far as temperament goes, it will vary slightly depending on the tasks the dog does, but they should be quiet, non aggressive or wary of strangers nor overly friendly - when they're working, they should attempt to ignore strangers for the most part. They should be able to ignore running children, cats, birds, etc and focus on their tasks.

Here is a good FAQ about service dogs; I think most of the mods running it are US based so might not completely apply to other countries.

All in all, some German Shepherds can be suitable service dogs. Many will not be. In any breed, you can find a dog who would make a good service dog or one that would be a disaster for whatever reason (can't handle the stress of working all day, doesn't like strangers, is nervous in new environments, high desire to chase moving objects, etc). In some breeds it would be easier than others, and the best bet is to go for a breeder who specifically breeds for service dog organizations or has produced service dog-quality dogs in the past and knows how to evaluate dogs for suitability. It can be a difficult hunt!
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Re: Can any breed do what a lab can do?

Post by Shalista » Tue May 24, 2016 1:37 pm

one of my relatives currently is training a seeing eye dog. not the same program but similar. they're bred from the same breeders and are bred for specific things like temperament. then they go and live in people's homes for awhile where they're trained there. every so often they are tested and weeded out. if they fail a test they might go back to be a breeding dog, or some other kind fo service dog. only the best are kept for seeing eye dogs.
It's possible you might end up with a seeing eye dog drop out. they're wicked smart. at 8 weeks they know more ques the bax does now :lol:

EDIT: more pertinently, the dog he's training is a black lab
Baxter (AKA Bax, Chuckles, Chuckster) Rat Terrier, born 01/16/13

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