I'm searching for a puppy to be trained as my service dog. I live in Maine, and so far I've found 2 breeders who do temperament testing and match pups to the right family, which is exactly what I need. The first was in NH, and she's fabulous but won't be breeding again until late 2020. The second is close by, Royal River in Yarmouth, ME, but she's so far been unresponsive (there may be some issue going on in her life, so I'm not being critical). Other than those 2, I haven't been able to find a breeder who does the temperament testing and selects the pup who is best suited for service work. As wonderful as goldens are (I've had 2), not all of them are cut out for being service animals, and I can't afford to invest the money and time in training a dog only to find out that I have a wonderful pet and have to start all over with finding another dog to be my service animal.
Can anyone recommend a great breeder in New England or close by who offers the temperament testing and puppy matching? I need a dog to help with standard mobility tasks (picking up dropped items, bracing, etc.), cardiac alert, and anxiety support. I just need to find the right breeder to partner with me on this.
Even with temperament testing, there is no guarantee that the puppy will mature into a service dog. You may still wind up with a wonderful pet. I volunteer with a service dog organization that provides service dogs free of charge to veterans, adults, and children with all types of disabilities, excluding blindness. The organization has had its own breeding program for more than 30 years and is producing about 800 puppies per year. The dogs in the breeding program have been selected for temperament, how easily they are trained, and health. Even so, the success rate is between 50 and 60%, meaning just a bit more than half the puppies become service dogs. This is an organization who specializes in producing working service dogs. A breeder is simply not going to be able to provide any guarantee that an 8 week old puppy will matriculate into a service dog.
I don't publicly name the service dog organization that I'm a part of but if you're interested I'm happy to PM the name to you. It's a nationwide organization and if you're approved there is no charge for the dog. Mobility tasks are absolutely one of the reasons the organization supplies service dogs to individuals.
If you want to train your own, I would really think about an older puppy to young adult from a good breeder (instead of an 8 week old puppy). You'll be able to far better gauge its ability and probability of becoming a working service dog.
Our service dog prospects spend the first two years or so of their lives learning basic commands. They don't learn specific, unique service commands until they start working with professional trainers just shy of their second birthday.