Seeking breeder who does temperament testing - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Seeking breeder who does temperament testing

Hi,

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.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by goldenmama13 View Post
Hi,

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.

Last edited by GoldenDude; 09-21-2019 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Quoted part contained a rule violation. Edited so the quote conforms to Forum rules.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 03:33 PM
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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
Facts of life = you are better off getting an adult dog from a reputable service organization.

Pups are raised and trained by fosters through adulthood and they have their hips, elbows, eyes, and heart checked prior to being placed in a working home.

Pups who do not turn out - are placed in pet homes or the fosters have an option to keep them.

This much I know from a friend who did this for a local service dog organization.

Temperament testing is basically meaningless long term for what you are looking for.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GoldenDude View Post
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.
I understand there are no guarantees, and I wouldn't ask anyone for one. I'm just looking for an extra measure that tells me this isn't a pup who's going to be reactive to everything s/he encounters. My last golden was a rescue, and I trained her to do many of my service tasks, but because of her history, she was too anxious in public spaces to officially be my SD.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Facts of life = you are better off getting an adult dog from a reputable service organization.

Pups are raised and trained by fosters through adulthood and they have their hips, elbows, eyes, and heart checked prior to being placed in a working home.

Pups who do not turn out - are placed in pet homes or the fosters have an option to keep them.

This much I know from a friend who did this for a local service dog organization.

Temperament testing is basically meaningless long term for what you are looking for.
I've spoken with a number of SD organizations, and the waiting period is simply too long, and they've all agreed that I can have my needs met by training a pup myself. I'm an experienced trainer and know the steps to training SDs. I'm confident that I'm making the best choices for myself and my future dog.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 04:16 PM
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I think so much depends on (if you go the breeder route) whether the breeder even knows what kind of puppy makes a good service dog downline. I've been lucky I suppose in only having one wash out. But I also have worked w a good organization with stellar trainers, and don't sell SD prospects to pet people who want to 'train themselves' or work w some person who's just gotten a new shingle or an APDTA membership. Sorry- I care too much for my puppies to put them in that situation. Most good breeders get those inquiries as often as we get the 'I want a therapy dog' requests.
If you go the organization route, IMO it's best to not spend too much time with those newer ones geared to a veteran population or the like- they are most likely not experienced enough to predict either simply from where they are coming from new-wise and trying to fit a market that's huge.

If you DO go the breeder route, a TT isn't going to predict for you a whole lot. It takes a breeder who's actually produced all-access service dogs, kept good records and knows the tendencies they chose on w the successes so they can choose on same. And it would be a partnership, since your needs are not across the board typical. The cardiac piece, for instance, doesn't go with most mobility SD (where you'd choose not only on temperament and willingness to work and also superior correct structure) because the cardiac piece would fit more with an alert dog who can be a trainwreck structurally but must be aligned w his owner. I wish you luck!

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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by goldenmama13 View Post
I've spoken with a number of SD organizations, and the waiting period is simply too long, and they've all agreed that I can have my needs met by training a pup myself. I'm an experienced trainer and know the steps to training SDs. I'm confident that I'm making the best choices for myself and my future dog.
I was not talking about the training.

I was talking about mental/emotional development of the pup, and physical development as well.....

Your line which I quoted really puts an emphasis on it not being practical for you to be looking for a puppy to raise your own service dog.

THIS LINE:
"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"

A lot of people want pups because they are sweet and there's a bonus to having a dog who you raised from puppyhood. But that's for pets. When you need a dog as a working dog - and you are fundraising for a working dog... you are better off going through a reputable organization.


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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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This isn't some pipe dream I thought up 5 minutes ago. I've been researching options for years, and after consulting dozens of experts in the SD field, I've made the choice that I (and the experts) feel is best for me and my situation. My first idea was to get a shelter dog, and I listened to all of the experts who gave me long lists of reasons why that wasn't going to work, and moved on from that idea. Knowing that my disability is rapidly accelerating, I did my homework. I've been researching every SD organization I could find, what their requirements were, etc. One of the big requirements that all of them have is on-site training with the dog I'd be teamed with for 2-3 weeks. Almost all of them require another adult to come with me as my caregiver. I'm not physically able to do things the way they need to be done to transfer the bond from trainer to me, and I don't have another adult who could possibly come with me, even if it's one of the organizations in NH or MA. After speaking to several organizations and several local trainers and several other disabled people who have SD (some from organizations and some self-trained), every single person who heard the details of my situation recommended I get a pup who is not overly reactive (hence, the temperament testing) and train myself. Several experts told me they can't see it working any other way unless I could find an organization that would bring the dog to my house 2-3x per week for at least a month. I've done my homework. I know exactly what I'm doing, what the risks are, and have complete confidence that this is my best solution.

If the pup doesn't turn out to be suited for service work, that pup will still be a valued and loved family member. My pets have always been as much my children as my human child is. I could never bring an animal into my life and not love them completely and unconditionally. The breeders I've been searching for have a history of producing SDs. The first one I found has her own SDs (one active, one in training, and others retired in her home). I may end up waiting another year to get one of her dogs, but I want to evaluate my options. I know what I'm looking for in a breeder and a pup. If you're not here to recommend a breeder, please move on. I don't need any more unsolicited advice from people who have no knowledge of my personal situation, needs, experience, etc.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by goldenmama13 View Post
I know what I'm looking for in a breeder and a pup. If you're not here to recommend a breeder, please move on. I don't need any more unsolicited advice from people who have no knowledge of my personal situation, needs, experience, etc.
Respectfully, the advice you are getting IS from experts. It is far too important to not consider the opinions of BREED EXPERTS. A SD of any breed or any mix is that breed before it is a SD. And in real life, this forum has far fewer breed experts than in the past, so you are getting all there are here, with the exception of a couple -who probably just agreed w what was said and had nothing to add. I wasn't making the point that you wanted to do your own training (or implying you would fail) as much as I was pointing out your needs appear to be geared to a dog that will require not only fabulous conformation but also a temperament that will not be easily determined at 7 weeks of age by a breeder without success behind their choices. Conformation alone- that's best determined a full week past temperament, as it is usually assessed at 8 weeks while temperament is believed to be most accurate at 49 days plus or minus a day. And then too, most conformation breeders are not SD breeders- I am sure you can see that you need a very special dog and a very special breeder, both of which would be hard to find on a good day week or year.
Lastly, I am not sure why it is that FB 'get off my post' attitude has suddenly shown its ugly head here, but we discuss all over the place, take trails far away from the topic, circle back- and everyone learns. Don't take any of this as ADVICE so much as you brought something up and we're talking about it. I wish you the best, and I for one am happy to look at any pedigrees you are considering and give you my thoughts of structure from photos or videos if you find a litter. This enormous task you are taking on just in finding the right puppy and will take more people than just a couple and to end successfully you might consider the points buried in the posts made. And you might make yourself more attractive to breeders in general by learning what many breeders find bothersome about self training. It does no good to take a less-than dog because it's difficult to learn the prejudices of many breeders.

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Last edited by Prism Goldens; 09-21-2019 at 06:14 PM.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 06:02 PM
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The temperament tests we use- most often the Avidog (more Golden specific) or the Volhard- those tests are not terribly specific, either- I find Avidog much better for specifics than Volhard but really using both is a best tactic. And both unfortunately require a stranger to administer and a strange to the puppy place to do the test. Neither are geared to SD jobs. Both are quite subjective, so you want your TT'r to be very experienced, very consistent. I almost think you might be better off hiring such a person yourself once you find the litter you think you want and being sure the breeder would be fine with you paying for the TTing on the entire litter so that you can be sure the TTr is clear on YOUR needs. Many breeders hire their TTing done, I do, and I do them for other breeders. It's a job that clearly is one requiring deeper knowledge than just whelping a litter and the husbandry of dogs. The developer of Avidog was formerly from NY- she might know someone who can test for you up that way.

FWIW- if you go with the Royal River - I would imagine the L litter would be a better fit for the job you have in mind from a pedigree standpoint.

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Don't Take Anything Personally.
Don't Make Assumptions.
Always Do Your Best.
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Last edited by Prism Goldens; 09-21-2019 at 06:07 PM.
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