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Contacting breeders?

1664 Views 26 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  LeoRose
Hello! I’m 18 and currently looking for my first well-bred dog for a service prospect, and I’m not quite sure what to say to breeders. The following is what I currently have - would this be appropriate? Is there more information I should include or should I make it shorter? Any feedback is appreciated, thanks!


My name is [name] and I’m looking for a service dog prospect. I came across your website while researching breeders and would love to learn more about, you, your breeding, and hopefully get a puppy from you.

I currently live with my parents and my childhood dog, an 11-year-old poodle/golden retriever. I’m a part time student with class twice a week for four hours - other than that, which the dog will hopefully accompany me to once training for public access, all my free time will be dedicated to training and socializing the puppy.

I’ve had an interest in Russian dog breeds for awhile, and came across the [breed] while researching larger dogs for service work. I’m also interested in showing and amateur sports, namely agility, barn hunt, scent work, flyball and dock diving, though I don’t have experience with any of these.

My only dog experience is with my childhood dogs, the aforementioned poodle/golden mix and a terrier mutt I grew up with, but I’m eager to learn and follow guidance.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing back from you!
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@T Lledsmar Someone looking for a service dog should absolutely be going with breeders who do in-depth interviews to make sure that their lines fit the person's needs, and that they're selecting a specific puppy that will be most likely to offer success. This also gives medusashep to ask questions themselves, and make sure that these dogs are going to meet their needs and that they're confident the breeder is doing all they can to select for healthy, stable dogs and set the puppies up to be confident and resilient.

Yes, a reputable breeder can still produce puppies with health and/or temperament issues, but they majorly stack the odds in their favor by doing genetic health screening, structural x-rays, careful temperament evaluation, choosing pairs carefully so they complement each other's weaknesses, having a thoughtfully constructed puppy raising strategy, etc. And many have guarantees that offer some compensation if a puppy does still develop a major illness within a certain time frame.

Mill dogs should be rescued from living in their own feces by reporting the facility to the proper authorities, and alerting media if necessary. Those conditions are below even the bare minimum the USDA legally requires. Purchase of mill puppies feeds the market, and reducing that demand will absolutely reduce the number of these kinds of facilities - we're already seeing mills resorting to selling dogs through a broker instead of directly due to the growing stigma surrounding the practice. They're also possibly the worst place to look for a service animal, as the rampant overbreeding and poor conditions (even if they do meet the USDA bare minimum) result in far higher incidence of major illness (contagious and/or genetic) and severe, lifelong behavior problems.

Of course it's wonderful if someone takes on one of these dogs with the understanding and ability to handle any serious issues throughout the dog's life, but not everyone has that luxury. Especially when they require a working dog who needs to be able to meet extremely specific and demanding requirements.
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The thread is about how to contact breeders for a service dog prospect, and since puppy mills were being promoted as an appropriate place to get a dog, I thought it prudent to clarify for anyone who might read this thread why that's absolutely not the case, especially for a service dog. As well as why, more generally, a transactional approach of handing over money and getting a puppy is not ideal when someone has specific and demanding needs.

Medusashep, you have the right idea from the beginning with approaching breeders with an open conversation, and LeoRose and Lillith both have excellent advice. I'd be extremely wary of any BRT breeder who would be willing to hand over a puppy of such a large, strong protection breed to anyone who asks and has the money. There needs to be a conversation so both parties - breeder and buyer - understand one another, the breeder is confident the puppy will be well cared for and suited to the buyer's lifestyle, and the buyer fully understands the needs and temperament of the dog they're getting. Service dog programs have a high washout rate even when using dogs who have been bred for service work for generations, so I'd never recommend someone take a chance on any old puppy from a breeder that doesn't ask questions.
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You are the only one talking about puppy mills.
To clarify, I'm responding to this:

So should we leave those puppies wallowing in their own feces on the puppy farm? Those dogs are getting sold wether to good owners or bad. You'll never put a dent in the industry so I'd I can take a dog out of a bad place and give it a good life I've done more than if I'd taken a dog from a good place that is only selling to good places. AND the added benefit of not giving out my personal info to strangers on the internet.
I'll spell this out so you're not left wondering like last time: you're now temp banned due to repeated rudeness, disrespect for the rules even after a reasonable explanation was given, and combative attitude. The next ban will not be temporary.
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Yup, the ADA in the US 100% allows owner trained service dogs. This is to improve access for people who need them. Program dogs can be expensive and have extremely long waiting lists, and many people have unique needs outside of what programs train for so would not be able to find a program dog that performs all the tasks they require. This also allows people to train dogs they already have if necessary, assuming the dog has an appropriate temperament, which is extremely helpful if their dog is already showing that they have, for example, a natural sense of when their owner is about to have a seizure, an ability that can be incredibly difficult to train for some types of seizures.

Lots of other countries only allow program trained dogs, though, and therefore only allow service dogs for specific disabilities (guide dogs being most common). The US is incredibly flexible in this way, which is pretty darn cool, especially for people with multiple disabilities who have extremely unique needs and can't be independent without an SD.
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