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Hello!

I am researching dogs for my brother who has MS. He is very private so I'm going to call him Mark. Mark is an older gentleman who is looking for a possible service animal to assist him with retrieving items that may be dropped from a wheelchair, fetch someone if he falls, hear the doorbell, and provide companionship and a feeling of safety when he is alone.

He is partially wheelchair bound and mostly blind due to his illness. He was at a support forum and met someone else who had an Australian Shepherd as a service animal. That dog was amazing! This person, though, had a larger yard and was more mobile than Mark. I have learned those dogs need a lot of exercise to keep them happy.

Mark has always had a soft spot for dogs but because he has been learning to just care for himself he hasn't felt confident in his abilities to take care of one. He is finally feeling more secure and would like to explore different breeds to determine what might be the best for him.

He has a large open house with his wife. She is in and out a lot. They have a large side yard that could be fenced. The weather in their area is cold to mild. They do get snow in the winter and the summers are usually in the 80's.

I'm not familiar with dogs, so I'm going to ask a series of questions that may seem very basic to most of you. I thank you in advance for your help in our quest.

1. Mark has some animal allergies. He'd heard that poodles don't seem to affect people as bad as other dogs. Is this true? Do they shed much?

2. We had heard that standard poodles can make good service dogs and are quick to learn. What kind of temperament do they have to this type of work?

3. What type of care do these dogs need routinely? How "high maintenance" are they?

4. In looking at other breeds of dogs, we've found some to have inherent health issues that would be a problem if they showed up. Example, German Shepherds have been found to have a high risk of hip dysplasia. Given that we are looking for a dog that would be helping a sick person, we need to find one that would, hopefully, stay healthy. Are standard poodles a naturally robust, healthy breed?

5. What is the average lifespan of a standard poodle?

I realize my list of questions seems rather clinical, but we would like to provide the best match of dog to human in a trying circumstance. There will be times when Mark will have an exacerbation that will debilitate him greatly. We'd like to find a companion that can be with him calmly and help him, especially, through those awful periods.

Again, thank you for any help!
 

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I will answer the one's I can, but I'm sure others will have additional input.
1. Mark has some animal allergies. He'd heard that poodles don't seem to affect people as bad as other dogs. Is this true? Do they shed much? He should try to spend a bit of time with a poodle before he makes the leap. They do trigger less allergies, but there is still some dander associated with any dog. A local service dog/therapy dog organization may be able to hook him up with a home visit so he can get a bit more comfortable with the idea and spend some time around one. They do not shed, but they do lose some hair, mostly on the brush during the frequent grooming they require.

2. We had heard that standard poodles can make good service dogs and are quick to learn. What kind of temperament do they have to this type of work?
I think this is really variable as well. A seazure dog for a 12 yo boy will not have the same requirements as an assistance dog for someone with limited mobility. Given his limited mobililty I would encourage him to actually find a group that trains service dogs as they will have a lot of exeriance what personality would work the best for him and be able to provide training etc. I'm sure others on here can give you tons more info...

3. What type of care do these dogs need routinely? How "high maintenance" are they?Your brother should plan on spending $60-120 every 6 weeks on grooming. Day to day brushing can be nearly eleminated if he keeps the dog very short, but most people like to leave a bit of hair. Our girl is short, and we brush her about 2xs a week, but bath and blow every 2 weeks or so, and she probably needs to be trimmed every 4 weeks to keep her coat short enough not to mat without more frequent brushing. It would help a lot for you to call around to some local grooming shops and get prices for poodle grooming.

4. In looking at other breeds of dogs, we've found some to have inherent health issues that would be a problem if they showed up. Example, German Shepherds have been found to have a high risk of hip dysplasia. Given that we are looking for a dog that would be helping a sick person, we need to find one that would, hopefully, stay healthy. Are standard poodles a naturally robust, healthy breed? I'll let others get this, it really varies, but overall they seem to be pretty healthy.

5. What is the average lifespan of a standard poodle?My childhood standard lived to 12 yo.
While a standard poodle may be a good option if he has the money and resources to get help with grooming, vet services, and training I encourage you to hook him up with a therapy dog group first and get him a bit more exposure. I fear that adding a dog to this situation on a full time basis may end up being more stressful to him and more costly than other support options, but if he finds that he really wants a dog for companionship in addition to assistance it may end up being the right fit!
 

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I used to train service dogs before I became disabled. I now have a miniature poodle for my own service dog.

Poodles have origins as hunting dogs (like Labs and Golden Retrievers that and commonly used for servce dogs). They are usually willing retrievers with good work ethic.

Poodles are not often used because most people that are disabled are unable to physically or financially care for the coat. I've read that the goldendoodle was originally developed by a service dog trainer to being non-shedding / lower allergy qualities into a working dog. Didn't work out as planned since these mixes often require more coat maintenance than a poodle and some of them do shed!

There is another forum member "Sookster" who helps raise/train standard poodles for service dogs. She can probably help more with how they maintain these dogs coats.

I am physically able to groom my dog, and I only worked with people with short haired service dogs, so she is probably a better source of info on this than I am.
 

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On another forum that I belong to one of the members has MS and had a silver standard as a service dog. He was amazing. He has gone to the Rainbow Bridge now. I believe the organization that trained him was Canine Partners for Life--may not be totally correct. Her groomer was willing to give a reduced rate for service dogs. Fennec lived about 12 years.
 

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I'm responding to your questions as someone who is pretty involved in the service dog community. Feel free to private message me if you have any specific questions for me.

Hello!

I am researching dogs for my brother who has MS. He is very private so I'm going to call him Mark. Mark is an older gentleman who is looking for a possible service animal to assist him with retrieving items that may be dropped from a wheelchair, fetch someone if he falls, hear the doorbell, and provide companionship and a feeling of safety when he is alone.

Poodles can make awesome retrievers, but not all of them have a retrieving drive. This is much more easily taught with a dog that naturally wants to use their mouth. If you are going to pick out a puppy, keep this in mind and pick a puppy that has some drive to retrieve.

He is partially wheelchair bound and mostly blind due to his illness. He was at a support forum and met someone else who had an Australian Shepherd as a service animal. That dog was amazing! This person, though, had a larger yard and was more mobile than Mark. I have learned those dogs need a lot of exercise to keep them happy.

Standard poodles are not a "low energy" breed, but in my experience they seem much more able to adjust to any type of lifestyle. The dog will need an exercise outlet, but not nearly as much as what an Aussie or German Shepherd may need. Again, if you have a dog with a retrieving drive, and if your bother has the ability to use a "chuck it" to toss a ball, this could be a good way to burn off excess energy without your brother needing to be very mobile.

Mark has always had a soft spot for dogs but because he has been learning to just care for himself he hasn't felt confident in his abilities to take care of one. He is finally feeling more secure and would like to explore different breeds to determine what might be the best for him.

Dogs are a lot of work. They have to be let out to go to the bathroom often, they have to be trained and entertained and cleaned up after. All of this is very possible for someone in a wheelchair, but it's something to keep in mind. And if you are looking into a puppy, then he has to be able to train and house train it.

He has a large open house with his wife. She is in and out a lot. They have a large side yard that could be fenced. The weather in their area is cold to mild. They do get snow in the winter and the summers are usually in the 80's.

A poodle should be able to handle these temperatures fine. I don't think poodles necessarily need a fenced yard, but it can be easier to just let the dog in the yard to use the restroom instead of having to take them out on leash.

I'm not familiar with dogs, so I'm going to ask a series of questions that may seem very basic to most of you. I thank you in advance for your help in our quest.

1. Mark has some animal allergies. He'd heard that poodles don't seem to affect people as bad as other dogs. Is this true? Do they shed much?
Poodles don't shed, and tend not to bother allergies as much as other dogs. I'm highly allergic to dogs and can sleep in the bed with my poodles no problem. But this isn't the case for everyone. I second Pluto's advice of your brother spending some time with poodles to make sure that he doesn't react to them.

2. We had heard that standard poodles can make good service dogs and are quick to learn. What kind of temperament do they have to this type of work? Poodles can make good service dogs. However, a lot of them are not cut out for it. What if you spend the money on purchasing and training a puppy, and then that puppy doesn't work out? What will you do with it? Unfortunately a lot of poodles are too "cautious" for service work, so you need to make sure the dog you are getting is going to have the confidence needed to go out into public and work.

3. What type of care do these dogs need routinely? How "high maintenance" are they? The once monthly to once/6 weeks grooming is the biggest requirement.

4. In looking at other breeds of dogs, we've found some to have inherent health issues that would be a problem if they showed up. Example, German Shepherds have been found to have a high risk of hip dysplasia. Given that we are looking for a dog that would be helping a sick person, we need to find one that would, hopefully, stay healthy. Are standard poodles a naturally robust, healthy breed? Poodles do have some health concerns. There are others here who can answer this better than I can.

5. What is the average lifespan of a standard poodle? I think it varies drastically, but I would guess 10-14 years.

I realize my list of questions seems rather clinical, but we would like to provide the best match of dog to human in a trying circumstance. There will be times when Mark will have an exacerbation that will debilitate him greatly. We'd like to find a companion that can be with him calmly and help him, especially, through those awful periods.

Again, thank you for any help!
Based on your brother's limited mobility, I would strongly suggest looking into programs that train service dogs for you. This way, he will end up matched with a dog that WILL work rather than wasting resources on a puppy that MIGHT work. I also worry that he will struggle with training a dog if he doesn't have a lot of knowledge or background on training. Some of the tasks you mentioned can be complex to teach.
 

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My son's dog is a service dog. We got a poodle specifically for their trainability, temperment, size, and the fact that he doesn't shed. He does seizure alert work technically, but for fun more or less we've trained him as a mobility assistance dog as well. He can perform many tasks. He picks up dropped items, can open handicap doors, support a person to a standing position, turn off and on lights, open and close doors, ect. All that training was because he was bored and needed something fun to do, lol! I have pictures of him on my blog at one-two-six.blogspot.com if you're interested.
 

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My son's dog is a service dog. We got a poodle specifically for their trainability, temperment, size, and the fact that he doesn't shed. He does seizure alert work technically, but for fun more or less we've trained him as a mobility assistance dog as well. He can perform many tasks. He picks up dropped items, can open handicap doors, support a person to a standing position, turn off and on lights, open and close doors, ect. All that training was because he was bored and needed something fun to do, lol! I have pictures of him on my blog at one-two-six.blogspot.com if you're interested.
Just read your incredibly moving blog. You, your precious son Ethan and wonderful spoo Mr. Jet are all absolutely amazing! Please know there's now one more person on this earth wishing the very best for your brave and deserving family. I'm so glad Mr. Jet is there with Ethan! I hope his recovery post-surgery continues to surpass all expectations. I hope too the future holds more good days and good news for your son. I so appreciate hearing how helpful, and dearly loved, Mr. Jet is. Thank you for posting!
 

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My son's dog is a service dog. We got a poodle specifically for their trainability, temperment, size, and the fact that he doesn't shed. He does seizure alert work technically, but for fun more or less we've trained him as a mobility assistance dog as well. He can perform many tasks. He picks up dropped items, can open handicap doors, support a person to a standing position, turn off and on lights, open and close doors, ect. All that training was because he was bored and needed something fun to do, lol! I have pictures of him on my blog at one-two-six.blogspot.com if you're interested.
Taryn: How did you train your son's dog for seizure alert?
 

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Well you can't actually train a dog for "seizure alert", only seizure response and then cross your fingers that they learn to pick them up early. There are no shortage of seizures in our house, so we would get him excited and barking in the beginning, then taught him to lay down with him and lick him, ect. We also did quite a bit of scent work with clothes of his after he had a seizure. He can pick up on seizure before they happen about half the time now. Here's a video of him doing scent work, he's great at it!
 

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I am very involved in the service dog industry and will tell you that we train and place standard poodles as appropriate. They are not right for everyone, but they do make awesome service dogs. I would also connect up with a therapy dog group and spend some time with different dogs and see what feels right for Mark. You might also contact a local service dog training organization and just talk with them about all the different options that are available when it comes to service dogs. Feel free to PM me if you would like specific information.
 

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Well you can't actually train a dog for "seizure alert", only seizure response and then cross your fingers that they learn to pick them up early. There are no shortage of seizures in our house, so we would get him excited and barking in the beginning, then taught him to lay down with him and lick him, ect. We also did quite a bit of scent work with clothes of his after he had a seizure. He can pick up on seizure before they happen about half the time now. Here's a video of him doing scent work, he's great at it!
Jet Searching - 5-22-12 - YouTube
Whether or not dogs can be trained to alert is surprisingly contentious amoung service dog trainers.

Dog don't predict the future, but respond to (unknown) cues that are not apparent to people. The alerts for some disabilities can be trained with "higher order conditioning", beginning with a known behavior or scent and conditioning the cues that comes before that may be inperceptible to humans.

If we knew what dogs were responding to to alert to an oncoming seizure, we could train it. But until we have the knowledge an technology, the only predictable outcome for seizure alert is a dog that has the natural alerting ability.

Scent work with clothing worn during seizure is excellent work to develop a dog. Good luck in developing your dog, I hope he becomes to be even more trustworthy.
 

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great video Taryn thanks for sharing, Jet is clearly doing an excellent job.

I've heard poodles make for wonderful service jobs in fact I randomly saw a video and news report about a poodle who would "know" when his owners blood sugar level was spiking... I forget the whole story. But I know that now whenever the owners blood sugar is getting too low or too high the dog just "knows", sits really close starts licking a lot as well as barking maybe... something like that I wish I knew the details

it's good to see that so many members are able to give advice and tips on what to do, as well as answer questions
 

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Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. We've tried to find a SD group near Mark but he is in a rather remote part of the state and the nearest organization is 3 hours away and are not very large. They deal mostly with dogs for the blind. I've been traveling and will go through the videos and things when I've got some spare moments... haha.
 

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Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. We've tried to find a SD group near Mark but he is in a rather remote part of the state and the nearest organization is 3 hours away and are not very large. They deal mostly with dogs for the blind. I've been traveling and will go through the videos and things when I've got some spare moments... haha.
Many schools will place dogs out of area, but not all schools use poodles. I would find schools that do use poodles and call or email them asking about their policies on placing dogs out of area.
 

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Hello!

I am researching dogs for my brother who has MS. He is very private so I'm going to call him Mark. Mark is an older gentleman who is looking for a possible service animal to assist him with retrieving items that may be dropped from a wheelchair, fetch someone if he falls, hear the doorbell, and provide companionship and a feeling of safety when he is alone.

He is partially wheelchair bound and mostly blind due to his illness. He was at a support forum and met someone else who had an Australian Shepherd as a service animal. That dog was amazing! This person, though, had a larger yard and was more mobile than Mark. I have learned those dogs need a lot of exercise to keep them happy.

Mark has always had a soft spot for dogs but because he has been learning to just care for himself he hasn't felt confident in his abilities to take care of one. He is finally feeling more secure and would like to explore different breeds to determine what might be the best for him.

He has a large open house with his wife. She is in and out a lot. They have a large side yard that could be fenced. The weather in their area is cold to mild. They do get snow in the winter and the summers are usually in the 80's.

I'm not familiar with dogs, so I'm going to ask a series of questions that may seem very basic to most of you. I thank you in advance for your help in our quest.

1. Mark has some animal allergies. He'd heard that poodles don't seem to affect people as bad as other dogs. Is this true? Do they shed much?

2. We had heard that standard poodles can make good service dogs and are quick to learn. What kind of temperament do they have to this type of work?

3. What type of care do these dogs need routinely? How "high maintenance" are they?

4. In looking at other breeds of dogs, we've found some to have inherent health issues that would be a problem if they showed up. Example, German Shepherds have been found to have a high risk of hip dysplasia. Given that we are looking for a dog that would be helping a sick person, we need to find one that would, hopefully, stay healthy. Are standard poodles a naturally robust, healthy breed?

5. What is the average lifespan of a standard poodle?

I realize my list of questions seems rather clinical, but we would like to provide the best match of dog to human in a trying circumstance. There will be times when Mark will have an exacerbation that will debilitate him greatly. We'd like to find a companion that can be with him calmly and help him, especially, through those awful periods.

Again, thank you for any help!
 

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Hello!

I am researching dogs for my brother who has MS. He is very private so I'm going to call him Mark. Mark is an older gentleman who is looking for a possible service animal to assist him with retrieving items that may be dropped from a wheelchair, fetch someone if he falls, hear the doorbell, and provide companionship and a feeling of safety when he is alone.

He is partially wheelchair bound and mostly blind due to his illness. He was at a support forum and met someone else who had an Australian Shepherd as a service animal. That dog was amazing! This person, though, had a larger yard and was more mobile than Mark. I have learned those dogs need a lot of exercise to keep them happy.

Mark has always had a soft spot for dogs but because he has been learning to just care for himself he hasn't felt confident in his abilities to take care of one. He is finally feeling more secure and would like to explore different breeds to determine what might be the best for him.

He has a large open house with his wife. She is in and out a lot. They have a large side yard that could be fenced. The weather in their area is cold to mild. They do get snow in the winter and the summers are usually in the 80's.

I'm not familiar with dogs, so I'm going to ask a series of questions that may seem very basic to most of you. I thank you in advance for your help in our quest.

1. Mark has some animal allergies. He'd heard that poodles don't seem to affect people as bad as other dogs. Is this true? Do they shed much?

2. We had heard that standard poodles can make good service dogs and are quick to learn. What kind of temperament do they have to this type of work?

3. What type of care do these dogs need routinely? How "high maintenance" are they?

4. In looking at other breeds of dogs, we've found some to have inherent health issues that would be a problem if they showed up. Example, German Shepherds have been found to have a high risk of hip dysplasia. Given that we are looking for a dog that would be helping a sick person, we need to find one that would, hopefully, stay healthy. Are standard poodles a naturally robust, healthy breed?

5. What is the average lifespan of a standard poodle?

I realize my list of questions seems rather clinical, but we would like to provide the best match of dog to human in a trying circumstance. There will be times when Mark will have an exacerbation that will debilitate him greatly. We'd like to find a companion that can be with him calmly and help him, especially, through those awful periods.

Again, thank you for any help!
I am a disabled combat veteran I have both, PTSD and TBI. I have a Standard Poodle as a service dog . Charlie is amazing but when i am in distress he can be very protective of me when other dogs are also around . ( his one downfall) as for poodles for epilepsy With no training Charlie at age 18 months told a woman in a mall to lay down ( she had a grandma the moment she laid down) Poodles can sense changes in ones brain. ( the movement of energy is my guess) they are well knowen for that.. as for choosing a Standard I need to talk to people Charlie will take me up to someone if he thinks i haven't tried being social enough... .. back in 2011 a standard saved my life
 

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Hi and Welcome!

You've landed in an older dormant thread but the info seems still relevant. so thank you for bringing this topic back.
It's not uncommon for folks to join to ask about poodles as service dogs. Your experience with them will be a big help.
Thank you!
(We'd love to see some photos of your SD :))
 
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