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Hey all!

I posted on PF a while back with an old account while I was in the process of determining how to move forward in my search for a service dog. I received some thoughtful and helpful replies here that I took to heart, and lead me on a bit of an adventure.

Last time I was here, it was 2018, and I was still neck-deep in the search for a new prospect, and incredibly lost in how to proceed. I was eventually able to find a program local to me that occasionally takes on civilians with PTSD rather than just veterans. For the past year I have been training my dog received through the program. We graduated from our weekly classes in March, and my girl will be two in the next few months! Quite a whirlwind adventure to be sure.

Despite how sweet and lovely my girl is, I still have my heart set on her successor being a Standard Poodle. The dog I have is a Labrador/Golden retriever mix.

For a handful of reasons, I am looking to train her successor a little earlier, and hoping to find a puppy or young adult in mid 2022-2023. This would also give the dog several years to mature before my girl reaches retirement.

That being said, what are some standard poodle breeders you all would be comfortable recommending? :) Any thoughts on preferences I should add to what I'm looking for?

These are my preferences:

Breeders that:
  • Are willing to work with me to find the best match for this work. I am starting this search very early, and am willing to wait several years. I would like to follow the breeder for the next few years.
  • Are willing to place one of their dogs as a service dog prospect. I know this is not every breeder’s cup of tea.
  • Are upfront about the behavioral pros, neutrals and cons they have noticed in their dogs.
  • Are upfront regarding medical issues they have observed in their dogs, and willing to help me understand what to look for and how to mitigate them. I know that there are uncontrollable surprises; I just want a clear heads-up on what the breeder knows I should expect.
  • Will let me meet the parents of the litter.
  • Have published OFA scores for the parents of the litter, and preferably only breeding with other tested dogs.
  • Are using tools like betterbred to mitigate inbreeding.
A poodle that:
  • Is confident
  • Is sweet-tempered
  • Is not dog aggressive, people aggressive, nor protective
  • Has drive to work, but the ability to settle comfortably. This dog will experience long periods of activity (walking around in many different types of scenarios, doing various taskwork…), and sedentary (settling while I am in a long meeting, commuting in the car…).
  • Has a decently high threshold for stress. My base level of stress (comfortable, sitting around the house) is a little higher than the average person, so some extra resilience will help this dog. I also experience periods of heightened anxiety due to PTSD.
  • Is a puppy, or a young adult that has been well-socialized and exposed to many sights/sounds/people/stimuli. I am very open to young, retired show dogs providing they have been very well socialized and fit the above criteria as closely as possible. 😊
Gentle preferences:
  • I am a little tall, so I’m looking for a taller standard poodle rather than a smaller one. I would love a dog closer to 24 inches. My current dog is a about 20” at the shoulder.
  • I prefer black, brown, silver, and blue as colors. I know some AKC breeders are also UKC breeders; I am not opposed to parti. I have seen some white or cream poodles I like, but I tend to prefer the ones I mentioned. 😊
  • I am located in the Southeastern US, so a close breeder I could visit would be nice, but my highest priority is just finding a wonderful companion and suitable service dog prospect.
 

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Glad you found your service dog and everything is going well. Best of luck in finding your perfect poodle partner.
 

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When you say you are looking for a breeder "willing to place one of their dogs as a service dog prospect", to clarify, are you looking for the breeder to donate the dog or are you intending to pay the several thousand dollars a dog from a responsible breeder with the specifications you have listed should rightfully cost?
 

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I am willing to pay the several thousand dollars it has likely cost for them to produce a poodle that has most of the characteristics I've listed. I respect their time and the effort they've put into this.

I am also aware that some breeders aren't comfortable placing dogs as service dog prospects, because then the dogs typically do not compete and earn titles. There's also the possibility of the dog failing as a service dog -- sometimes handlers will return the dog as a result. Unless the dog hates working, or is stressed out by my PTSD, and would be happier in a different household, I will keep it, and we will work together on its stengths like I have done with my current girl.

My current girl is not stellar material -- she's very soft and shy -- but I've worked with what I received, and she assists me in the ways that are reasonable and that she is comfortable. She is sweet and eager to please. I know for instance that she is uncomfortable being loved on by people when she is working in busy environments, so I politely rebuff people who attempt. But! my current girl was donated to my by my program on the condition that she be eventually bred. I am looking forward to fully, unquestionably owning my next service dog. As it stands, her current program wants to change contract terms on us, and have the absolute power to remove her at any time for any reason. Will they remove? No, there's no reason to, but it's something I hate having hang over my head.

I'd love to invest in a good breeder, establish a good working rapport, and find a dog that works well with me.

So for many reasons, I intend to pay for this dog. :)
 

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If, by contract, you must breed your current dog, can't you keep one of the puppies?

As for people wanting to give attention to your dog in public, put a vest on her. You can get those that read "working- please do not pet", or something to that effect.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
If, by contract, you must breed your current dog, can't you keep one of the puppies?

As for people wanting to give attention to your dog in public, put a vest on her. You can get those that read "working- please do not pet", or something to that effect.
Unfortunately, no, the terms do not include us receiving a puppy.

That is a great idea; we always use vests!

We always work in a vest. It minimizes access issues, and occasionally wards off people. Fortunately and unfortunately our society is filled with dog lovers who can't seem to help themselves.

@Michigan Gal , do you have any thoughts on breeders who meet the op criteria and will probably still be breeding in the next few years?

Edit: more succinct wording
 

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bump Is bumping my own post allowed?

@Eclipse I don't suppose you have any breeder recommendations, do you? I've reached out to the AKC representative, and am probably going to sift through the UKC directory as well, but posted on the forum to get some fresh opinions. :)
 
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