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One of our children suffers from a rare pediatric epilepsy that frequently confines him to home and that not infrequently limits his activity to just sitting and watching. We're hoping that a dog might be able to offer him some valuable companionship during good times and bad.

Assuming that it were to be given adequate exercise (one of our daughters, in particular, is extremely high-energy and extremely enthusiastic at the prospect of taking care of a dog), is a standard poodle likely to make a calm and attentive companion to our son during those (fairly frequent) times when he is not up to rambunctious play?

(I've read that standard poodles can make good seizure alert dogs, though we're not at this point looking for a specially-trained service dog)
 

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Standard poodles can be remarkably intuitive, and might be a wonderful companion for your son. I am quite often bedridden or confined to the couch, and Peggy is happy to lounge with me for long periods of time, assuming she's been adequately exercised, both physically and mentally. She has also shown an almost eerie ability to sense when my heart is racing dangerously fast.

Keep in mind, though, poodles can also be quite energetic, bouncy, and strong, especially in their first few years. More than one spoo has been returned to a breeder for playing too enthusiastically with young children. :(

Have you raised a dog before? If not, you'll have some homework to do, but it will absolutely pay off.

Most importantly, I'd be looking for a breeder that has placed therapy dogs in the past, and can help you identify the best pup in the litter for your son's specific needs. This might mean a bit of a wait (especially now, with so many folks scrambling for pups during quarantine). But it'll be worth it.
 

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PtP and I think alike... here is my answer that was similar to what she posted a moment before me!

I think yes, but I would caution that poodles can be very rambunctious as puppies. There is quite a bit of variation in puppy temperament, and you will probably have best luck if you search for a breeder that specializes in producing therapy & service dogs. And then they can help you select a puppy that will be the best temperament match. Poodles love to learn and are very intelligent. There are plenty of games that can be played with minimal movement, and involving your son in training will allow him to connect with the dog and bond despite his limitations. Dogs do tend to bond most with those who are most involved in their care, and it may take some dedication to make sure that your son bonds well with the dog. Involving him in feeding, grooming, and training will be the best way to form that relationship. And it will require a lot of patience for puppy antics. They do grow up, but it can take a while!
 

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I wonder if perhaps you would be better looking for an older dog - puppies bounce, bite, scrabble, chew, pee, poo, and have an extremely short attention span. A standard poodle pup may not really begin to mature much before 3 years old, so that is a long time to be waiting for the placid companion your son needs. With an older dog you are likely to have a much better idea of temperament, and will avoid the worst of the puppy silliness. And I also wonder if a smaller dog might be an easier fit.

I am not suggesting dropping in to the nearest rescue, but talking to breeders and service dog training schemes to see if they know of a suitable candidate. It strikes me that a guide dog puppy that flunked the final exam could be ideal - probably not a poodle, but a good fit for your family.
 

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I would think it will take a good 2 years to have a properly trained standard poodle. Poodles are very energetic and most I've seen get their brains at 2 or 3 years. I would look for an older standard poodle perhaps thru a service dog training program. They would be training you and the dog to work together.
I'm sure it can be done but I also feel it can be frustrating to do if you do not have background training.
 

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I imagine the right dog would be a great deal of comfort & companionship for your son.

I think you would have to find the right individual for this work. I think it could be a Standard Poodle. Like someone else said, you might want to look for young dog that's through the mouthy puppy phase, unless you've raised several pups & know there will be that time frame that puppy can be naughty. Dogs are such individuals that it's going to take the right one with that level of calmness & confidence. It takes a level of confidence in a dog to see the child is having a problem & to go alert but it takes a REALLY confident dog to alert & keep going until the dog gets a proper response. I know because I've had dogs who've pinched me to make me wake up that they weren't just wanting my attention, there was a problem & they needed me to do my job. (Life is busy & the best of handlers can miss it now & again.)

I'm not trying to discourage you from a Standard Poodle as I do think you could probably find the right one. But another idea is the Rough Coated Collie. I know of a breeder who is really focused on breeding for dogs to work with the disabled & other alert dogs. I like what I've seen from her dogs. I had a Collie who was a dream even as young as 8 weeks old. She was with me through the worst of my issues with my back & when I'd get in a jam & not be able to get up, she'd go round up someone. Scared the daylights out of my neighbor, who thought the dog when loco but I had a muscle spasm & could not move & I was flat in the horse pasture. That dog would not give up... not back down & she kept pushing until he finally got that she needed him to come with her. My current Collie is a little to hectic for your situation but from bloodlines bred for this type of work I bet you can find one of those calm, quiet, thinkers like my old girl. My Standard Poodle is currently learning how to help me get out of the floor. He's doing pretty good although the other day he mis-read me & almost knocked me over (which can happen in training). The biggest down fall of the Collie breed is all the hair... & making certain you are working with a breeder who does their due diligence in providing you a pup from health tested parents. Let me know if you want to look at the breeder I mentioned. I am however certain there's a lot of Standard Poodles breeding for similar temperaments for assistance dogs.
 
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