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Hi and welcome! I joined for the same reason -- seeking a standard as my next SD.

May I ask either approximately where you're located or just where you're willing to look so the members can give better targeted suggestions? Any dealbreakers for you other than SD potential?

My advice is to contact the breeders you'd be interested in. Do your research, be honest about your needs and intentions, and see if they know any suitable placements from their own programs or those they respect.

It may not be right for you, but I applied for an adolescent started on training from a program in MA called APAW (American Poodles At Work). It's small and going through changes so they may not even accept new applications for this situation (what they call a working candidate) but if it sounds like something you'd like, I found Jillian who runs the program very responsive and open when I was asking before applying myself.

My backup plan was to reach out to a number of selected breeders and do exactly what I suggested you do. Form relationships with people whose judgement you trust and hope that you're able to build a network that way to find the right prospect. I really didn't want an 8 wk old puppy for my personal needs and limitations and was looking for an older pup or young adult if my first choice didn't pan out.

More personally, wishing you all the best. There's a few SD handlers on here and I'm sure we aren't the only two future handlers and it's a hard process even knowing that the end result is worth it
 
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