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Hi. I'm new to the community and am in the process of contract for a standard poodle that will be my service dog and companion. I am an avid hiker (think alps) and camper. however I have neck and spine issues that prevent me from carrying even the smallest of packs. hence the service dog.
the breeder has nice sound hunting stock. females 50-65 lbs. males 70-80 lbs.
I am 5'5" and 125 lbs.
day hike pack weight is 5-8 lbs.
I'm trying to decide on whether to go big and request a male. or would the female size work out fine. bone structure is another consideration. makes have larger bones.
any suggestions orcshared experience is most appreciated
 

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I think for your purposes temperament is going to be a make/break factor. I assume a large dog lunging at the end of a leash will aggravate any spinal issues. Therefore, I personally would want a dog with a lot of confidence (less chance of developing fear based reactivity) and low prey drive (easier to train a dog not to chase squirrels if they have minimal desire to chase anything.) I would select the dog with the best temperament.
 

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Welcome! And wow! The stories you must have. :)

I'd personally choose the heavier male and do a later neuter to maximize joint health. I can only speak to what I'd be comfortable asking my dog to carry, and that would be a maximum of 10% his body weight and only after his growth plates had closed.

The breeder might be able to help with your decision, too. As cowpony said, temperament for a service dog is extremely important. I'd probably feel most comfortable with a breeder who is aware of my goals, performs temperament tests, and will make (or at least narrow) the choice for me.
 

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By hunting stock, do you mean his dogs are specifically bred to hunt? That temperament and drive might lead to a difficult to handle dog. When I chose my service dog candidate, I looked for a breeder that was breeding therapy dogs. Noelle is not a standard poodle, but an oversized mini and couldn't carry your backpack. A mature full grown adult spoo could carry your pack.

If you want a look into how challenging it is to train a service dog, take a look at my thread: Diabetes Alert Dog Training Update

I know you're not training for alert tasks, but rather carry tasks. But, the in person manners work is identical across all service dogs, no matter the breed or job. The expectations of service dogs are training the dog to be as close to invisible as possible. Under a table in a busy restaurant without moving or making a sound. A down stay that lasts an hour or longer. I've been training dogs for 20 years and I was unsure if Noelle was going to work out because she was so slow to mature. Before you chose to train a service dog, I want you to know what you're in for, that's why I wrote this thread.
 

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By hunting stock, do you mean his dogs are specifically bred to hunt? That temperament and drive might lead to a difficult to handle dog. When I chose my service dog candidate, I looked for a breeder that was breeding therapy dogs.
I'm so glad you brought this up, Click. One hunting poodle breeder advised me that anything from her line was going to be unsuitable for my household. Much as I loved my big boy Pogo, I don't miss the constant vigilance needed to live with him. It's nice being able to take Galen out and have him show curious interest in a rabbit, where Pogo would just have lost his mind.
 

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Good points about prey drive. Wasnt expecting it, but my poodle from show lines is surprisingly highly prey driven, and teaching her to walk politely around squirrels has been a year long, frustrating, unfinished project.
I would make sure as well (probably you know this) not to stress growing joints with a pack or too much hiking for the first year and a half.
 

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Good points about prey drive. Wasnt expecting it, but my poodle from show lines is surprisingly highly prey driven, and teaching her to walk politely around squirrels has been a year long, frustrating, unfinished project.
I would make sure as well (probably you know this) not to stress growing joints with a pack or too much hiking for the first year and a half.
the breeder has had several therapy dogs out of her line and is happy to help select. her dogs are nice big sturdy poodles which h
 

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Good that your breeder is thinking ahead. The activity level of hiking all day is something any poodle will enjoy. They're an active breed and pretty much up for whatever you are doing. Have you trained a dog before? Training a service dog is a two, possibly three, year adventure. Noelle will be five at the end of October. Our working life has settled into a blissful rhythm.
 

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I think for your purposes temperament is going to be a make/break factor. I assume a large dog lunging at the end of a leash will aggravate any spinal issues. Therefore, I personally would want a dog with a lot of confidence (less chance of developing fear based reactivity) and low prey drive (easier to train a dog not to chase squirrels if they have minimal desire to chase anything.) I would select the dog with the best temperament.
good point. I asked the breeder if she will help pick out the puppy for best disposition which is my first criteria
Good that your breeder is thinking ahead. The activity level of hiking all day is something any poodle will enjoy. They're an active breed and pretty much up for whatever you are doing. Have you trained a dog before? Training a service dog is a two, possibly three, year adventure. Noelle will be five at the end of October. Our working life has settled into a blissful rhythm.
I've completed basic obedience training with a German Wirehair dog I had years ago. I've done quote a bit of research on training service dogs and will.have a local resource to assist if needed. it will be a challenge for us both.
 

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I had hoped my Spoo Service Dog would be willing to carry a pack for some of my things when hiking also. Good thing it was way down on my list of wants for a SD! He absolutely even hates wearing a vest. He has been awesome for everything else, and will find, fetch, and carry things in his mouth, but that doesn't help with hiking!

Have you considered getting a dog about 2 or 3 that is already partly trained and likes back packs? You can still train other things of course.

PS: I had a friend that actually got a small donkey to take back packing with her and her family! Her dog just went along for fun.
 
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