As far as service goes, it depends on the type of service. I think a high drive Mini would make a terrific Hearing Dog (nothing gets past a Mini). Some Standards are large enough to provide Stability Assistance. I think a Standard would make a good Epilepsy Alert Dog (they are very tuned into their owners).
My own pet Poodles are taught to pick up things I drop. Perfect for the lazy owner!
As far as seeing eye dogs go, while Standards have been used, they are not the "go to" breed. I think this is because Poodle tend to be more reactive dogs and they tend to think too much. You can't have a guide dog suddenly noticing that a different route home would be more expeditious. (I think this is the same reason you don't see Border Collies being used as guide dogs.)
poodles are EXCELLENT service, companion, and therapy dogs. obviously, there are exceptions. but as a general rule, their personalities and their intelligence make them excellent candidates. without any formal training, i've taken jessie to nursing homes. we put a funny hat on her head and she's the hit of the day. she has no aversion to wheelchairs, or canes, or walkers, etc. my mom was in rehab for a short time and if we were to dare go without jessie, all those wonderful elderly people would yell @ me as soon as i got off the elevator for not bringing her. i've read articles about poodles being trainined as service animals for people with diabetes, autisim, cancer, and many other needs. curious as to why are you are asking?
I don't see why you couldn't try. Did you get him with this in mind?
Ideally though, if you are looking for a service dog you would go to a breeder with a proven track record of producing performance/working/service dogs and have a professional temperament test puppies in the litter in order to choose a puppy with the right skills for the job.
We did get Sam with this in mind, but we understand that it is a very variable and difficult thing to train for. Even pups bred for this discipline do not always succeed.
I performed the Volhard puppy test on him and am working with trainers, both local and long-distance (there is no one in this area who is experienced with this kind of training).
well, we know it can be done. sounds like you've already done some research. i would contact all the agencies i could. i would even contact the American Diabetes Association. i know someone whose daughter is involved in the training of dogs for the blind. if i can reach him, i will ask him to ask his daughter for some info. please keep us posted.
i just visited the site. really amazing. so, would you have to send sam to them? how long is the training? would you have to be separated from sam? i wish you all the best. i will say my prayers that this all works out well for your daughter. it will give you so much peace of mind. if i do get any info, i will be happy to pass it onto you for sure. however, sounds like you've been doing a lot of research already.
Thank you! We would train him in home, with the help of a professional for the hard parts. Also we plan on going to the Wildrose DAD Conference: (Field Trials Kennels - Diabtec Alert Dogs We expect that the whole process will last up to 2 years, and hopefully by the end of that time, he should alert to low blood sugars both at home and away, as well as be a qualified service dog. A long process, but surely worth it!
I did not get Sam from one of the more popular breeders, but from a small operation nearby. My first choices for breeders were not communicative, they had puppies and I asked to see pics, testing info, etc., and they just did not show interest! Maybe they doubted that their pups could do the job? I am not sure. On the advice of trainers experienced in this kind of work, I looked especially for poodles bred for hunting, and found some breeders who do breed for that, but as I say, they were not very cooperative. So I looked closer to home. Sam tested 3's in Restraint, Social Dominance, Sight Sensitivity, Touch Sensitivity, Sound Sensitivity and Stability. 2's in Social Attraction and Following, and 4 in Elevation Dominance and Retreiving. You can see in his personality his huge desire to be with people, hence the 2's. Which is great for a Diabetic Alert Dog.
I am not sure about pedigree, I have his AKC info, it is Marquis Chevalier X Colemans Charlotte N Carolina. Pedigree was not as important to us as were Sam's qualities.
Trainers experienced in DADs recommend that a potential dog be a middle-of-the-road personality, not overly dominant nor submissive, friendly, with good eye contact, a desire to be with people, not shy or fearful, and prey driven or at least willing to be motivated by food or toys. Not a wallflower or aggressive.
Our daughter has a pump, and we also have given shots. Neither is foolproof, not even the pump. It can malfunction, or extra activity or too much insulin given can drive the blood sugars very low, and the pump doesn't help with that. It just administers the insulin as programmed. Even Continuous Glucose Monitors are generally 15 minutes behind the blood sugars, meaning that by the time the CGM chimes alerting to a low, you could technically be in pretty bad shape. A well-trained DAD can alert to lows even BEFORE the person is low, therefore avoiding the episode alltogether! A great tool, but by no means a cure. Plus DADs can be trained to alert to lows during the night, which is the scariest time for Type 1's as they can go low and never get up again.
So, that is the subject in a nutshell. Feel free to ask me more questions or check out the links above.
I wish you luck with Sam's success in alerting to low blood sugar for your little girl. You seem to be well aware of the fact that, regardless of potential, many dogs wash out in one way or another as a Service Dog, much less one who does medical alerts, the latter of which is more often a natural ability with a particular dog, rather than something that is trained. However, it can be done, now that there are scents available to work with (much like the training they do with drug detection dogs). The great thing about Poodles is the fact that they are SO in tune with their people, they make fabulous Service Dogs.
Here's an excellent forum with people who can offer lots of genuine help, information, and support:
In the upper right-hand corner, click on "community forums," to find the subject matter you want information on, or, to start a new thread to ask questions. Very knowledgeable people there, many of whom self-trained their SDs.
You will need to let Sam just be a puppy, yet socialize, socialize, socialize him to diverse people, places, and things. Work on general obedience training, as you would any companion puppy, but, he shouldn't be actually "working" until he's 2 yrs. old, otherwise you run the risk of - for the lack of a better term - burnout, which will essentially ruin him for public access, and may well do so for at-home work.
Since Sam will alert for your daughter, it's essential that he spends most of the time with her - he's NOT the family dog. This is difficult when the (disabled) handler is a child, due to multiple issues, which is why most programs will not place a program-trained SD with a child, especially one so young. The main concern being the ability to handle/control the dog during public access, which means school for the most part for kids. Considering what your daughter needs his assistance for, and since there's greater risk for her during the night, Sam should be sleeping with her right now, to deepen the bond, and who knows? He may even alert without any training! She will smell different, depending on her blood sugar levels - well, you're probably already aware of all that! My point being that Sam should be with your daughter as often as possible, if not 24/7.
Thank you for your suggestions and the link. I agree with the necessity of Sam being with our daughter (Name: M) most of the time. We homeschool, so we are here at home with him just about 24/7. But he is a puppy and still being house-trained, so he sleeps in his crate next to her bed for now. Once his desire to chew can be properly directed (away from parts of our body and our clothes) he will be tethered to our daughter as she moves about. For now we keep him somewhat confined by leash and crate and gates. As much for his own protection as for training.
I agree with the need for socialization, and we are enrolled in puppy classes to begin next week. A local trainer who has experience with service dog and narcotics detection training will be helping us with the more advanced work. She recommended that our daughter work with Sam on the CGC test when he is older. Might be a very nice project for them.
We understand that many dogs cannot be service dogs, and only according to natural ability will they succeed as DADs. When we considered getting a dog, we took this into consideration, but also believe that even if the training doesn´t "take" we will have a fine companion animal to be with M to console her when she´s sad and play with her. It might even be possible for him to train as a therapy dog to visit the local hospitals. We feel like we win either way
This is all very interesting. If your current dog does not work out and you want to try again, I would recommend a Mini. In our breed, Minis really are the performance variety of choice. In general, they are higer drive than standards. I also think the size would be a better fit for your daughter.
How fortunate that you found a local trainer who has experience with both SD and narcotics detection training! Let's hope Sam's nose makes him succeed as a DAD!
Standard Poodles, as I said before, make marvelous SDs, and therapy dogs as well. I have 3 Standards, all of whom accompany me to work, and all of whom act as "therapy dogs" with clients and their children who are fleeing domestic violence (they've not gone through any therapy training). It never fails to amaze me how they just seem to know who is really hurting inside, and could use some TLC! Recently, Beau was so sweet and patient with a woman who sobbed into his neck for the better part of 2 hrs.
Lucia, my puppy (well, she's 19 mo. old now), was mistaken for a mini poodle at 4 mo old because she was so well behaved, and did whatever I asked of her (at work), that people thought she was highly trained! lol She was just a baby, and hadn't had much training at all! But, training is so easy with Standard Poodles, it kind've feels like cheating!
I'm sure that Sam will be a wonderful companion and friend to M - I'll be rooting for him to succeed as a DAD as well! Keep us posted on his progress!