Possible service dog?

Betty VEBetty VE Posts: 1Member
edited 8 July, 2014 in Australian Kelpie
I am an experienced dog owner who has trained my own service dog (for the Deaf) in the past. My girl has just had to retire and I am looking for a new helper to train. I have been offered my pick of some Kelpie/Labrador puppies if I'm interested. My biggest concern is that I live in an apartment and have read that Kelpies do not do well in an apartment. Would the job of a service dog be enough to occupy his/her time and attention? I know that when you are looking at a mix, you can get traits of either breed. I am familiar with labs and know that the exercise I can offer would be plenty for that bread, but I am not familiar with Kelpies at all. Any input for experienced Kelpie owners or other service dog trainers would be appreciated. Thank you.


  • Leah StratesLeah Strates Posts: 2,684Member
    edited 11 December, 2012
    A kelpie could do well in an apartment but only with a lot of exercise. Depending on the age over 3 hours of leash walking a day might not even be enough. This is a very active breed. They are bred to surge ahead of the handler while working too and can be very difficult to teach how to heel. They can have a high prey drive. They can be unpredictable on the leash because of these two factors. I have met some lab kelpies before, some were good, some were hyperactive and mouthy, but with a mix it's hard to say exactly what you will get. What sort of tasks would the dog be doing? This is not a breed I would consider good SD material generally. They get bored really easily and are so independent have no problems just disengaging and walking off when that happens. Many also have focus problems as they have been bred to work without direction and make their own decisions.
  • Danielle SimonsDanielle Simons Posts: 10Member
    edited 26 May, 2013
    I know nothing about training service dogs, but I AM totally deaf and legally blind, I see fine cevtrally about 20% visual flield, beyond that I have no periprial vision at all (I have a malabsorbtion disease that has caused extensive nerve and bone damage due to lack of nutrients) my son (who was 18 when we got Sadie and she was primarily HIS dog the 1st two yrs while he lived here and still is when he comes to visit) and I spent a lot of time with her, niether of us had ever had a dog or trained one, and we read extensively, but she was a breeze to train. Still is, all it takes is a couple of times of showing her what to do or not to do and that's that. But she trained herself into a pattern of behavior that is very different with me than the rest of the family and knows I cannot hear o rsee beneath my nose if I am not looking down. A few examples - she does that herding dog "side block" with everyone but me when she wants thier attention or to stop them from leaving etc. She NEVER comes to me from the side side or blocks me. My parents jokingly complain about her being too lazy to get up and having to step over her but when she sees me approach she jumps to her feet and stands to the side. - If someone rings the door bell, she has to go poop (it is always NOW) or even if the cat is crying in another room or my parents are calling me and I have my implant off (I rarely wear my cochlear at home so I am what I call "sound free" 95% of the time) she comes to the front of my chair or side of my bed and gets my attention by either nudging me or tapping me she then stands about 5 ft back (which is how far she needs to be to be in my center of vision) and barks a wierd low sort of half whine, half howl but it's a sound that makes her mouth contrort so it's like doggie lip reading! -when we have any male that is not a friend or guest, but rather a workman or service provider she is totally friendly with them once me dad or son says it's ok, but if they leave the room and I am alone in the room with the repairman she backs off, her ears go back and if he attempts to walk anywhere in the room she growl and snarls at him. If hr vomtinues to move she puts her hair up and moves twds him. This only occurs if I am alone in the room with him. My mom can be and she's fine. So I think a kelpie can definately make a good service dog. The only issue is like was pointed out they are very high energy especially when young, and they do have a tendancy to want to challenge for dominence especially when they approachadulthood (I think this is due to the dingo in them, I know wolf mixes and coyote mixes do the same thing when puberty hits. They have a natural urge to want to claim thier position in the pack. Sadie went through a spell at around 18-22 months weere she actually snapped towards me on a couple of occasions when she claimed my spot on the couch or near my son and I had to get firm and tap her on her nose. ) so I don't know if a pure kelpie could work out fo service training, but I think lab tempering in could be a great mix So sorry everyone for my typos and for ranting on and on. It is just my first time in my nearly 6 yrs of Kelpie mommyhood I have met other kelpie parents! And I am so excited, because nobody who has not met one appreciates what an amazing amazing breed they are (everyone who meets Sadie wants one LOL)
  • Danielle SimonsDanielle Simons Posts: 10Member
    edited 26 May, 2013
    Jackson;s mom brings up some very good points I didn't initially consider because I am physically capable ofhandling Sadie on a very ong lead so she can have the exploration walks she needs. And I have experianced her prey drive and that would definately be an issue for someone with a traditional sight loss or for someone who is disabled physically with challenges related to stregnth, movement etc. I don't know that could be bred out of them. I also wonder about thier protective drive. Since my hip and elbow fractures which she witnessed she doesn't like people to touch me. Not even my family. She's very very protective I don't know if this is typical for a kelpie or if it's because of my situation. But that could pose a problem if someone were to reach out to assist the disabled person and the dog had that drive. But I know GS are highly protective and obviously many are excellent service dogs. What type of assessment do you do with the puppies to determine how strong these type of drives are in individual dogs? I have always been curious. Because some of these traits may not manifest until the dog is past puppy age, no? Like I said, Sadie is my first "real" dog (meaning we had a few growing up but my mom was NOT a dog person so none lasted very long) I've always loved them and have watched and read thousands of hours of dog info over the yrs as a surrogate dog replacement, LOL!
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