Thinking about getting a dog

Well, I had my dr's appt. the other day and was telling him about the hike I plan going on with some friends next tuesday. It is is somewhat of a remote area and my Dr. feels its not the smartest thing for me to do as my bloodsugars are still very unstable. He loves the idea that I am feeling better now that I am on insulin and want to get back to being active, but he figures I should stick to activities closer to town.
Which got me thinking... If I had a D.A.D ( dibateic alert dog ) I could do stuff like that and reduce the risk of something terrible happening to me. I would be able to go places, drive long distances, and be more independant. I wouldnt have to beg and plead with my friends to go for a walk with me every night. I would feel more confident and safe.
I have had a dog before, a german shepherd actually, he and I were attached at the hip for 15 years. I have had experience training dogs as my father was a policeman on the k-9 section for many years.
So rather than spending thousands of dollars which I dont have I have been considering getting a dog and training it myself. I have the knowledge, I would just need to add the alert training and scent training into the mix. I have proven to be a good responsible dog owner. I also know it is a big commitment and that the training never ends.
I have already talked to my land lady about it and although they dont usually allow bigger dogs in our building, she would gladly make an exception for a service dog.
My delemma is wondering if I should risk adopting a shelter puppy. I want this dog to last me as long as it will take much of my time training and I want a healthy dog. I have the option of getting a purbred dog, but I would think a healthy shelter dog would be just as good.
Any thoughts or opinions???

LOL I have no doubt there would be a pup or three that would steal my heart..The training is not really the issue, I agree lots of work either way, the concern is more temperment. They have to be calm and willing to learn, motivated by certain positive training well mannered around people and other dogs, some of it is obedience and some of it is just the dogs personality. I am leaning towards a shelter puppy as well.

Hey there Karebear. My wife and I were just talking about a Service dog for my brother who is T1 and currently in ICU. I am a big fan of German Shepherds. I currently have three; Maddy and her two offspring (Tuxedo and Maya). Maddy is purebread but not papered; we spent $250 for her; We spent $450 on Taro (purebread and papered)he fathered the litter. However Maddy is a far better dog than Taro. We ended up giving Taro away to a good county home. Though I love the idea of saving shelter animals I doubt that you will find a purebred German Shep Puppy at a shelter. My experience is that German Sheps are the smartest, most trainable dogs; they are loyal, loving, and will only potty in the house if their sick or unable to get outside. You know; you had one for 15 yrs; and in order to make that commitment you definitely need a dog that will treat your home with respect. Some other breeds have good features but none will treat your home as good as a Shepherd will. My advise is to follow your head not your heart on this one.

Sally; Its tough to see from that little pic, is that a baby or young child with short hair. either way the kid is lucky having a mom with with such a big heart.

Hi Karebare.The advantage of a pure-bred dog is that you have a better idea of how the adult dog will turn out. If you go to a good breeder, they should know how to evaluate their pups for temperament and conformation both. I've never had a German Shepherd, but know that both Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers do well in service work. Well, you probably knew all that, but anyway, good luck -- sounds like a great idea to me.

As you all have probably guessed I am partial to the german shepherd. But after doing a bit of research the consensus from most of the "professional" trainers is that the golden retrievers and the Labs are better suited for this kind of work and heres why...German shepherds are very smart but also extreamely protective. If I was to pass out and someone human tried to help me, the shepherd might be inclined to bite and therefore hinder any assistance I may be able to get.
My last shepherd was not the most aggressive dog but even when my boys were playing rough with eachother as boys do, he would get in between them until they stopped. And he would not tolerate anyone especially men to even THINK aggressive thoughts around me.
I love shepherds and yes they are one of the easiest dogs to train in my book, but I have to think of public safety if I am to get him certified as a service dog.

What a neat project. A minor point but a lab may want more exercise than a golden. I wonder if they have equal sense of smell?

Maybe the Lions Service Club ( s) in you area of BC can assist you in deciding ?? ...there are 2 black labs around my community , one with a visual impaired person and the other guide dog does his service work with a person , who has epilepsy . Another website

Thanks Nel!!!

I have had a shelter dog for almost 7 years. He is a rat terrier crossed with sneaky neighbor's dog. I did not train him to smell low blood sugars, but somehow he seems a lot more attentive or clingy when I am low. He is very healthy and is a great companion for a long walk or hike. I have had purebred rat terriers but they died young from weird things so I am far more partial to the mutt breed. There are probably more lab/shepherd crosses in shelters than you can imagine also golden/shepherd crosses, so you could get the best of both worlds.