Seriously considering an OES puppy and looking for input

We know we'll be adding a puppy next year to train as a successor for my current service dog and OES have popped up on our list again and again.
We are looking for a dog that wants to work, but also is a dog we can take to the lake to swim, the hiking trails, camping, and so on with us. We are an active couple, and our current dogs are pretty rough and tumble. We have a couple acres, a GREAT trainer we adore, and I stay home full time.

We are getting mixed feedback about shedding, how they are for people with allergies, drool, how bidible/smart they are, ect. So we figured where better to ask then the people who own and love them!!
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Welcome to the community!

Sheepdogs love to work, and they take lots of work to train and also to maintain their coats.

If you keep your OES in a puppy cut it's very easy, just ears and between the paw pads need extra plucking and trimming. If you want the classic OES look, every inch of hair beyond the puppy cut is about 1 hour per week of brushing. A big fluffball showdog might have about 12 inches of hair.

Aside from when the dog "blows" his puppy coat just once, OES do not shed. They do have a lot of hair so some breaks off and/or can fall out just like humans with long hair, so you will find some around the house.

As far as suitability as a service dog, I can't answer that. I've only had pets. I know some members have trained their dogs to be visiting therapy dogs for nursing homes and hospitals.

What kind of service dog do you need?

And again, welcome to the forum! Look around, use the search function. There's tons of great OES specific info here.
Ron wrote:
Welcome to the community!

Sheepdogs love to work, and they take lots of work to train and also to maintain their coats.

If you keep your OES in a puppy cut it's very easy, just ears and between the paw pads need extra plucking and trimming. If you want the classic OES look, every inch of hair beyond the puppy cut is about 1 hour per week of brushing. A big fluffball showdog might have about 12 inches of hair.

Aside from when the dog "blows" his puppy coat just once, OES do not shed. They do have a lot of hair so some breaks off and/or can fall out just like humans with long hair, so you will find some around the house.

As far as suitability as a service dog, I can't answer that. I've only had pets. I know some members have trained their dogs to be visiting therapy dogs for nursing homes and hospitals.

What kind of service dog do you need?

And again, welcome to the forum! Look around, use the search function. There's tons of great OES specific info here.


Our current dogs require quite a bit of grooming and see the groomer once a month with a bath or two in between and daily brushing, but I really like the puppy cut look and would probably stick with that!

I use a service dog to help with my PTSD and anxiety disorder, so a few tasks would be blocking crowds, deep pressure therapy, watching behind me, guiding to exits, retrieval of meds, ect. Nothing to terribly hard to train for a breed who WANTS to work, which it sounds like the OES does!
My S/O has asthma, so bonus points on not shedding!
I'll be lurking and reading to help make the right choice for myself and our little family when the time comes next year!!
My understanding of dog allergies leads me to believe it's the saliva more than the hair, but I could be totally wrong.

I'm sorry you're dealing with PTSD, I hope it is as mild as possible.
Sheepies make excellent service dogs! I'm thinking of one in particular who worked as a trauma dog for people in tornados; victims and rescue. He instinctively knew when and what people needed. He also was a big star on the nursing home and school visits. Since they are a working breed, they take well to training, but they aren't border collies and the like who are nuts about training and work. If you do your homework and get a puppy of excellent breeding and sound (certified sound parents, not just the breeder's word which is equal to a politician's promise) you will have an athlete on your hands who can excel in agility.

Grooming. Yeah. If you like the long or longish coat, you are slave to the grooming tools. The undercoat does not shed like say a husky or golden retriever nor is it a constant shed like a dalmatian or labrador. With complete grooming, not just a few swipes with the brush, but line brushing you will keep the tangles at bay and yes, come away with a bit of the undercoat each time...the dead stuff that couldn't fall out on its own. I prefer the 2" long cut, what I call the fluffy puppy look. I've learned how to do it myself because in 48 years I could only find one groomer who know how and was willing to do it. Those were the best looking dogs I've had.

Trail dogs, yes. A well bred dog is powerful and can go a long time, but one with bad hips or other joints will not like exercise. My current rescue considers outside a potty necessity only.

I must STRESS training from the very beginning!!!! and continual training. The scars from an 8 mo old OES who had no training and took it upon himself to run the household and hold court by biting....are healing. That dog needed regular training and continual updates from the WHOLE family, not just the husband. Any dog will be "mouthy" which is a polite way of saying they will nip or mouth. It must be controlled from a very early age and reinforced. Otherwise you end up with a dog with trigger points. Rescue Jack had a trigger over his food dish, everything else was fine. I learned how to "trade"...his dish for an even better treat, like yogurt containers or bananas.

I love the breed..........I guess after.......8 or 9 I'm addicted. The make me laugh, they are true velcros...they stick close, always up for a game or ride, especially a "tater tot" run. Loyal, you bet.
Well, I'm sold!

I feel training and socialization starts the day you bring a dog home, exspcially with a dog who will, once trained, be in public with me always!

Now to reserch breeders and see who has litter that matches up with my timeline!
Great choice for a breed :) I am currently sitting on the edge of my seat while waiting for a future pup! Good luck with finding one! I don't even have one yet and I love them already!!
On a side note, I had a pyr/retriever that was perfect for your line of training, miss her tons, she passed years ago, just thought of that when you said training starts the minute they are home! Def does! She was a doll to train, its all in how you handle, regardless of breed! Fingers crossed for you!!
I have to add, my OES, was a rescue and is my service dog. She was 13 months when I adopted her. In the last year and a half, she and I have been to school, trained and she received her AKCCGC. I was so proud of her when she passed the test, I burst into tears! :) She caught on to doing things so quickly, I was impressed plus she had great time learning and had fun. Now she performs a few tasks that help me, so she goes many places with me. The only thing she hasn't/won't? learn is to put her toys away. :lol: :lol: :lol:
dogmom wrote:
I have to add, my OES, was a rescue and is my service dog. She was 13 months when I adopted her. In the last year and a half, she and I have been to school, trained and she received her AKCCGC. I was so proud of her when she passed the test, I burst into tears! :) She caught on to doing things so quickly, I was impressed plus she had great time learning and had fun. Now she performs a few tasks that help me, so she goes many places with me. The only thing she hasn't/won't? learn is to put her toys away. :lol: :lol: :lol:


AHHH! THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS!
I have only ever owned old English myself- husband had west highland as a boy and my family had labs but oes for me- on our 4th, 1st with a tail. This one is great at finding my tortoise when he has gone for a "walk" in the house, just ask him "where is Merlin?" and follow where he goes- sure enough right to Merlin the tortoise. Rounds up our grand children also. xx

:wag: :tea: :excited: xx
Well, sent in my application for the first breeder! The adventure begins!!
I do therapy dog work with my three and they are rock stars. I also live in an urban environment and we regularly meet people with different challenges, from mental illness to addiction. My girls are drawn to the neighbours who face these challenges. It also means that we regularly are moving through crowds. Exposure to these kinds of situations from a young age will help.

In terms of grooming, yes the puppy cut is easier, but, and I am saying this having no idea how severe your PTSD is, I find grooming relaxing and you might too! I put a plastic table cloth on my (very sturdy) coffee table. And on top of that I put a crib mattress. I lay the dog down and groom while I watch television (usually sports). When I need to move on to another section, I rotate the mattress. Like a sheepie on a lazy susan! I found standing grooming for hours too difficult. I still with stand them to brush them sometimes, but the heavy duty line grooming I do while sitting. I find it very relaxing. My dogs usually fall asleep. I get to feel productive, get my hands on my dogs (I always do some massage at the same time) and can watch sports for hours without feeling guilty!! If my husband comes down and complains about how long the football game is going on for, I just point to the sheepdog and remind him that I AM working! :wink:

As for allergies, you don't say where you live, but we have had people come and spend a few hours with us, hands and faces all over the dogs, to get a sense of their reaction. I am never sure if it is hair or saliva. You might find a local person with a sheepdog who would meet with you and let you do an allergy test. Best of luck to you. Be patient and wait, if you need to, for a solid, well socialized dog from a good breeder. Also, let the breeder know about you so that he/she can help pick the right pup for you. They will know their pups temperament best!
We have several breeders who we are working with and the right puppy will come! One is letting us come hang out with her dogs to get a better feel for the breed, her lines, herself, ect! And we are planning to check out our local sheepdog rescue's picnic next month :)
We have a good idea who we'll be going with though and are SUPER excited to start nesting for a puppy, lol!
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