We had a disappointing experience with Sterling Brook Doodles. We contacted Sterling Brook and informed them that we were looking for a dog that we intended to train as a service dog. Holly and John, Sterling Brook breeder and trainer, assured us that they could help us choose a pup that would fit this role. They confidently expressed that they were very good at matching pups to prospective owners and could help choose a perfect dog to help with anxiety and depression.
The pup was healthy and smart, but displayed a resource guarding issue at 9 weeks. After much research and work with outside trainers, we eventually came to understand that some dogs have resource guarding issues and although we couldn’t train it out of the dog, we might be able to manage it.
We did understood it wasn’t the fault of the breeder, but it was a behavior that was unacceptable for a service dog. We looked to John, the Sterling Brook breeder, for help with this behavior we didn’t understand. We found that both John and Holly were consistently dismissive of our concerns. They never recognized the issue, and often suggested the issue arose from the dog’s response to our daughter’s anxiety, which was ironic, because they knew the dog was intended for support for anxiety.
We eventually had to return the dog because the behavior was too intense. The breeders re-homed the dog at a profit. We were never offered any monetary compensation, which we understood was not part of the contract.
What was frustrating about this breeder/trainer team is their inability to take responsibility and acknowledge the behavior in the dog they bred. If they had done so early in the process, we might have avoided terrible heartache and the cost of trainers to help with a behavior that could not be extinguished. Instead, they repeatedly suggested that we were looking for a problem in the dog and that we were not committed to training the dog. It was frustrating and disappointing. We had purchased their training package and worked closely with them so they were able to hear are concerns along the way. Still, they wouldn’t admit the dog had this behavior.
We felt that a reputable, honest breeder would have listened and supported their pup adopters.
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