How We're Different
Instead of using unskilled volunteers to raise puppies and start basic training, our dogs are handled by professionals from start to finish. This cuts down training time immensely, so we can turn out fully tested and certified Service Animals in 12 to 14 months. Dogs need to be over a year old to be finished for some very good reasons:
Dogs hit “Social Maturity” right around a year old, at which point they decide where they fall in society, if they are dominant and a leader, or more submissive and a follower. Often this can be a pretty big personality change from an easy going puppy to dominant, pushy dog-and if you’re not ready for it you’ll be in for an unwelcome surprise. Before we place a dog in a home, we need to know if it’s going to turn into a pushy adult dog that decides what it wants to do, or a laid back dog adult who is more comfortable taking direction from its people. This is occasionally the reason why a dog doesn’t qualify as a Service Animal-what used to be a puppy who took direction and followed cues perfectly has sometimes turned into a stubborn, very dominant adult who takes orders from no one.
This time is also pretty difficult for the dog, like when an 18 year old human is learning how to adult. For a month or two they can show some pretty weird behavior as they’re adjusting, like being afraid of things they used to be comfortable with, or “forgetting” their training and learned skills that they used to be perfect at. It’s important to show them loving support while they’re adjusting to being a socially competent adult, because harsh punishment during these stressful times can cause lifelong mental issues.