Top 5 Questions the Public Asks our Puppy Raisers
Our puppy raisers take puppies-in-training to restaurants, the library, on planes, the hair salon, to work, to class, and—you guessed it—just about anywhere. It’s all part of their socialization and training. While they’re out, these adorable ambassadors attract interest and curiosity. Here are the top five questions asked of puppy raisers, as reported by Leslie Shepard, Director of Puppy Raising Services.
- How can you give up the puppy? After a year and a half of puppy love, it’s hard! Puppy raisers are mission-minded, reminding themselves often that, “We may love and want the puppy, but someone else needs the puppy.” Repeat puppy raisers often go home with another puppy, starting the cycle of love all over again.
- How do you teach the puppy to “go” on command? Puppy raisers begin this training right away, using the command, “Busy!” Raisers take the puppy outside frequently—after playtime, eating, drinking, and naps—and always on leash. Raisers speak the command,” Busy!” just as puppy begins to go. Once puppy finishes, raisers shower puppy with attention, praise, and positive reinforcement, saying, “Good busy! Good busy!” in a happy voice. As puppies grow older and show more control, raisers establish a “busy” schedule as well as watch for body language, repeating the command coupled with positive reinforcement.
- How is your puppy so well-behaved in public? (Alternately—How can I get my puppy to behave as good as yours?) It all starts with socialization, exposing puppy early and often to many environments. At home and while out, raisers set expectations and then consistently reward good behavior through praise and positive reinforcement. Raisers also ensure that other people in the house maintain the same expectations. For example, the expression, “Four on the floor or no love from above,” reminds families not to show puppy any attention unless all four paws are on the ground, which teaches puppy not to jump. Consistency, praise, and repetition all come into play.
- Why don’t you use other breeds or rescue dogs? Our guide and service dogs are like elite athletes, and we’re breeding Lab and golden retrievers for their unique traits: high intelligence, a good work ethic, a strong connection to people, a strong food motivation (to help with positive training), and exceptional health. Our data-driven breeding program breeds out diseases and conditions—such as hip dysplasia—that prohibit dogs from working careers, while selecting desired traits for guide and service dogs. With our extensive resources, including historical data on our breeders and exchanges with other service dog schools through a national breeding cooperative, we’re ensuring our superhero dogs are ready for success.
- How can I get involved? Do I have to have experience? This one is easy! All it takes is a big heart, a steadfast commitment of time and energy, proximity to one of our many puppy raiser groups located in seven states, and we’ll train you to be a skilled puppy raiser. No experience needed, and all walks of life welcome. Click here to find out more!