I just got a puppy...can you train him/her for my child? No. All our pups start their training at 8 weeks and go through an intensive 2-3 years of training. We do not recommend training a specific pup for a specific client until they have mastered the basics and have a greater likelihood of passing the rigors of advanced and task specific training.
Before you start down the path of training your own pup, please have a plan for what you are going to do if the pup is not successful. According to owner trained support groups, the washout rate is 60-75%
Can we donate this puppy we have to your program? All puppies brought into the Paws 4 Autism program must be direct from reputable breeders with references. We require all standard health testing as well as reports on the temperaments of the dams/sires (and often the grandparents too!). All pups are brought into our program at 8 weeks old. Unfortunately, incoming pups must also be planned as we do not have many fosters at this time willing to potty train.
What breeds of pups do you use? All of our pups in training are Standard Poodles (also known as Spoos). Many of the families we work with has someone in the family that is challenged by severe allergies. Also, thanks to the cooperative partnerships we have with several school districts in the Kansas City Metro, it is important to have the most hypoallergenic pups possible.
Another advantage to the use of the standard poodle is sensory integration. Kids love that they can curl up with the pups, feel the different coat textures between head/ears/body/tail....all without getting the shedding fur all over them!
The Professional Standard Poodle breeders we are currently working with are: Goodelife Poodles, Trademark Standard Poodles and Celtic Heart Poodles. If you are a professional Standard Poodle breeder and would like to be considered for our future pups, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Why not use Doodles? Yes, Doodles are often regarded as hypoallergenic. However, what is not often publicized is that most doodles DO SHED. It is not until they get their adult coat (at around 3 years old) when you find out if they shed or not. Only those doodles with a high percentage of poodle have that probability of not shedding. If we need at least 80-90% poodle....why not just use poodle?? Also, Those doodle breeders that have the high percentage of hypoallergenic possibility on their pups charge a LOT more for them.
How do you pick your pups? We have several Standard Poodle Breeders that are well known for the health, temperament and size of their breeding dogs. When we are ready to add a pup to our program, we discuss with our breeders their litter plans and look at the temperaments of not only the parents, but also the grandparents. Once the litter is born, we work with the breeder to watch for the traits we have found to be best.
What kind of training do they get? Pups start their official training at 8 weeks. In addition to starting obedience and house training, the first 16-20 weeks are crucial for exposure, sensory and socialization training. Core obedience foundation is completed in conjunction with our certified training partners at KC Dawgz. Foster home training is paramount is the generalization of the skills the pups have learned and the primary process of becoming "bomb proof" where they can handle any situation they encounter including public access, restaurants and specific training on how to manage meltdowns, stressful situations, deep pressure therapy, and foundations of search and rescue for those who elope.
It is at this point, even before they start their advanced training, that our pups already exceed the minimum standards required for service & therapy dogs.
We currently have three foster placements that include daily training within school environments at the Belton School District, Rockhurst High School and the LeeAnn Britain Infant Developmental Center. Once the pups have successfully completed their in-school training, they are then matched with their potential clients and task specific training begins.
Training takes 2-3 years.
What ages do you work with? We work with each client's needs on a case by case basis. Typically we do not recommend placement of a service dog with a child under the age of 6. There is no upper age limit for placements.