Service Dogs for an Array of Needs
We offer pups with the foundation of having the right personality, aptitude, and temperament to become service dogs for an array of needs. Whether you or a loved one suffers from: PTSD / Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Social Anxiety, SAD, Depression, Autism, ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder, ODD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Specific Learning Difficulties, ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Tourette's, OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Gifted, Sensory Integration Disorder Auditory Processing, Seizures, Diabetes, Physical Disabilities, Handicapped, and more. Service dogs can be trained to work to mitigate any type of disability. The possibilities are endless and are only limited by your imagination, your own aptitude to learn, apply training techniques, and willingness to follow through with training.
Train Your Own Service Dog
If you are looking to train your own service dog for a variety of needs, here are 2 excellent books you can download from Amazon: How to Train Your Own Service Dog and Training Your Own Service Dog Book 2: Training Psychiatric Service Dogs - PTSD, Anxiety Disorders, and Depression.
2 other excellent reads are "The Art of Raising a Puppy". I especially enjoyed this one because it also has an audio CD option, making it easy to listen wherever you might be. Lucky Dog Lessons is also excellent in helping you understand how to teach basic commands using positive reinforcement & the redirect method which are the methods essential for long term training.
What it takes to successfully raise a D.I.Y. Service Dog: Generally it's best when there are no other animals in the house that can distract or teach your service dogs bad behaviors that are easily be picked up in a social context. Generally expect to spend 2 full hours spread throughout the day to exercise, play, and train your pup. Generally you need to be able to take the dog with your everywhere you go. This is extremely important in the first few months of puppy rearing for future service. It also takes a person with good reading comprehension skills. If you are the type of person that can put something together using instructions and you don't mind doing so, or maybe you even enjoy it, you probably could be successful. D.I.Y. service dogs take a self starter personality. Are you the type that doesn't need someone to tell you when or how to get started on a project? Are you the type to look up projects or ideas on the internet and then try it yourself? If so, you could probably succeed in this endeavor. It also takes patience and a desire to work with a puppy as well as money to raise the pup. Generally expect to spend about $100-$150/month for food, toys, bedding, vaccinations, vet visits etc.
In summary these are the skills/traits a successful D.I.Y. Service Dog Handler/Raiser needs to have:
1) Ideally no other animals - dogs are social learners and are likely to pick up behaviors from other animals
2) 2 hours a day
3) Ability to take your pup with you everywhere you go
4) Good reading comprehension skills
5) Someone that is alread a D.I.Y. personality
6) Self Starter
7) Desire to work with a puppy
8) Money - $100 - $150/month
Reserving a D.I.Y. Service Dog
The best chance at getting the right fit for the desired work is determined on how they test on their 49th day of life combined with your ability to properly handle and train your pup based on these traits. It's important that you reserve early from a litter and choose The Complete Package. Make the overall test score outcome of up-most importance in your selection. For most service dogs, getting 1st pick will give you the best chance at finding the right pup. Generally therapy dogs for community services like visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and trauma patients do not require as much precision, so getting 2nd pick would be fine. In any case, if we are not able to match you with the pup for your specific family, environment, or need, and you've elected The Complete Package, we will move you to a future litter. Why Choose Top Notch Labradoodles? We are one of the very few breeders across the entire United States who correctly implements personality testing and understands the foundations necessary to match the temperament/aptitude/confidence it takes to be successful for the type of service desired. Our level of genetic testing to produce the healthiest life long partner is unprecedented and currently unmatched. Can you imagine putting in all the time, energy, and monetary resources it takes to produce an service dog only for that dog to become: Blind, disabled, suffer an EIC collapse resulting in death, get cancer, or suffer another genetic condition that could have been avoided with proper genetic testing before breeding occurred? Unfortunately this happens. Many people, including reputable not-for-profits spend a lot of money and several years training a poorly bred dog only for the dog to become a liability for the person in need. This is a waste of resources and a huge let down for the person that's often been waiting for years for their service dog.
Puppy Aptitude & Temperament Testing
There are 10 tests that we administer. These tests originated back in the 1930's and 1950's and were used to determine ability to become a guide dog. Later these tests evolved and were also used to determine aptitude for learning. Retrieving, Social Attraction, and Following are key indicators for ease or difficulty in training. While ultimately it's your choice what pup you select based on your pick number. We will discourage you from picking a pet that is not suitable for your home / environment, especially in the case with an overall score of 1 or 6.
1. Social Attraction - degree of social attraction to people, confidence, and dependence.
2. Following - willingness to follow a person.
3. Restraint - degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations. 4. Social Dominance - degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.
5. Elevation - degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or groomer.
Obedience, Aptitude, & Work Ability Section
6. Retrieving - degree of willingness to do something for you.
7. Touch Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
8. Sound Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms.
9. Sight Sensitivity - degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
10. Stability - degree of startle response to a strange object.
Real Life Applications - Primary Roles
Therapy dogs for Autism, PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Disabilities, Handicapped, Retirement Homes, Hospitals
If the dog is to work with children under the age of 10, look for an overall score of 4. If the dog is to work with an adult(s) or children over age 10, look for an overall score of 3. (If little or no dog experience, look for a 4).
1st Time Pet Owners or Small Children Under Age 10
Focus on the overall score and look for a 4.
2nd Time Pet Owner
Focus on the overall score and look for a 3.
Pet to an outdoorsy type: Jogger, hiker, someone that likes daily physical exercise. Focus on the overall score and look for a 3 unless you are a 1st time owner, then look for an overall score of 4.
Higher Level Service Dogs: Mobility Service Dog, Guide Dog, Dog for the Blind, Search & Rescue, Narcotics Detection, Drug Sniffing Dog, Police Dog
These dogs need to have loads of self confidence. 2's & 3's are a good fit. They must show no fear on the Sound, Sight, and Stability scores.
Overall Score Interpretation
Scores range from a scale of 1-6. 1 being the most confident and dominant to 6 being the most submissive and passive.
A puppy that consistently scores a 1 in the temperament section (1-5) of the test is an dominant aggressive puppy who can easily be provoked to bite. His dominant nature will attempt to resist human leadership, thus requiring only the most experienced of handlers. This puppy is a poor choice for most individuals and will do best in a working situation.
In the right hands, he has the potential to become a fine working service, guide, or show dog. He could fit into an adult household, provided the owners know what they are doing. This pup is dominant and self-assured. He can be provoked to bite; however he readily accepts human leadership that is firm, consistent and knowledgeable. This is not a dog for a tentative, indecisive individual. He should be placed into an experienced home. He will be too unruly to be good with children and older/retired people, or other animals. He has leadership aspirations and may be hard to manage. He has lots of self-confidence, needs strict schedule, loads of exercise, and a lot of positive reinforcement training.
The pup is outgoing and friendly and will adjust well in situations in which he receives regular training and exercise. He has a flexible temperament that adapts well to different types of environment, provided he is handled correctly. This is a great dog for a second time owner. Generally a high energy dog that needs lots of exercise. Good with people and other animals. Can be a bit of a handful to live with especially during the puppy stage. Needs training, does very well at it and learns quickly. Energy needs to be dispersed with plenty of exercise.
A pup that scores a majority of 4's is an easily controlled, adaptable puppy whose submissive nature will make him continually look to to his master for leadership. This pup is easy to train, reliable with kids, and, though he lacks self-confidence, makes a high-quality family pet. He is usually less outgoing than a pup scoring in the 3's, but his demeanor is gentle and affectionate. This is the best choice for the first time owner. 4’s can become excellent therapy dogs for children and adults with an array of special needs ranging from anxiety, autism, handicapped, to mental retardation. This pup will rarely will buck for a promotion. He is usually easy to train and rather quiet. This pup tends to be good with older/retired people and children - although may need protection from the children. Take it to obedience classes, and you’ll be the star, without having to do too much work! Energy needs to be dispersed with plenty of exercise.
This is a pup who is extremely submissive and lacking in self-confidence. He bonds very closely with his owner and requires regular companionship and encouragement to bring him out of himself. If handled incorrectly, this pup will grow up very shy and fearful. For this reason, he will do best in a predictable, structured lifestyle with owners who are patient and not overly demanding, such as an elderly couple within an environment that doesn’t change too much. Use Positive reinforcement training ONLY. 5's need to be gently, methodically, and thoughtfully exposed to as many different social situations, walks of life, noises, and moving objects on a daily basis starting from the moment they get into their new home until approximately 16 weeks to have the best chance to over come their own "fraidy cat" personalities. These pets need to be taught that it's ok to trust others, giving lots of praise, affection, and treats as a reward for their trust. Owners should focus on positive reinforcement ONLY and avoid physical correction.
A puppy that scores 6 consistently may be too independent or uninterested in people. He may mature into a dog who is not demonstrably affectionate and who has a low need for human companionship. In general, it is rare to see properly socialized pups test this way; however there are several breeds that have been bred for specific tasks (such as basenjis, hounds, and some northern breeds) which can exhibit this level of independence. To perform as intended, these dogs require a singularity of purpose that is not compromised by strong attachments to their owner. Naturally they will be best suited for an independent environment. This dog may be so independent that he doesn’t need you or other people. The owner should not care if he is trained or not. The dog will be his own person and may not bond with you. For 6's, owners should focus on positive reinforcement ONLY and avoid physical correction. The owner should set aside daily time to groom, pet, hang out, and play with their pet to have the best chance at forming a bond. Disclaimer: We are not service or assistance dog professionals. All testing is done on a best efforts basis to give our clients the best chance that we can offer at advising our clients in getting the right dog for the home, specific need, and environment. These tests are only an indicator, it is not a faultless system. Individual results will vary and we cannot guarantee an outcome after your pup goes home. Training that takes into account their personality is essential. For example, you may bring home a 3 or 4 personality, but without your leadership, this pup may become more like a 1 or 2 in order to fill that void. Another example, you may take home a 6 and with correct handling, training, and exposure, he may become more like a 4. Environment, proper handling, training, and exposure are all major sources of personality development. In order for an assistance or service dog to be successful in the desired role, training and intensity of training appropriate for the need, taking into account the pup's personality, is imperative.
Disclaimer: We are not service or assistance dog professionals. All testing is done on a best efforts basis to give our clients the best chance that we can offer at advising our clients in getting the right dog for the home, specific need, and environment. These tests are only an indicator, it is not a faultless system. Individual results will vary and we cannot guarantee an outcome after your pup goes home. Training that takes into account their personality is essential. For example, you may bring home a 3 or 4 personality, but without your leadership, this pup may become more like a 1 or 2 in order to fill that void. Another example, you may take home a 6 and with correct handling, training, and exposure, he may become more like a 4. Environment, proper handling, training, and exposure are all major sources of personality development. In order for an assistance or service dog to be successful in the desired role, training and intensity of training appropriate for the need, taking into account the pup's personality, is imperative.
A salute to Dakota, our first & flagship puppy tester. Animals are her passion.