Service or Family Dog?
"How do you decide if a pup is going to be a service dog or a companion dog?" This is a question we frequently receive from potential clients who are considering purchasing a dog from us. While all the dogs that we produce are incredible creatures, not every dog is perfect for the working life. The standards are so high for service dogs going through our program that we carefully identify pups with temperaments conducive to service dog training, detector dog training or those better suited to in a family dog life.
At seven weeks of age, we do what is called PAT testing, (Puppy Aptitude Test). We use a combination of the Volhard test and our own tests to determine if a pup has service potential or not. In addition to the Volhard test, we have added a couple problem solving and curiosity evaluations. Two of which are sound and smell tests. All of the tests are done in a room that the pup has never before been in, and the evaluator is a person the pup has never met. This helps to give a truer evaluation of who the pup is, and what his/her potential could be.
The expectation for a cuddle buddy is not nearly as intense as it is for a service animal. Since they don't have to be constantly working, and they don't need to have an incredible sense of smell, picking companion dogs is a much easier process. When we have puppies that have shown that they would better fit as a family dog, we will then look for a family, couple, or individual that best suits that particular puppy. Some pups have lots of energy and exuberance! Others are snuggle bugs and love to relax. We do our best to place pups with a family that matches their personality. Energy and wiggles thrives best in a busy family with active kids. The more relaxed calm puppy may do better with an elderly couple.
Sometimes we will have a puppy come through our program that is a bit higher drive than our average service dog. In those instances, we will do our best to place those pups in drug or explosive detection work. Detection dogs need to have an incredible sense of smell, while oozing confidence. Some of our pups we have placed in this line of work and they have excelled at their job.
As you can see, there is much forethought, time, and energy expended as we do our best to place our Dutydog puppies and dogs in their ideal home.