Frequently Asked Questions
1. I have never owned a dog before and/or I have young children-- is your program still a good choice for me?
YES! You are our ideal family. We feel our niche is to help families who may otherwise be apprehensive to adopt a dog from a shelter be able to feel comfortable with adopting a rescue dog! Such families often cite lack of experience with dogs or other concerns like young children, someone with special needs living in the home, etc. as hesitations in their search for a dog. Our dogs are EXTREMELY well-socialized with young children and will make a good fit as an emotional support dog for a child or otherwise gentle companion. We also offer training support to make sure you have the base knowledge needed to care well for your dog!
2. What breeds and age are your dogs? Where do you rescue them from?
Whenever possible we do try to rescue and train low-shedding breeds, mainly standard poodles and doodles, as this benefits many families with allergy concerns. Not to mention we love the gentle, trainable temperament of the poodle. However, we will not pass up a dog of any breed or mix who meets our strict temperament requirements!
Our dogs are typically 1-4 years of age--they are more easily trained at this age as they are past the puppy phase, but still have so much love and life to give their new families!
We keep our eyes peeled! We are in touch with several rescue groups and rehoming sites and always on the lookout for dogs that fit our desired temperament, breeds, and age in shelters!
3. What training methods do you use?
We do not subscribe to one particular school of thought, but rather use a variety of methods and ways to motivate our dogs. We use positive reinforcement whenever possible, our dogs are generally mild-mannered enough to almost exclusively respond to this type of training. But when needed, we also make use of verbal corrections and redirection. We use a vibrating collar as one form of redirection particularly for off-leash recall, but we do not use physical force or shock collars on our dogs.
4. What can I expect during the transition period?
No matter how well-trained a dog is, you can expect a transition period as they adjust to new people and surroundings. It can take up to 30 days for a dog to accept his new "pack." The first few days in particular may involve a few hiccups. As an example, sometimes a crate-trained dog may bark or whine a bit his first few times in a crate at a new house, but will overall adjust much faster than a dog who has not been previously crate-trained. Your dog should still display a stable temperament and ability to follow basic commands even as he is learning the ropes. We also provide trainer support during this critical 30-day period.
5. What can I expect from the 4-week trainer support received?
While we are always available to chat via email or phone at any point during your dog's life, we are extra available during the first month after you take home your new dog. We offer weekly virtual training sessions during this time for any troubleshooting and 3 one-hour private training sessions at your house as needed.
6. I've heard if you don't get a dog as a puppy, you can't fully trust their temperament, is this true?
Unfortunately, we have also heard some rescue "horror stories" which is what prompted us to start our business! We aim to take the guesswork out of rescuing a dog. When you a rescue a dog, you do not know much if anything about their background or genetics which can feel like a risk, especially if you do not know much about dogs and/or have young children. We don't always know much about our dogs backgrounds, but we can vouch for their temperament test results and their behavior during their 2-3 months at our house! We take the risk on ourselves by exposing the dog to every possible situation we can think of before they can pass our program!
If a dog shows ANY level of aggression toward humans during his course with us (growling, nipping, resource guarding, etc.), he/she will automatically be removed from our training program. We may place him in a suitable home ourselves or reach out to another rescue depending on the circumstances.
While we do feel very confident in the stability of each of our dogs, we remain aware that they are animals and as such we do not guarantee a dog's temperament. We do our very best to expose our dogs to a huge variety of situations with other animals, people, and children. But we cannot guarantee we have thought of every possible situation your dog could encounter in the future!
7. What happens to dogs that can't pass the program?
In order to pass our program, a dog must show ZERO aggression towards people in any circumstance and be friendly with other dogs. The dog must be able to perform at a high level of obedience even in distracting environments. The dog must also be healthy and pass a veterinarian exam. If a dog is unable to meet these basic requirements, he will not be rehomed through our training program. We may find a home willing to work with a dog with these needs or we may work with other reputable rescues to find a home suited for him. We do believe there is a home for every dog, but for the purposes of our program, only those well suited to be therapy-dogs or exceptionally gentle family companions will be able to graduate.
8. Will my dog be a licensed therapy dog or service dog upon graduation?
No, but he will be well on his way to either of these options. Our goal is to have our dogs pass the Canine Good Citizen test upon graduation. The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test is similar to many therapy dog evaluations and shows that the dog is friendly with strangers and other dogs, can behave in a public setting, and can follow basic commands even in a distracting environment. The CGC test is often recommended as a good precursor to a therapy dog certification, and many therapy dog organizations require a dog to pass it in order to be therapy dog certified. However, therapy dog organizations certify both the dog and his handler as an approved pair to visit hospitals, nursing homes, etc. so a dog should be certified when he is in his new home with his permanent handler.
When it comes to becoming a service dog, your dog will have a good foundation, but would need further specific task training depending on your needs. We have some dogs that would have what it takes to be a service dog, but future training would be needed.