The Qualities Of A Good Service Dog Breeder
"Puppies that are fit for service work require different rearing than puppies who make good house pets. The right breeder can make or break your training outcome".
The Importance Of The Right Breeder
It is always important to make sure you are choosing a responsible breeder when you are purchasing a puppy. However, finding the right pet dog breeder is a lot different than finding the right breeder to adopt your service prospect from. Puppies that are fit for service work require different rearing than puppies that make good house pets. The right breeder can make or break your training outcome.
Genetic Health Testing
Every breed of dog has a set of genetic health disorders they are likely to be predisposed. A good breeder will know which of these inherited disorders apply to their breed and will screen their parent dogs for them. This decreases the likelihood of their puppies developing these disorders later on in life, ensuring that a puppy won't have to wash from service work, due to genetic health conditions.
Proven History Of Producing Service Dogs
The best service dogs have a genetic edge in addition to their environment and training, and they will most often come from a lineage of other working dogs. So to increase your chances of choosing the right service prospect, the breeder you purchase your service prospect from should have a proven history of producing full-time working service dogs. When interviewing potential breeders, ask them how many of their puppies have gone into service work, and what they do to prepare their puppies.
In addition, a breeder with experience in producing service dogs will know how to match the right puppy with you to suit your training needs. This is especially important because picking out a pet dog is a lot different than choosing the right candidate for service work, and the right breeder will ensure that you and your prospect are the right matches.
*Some of the best service dog breeders will not only work with individual families, but will also have contracts with larger service dog training organizations, and will produce puppies for them that fit their client's needs.
Minimum Two Year Health Guarantee
All reliable breeders will send you home with a 30-day health guarantee. The document outlines that within 30 days of you taking your puppy home it will be free of any health defects that are not caused by negligence or mistakes made on part of the handler. However, a good service dog breeder will offer a minimum two-year health guarantee. This contract should cover common ailments that affect the breed of your puppy, congenital disorders, genetic defects, and any infections or other sickness that was caused by the breeder.
List of References or Verifiable Reviews
Your breeder should be established enough to have a healthy reputation within the service dog community. In addition, a confident reliable breeder will be open to providing a list of references
( usually other clients) that can vouch for their competence as a breeder. If you are having trouble finding a breeder with good reviews, try joining a service dog Facebook group. Handlers will post their unfiltered reviews in these groups and will often be willing to share informationaboutf their breeder if you are interested.
Forever Home Policy
Any good breeder will have a forever home policy. This policy ensures that if for any reason a buyer can no longer keep their puppy, the breeder will take them back and be responsible for finding them a new home. In fact, for many breeders, this policy will be written into a contract to ensure that the puppy never ends up in a shelter or an unqualified home.
It is extremely important to find a service dog breeder who has this policy because there is no guarantee that your prospect will make it through service dog training, and you may not have the resources to keep and raise two dogs. In the event that you must give back your prospect, in order to find another one, a breeder with a forever home policy ensures that you can do so.
Early Neurological Stimulation
Service dogs need to be able to deal with stress and be able to work in less-than-favorable conditions. To prepare them for this, service dog breeders will often perform early neurological stimulation. The process involves applying gentle stressors to young puppies in a controlled setting for short periods of time. This may include being introduced to surfaces with different temperatures, and different forms of handling. It is critical for service candidates to experience this within the first few weeks of their life while they are still with their breeder because the canine socialization period of a puppy is within their first 49 days of life. The socialization they experience during their first seven weeks of life will determine how well they deal with socialization training when they begin service work.