Service dogs are God-given gifts to humans. They are the epitome of the title ‘man’s best friend’ because they are some of the most dependable and lifesaving pets to ever exist. They are trustworthy pups that can look after your well-being and become lifelong companions who can boost your morale and keep you happy.
Now, most of the service dogs we usually see outside are big, adult pups who are incredibly well-behaved and alert when they need to be. However, a lot of people also prefer to pick a puppy as their service dog. This is for the specific reason that starting the training young and having them accustomed to you at an early age can foster a long-lasting relationship with them.
There are mixed opinions about having puppies as service dogs; the main issue is that their attitudes are still inconsistent. They might work differently from day-to-day and tend to become spooked by a lot. The trick is to observe your prospects and find these key characteristics before choosing them:
A great indicator of a puppy’s willingness to be with you is if they pass a retrieving test. If you throw a little piece of something like a crumpled paper a couple of feet away and they bring it back to you, there’s a really good chance that they are amenable to be trained by you. You might have to do it a few times to get the pup’s attention, but once you do and they obey, they might be the right service dog for you.
Some dogs are so energetic that they greet you by wagging the tail a few times while approaching you, and then running away as soon as you start to pick them up. You might do well not to choose them. Instead, find the puppy that comes up to you a little late but stays seated on your lap comfortably for a long time. For example, a cocker spaniel can be a great puppy service dog because they love snuggling up to people and are willing to befriend a stranger easily.
FAST RECOVERY FROM STARTLING EXPERIENCE
Say you drop a clanging metal on the floor and the puppy startles. The thing to observe is how they recover from this startling event. If they calm down quickly and proceed to inspect the thing, that’s a good indication that they could be a service dog. A pup that attacks that thing and panics may not have the steady nerves of a good pet.
A good service dog knows to follow you especially if they are unfamiliar with the surroundings. Take the puppy to a location they have never been to before and speak softly to them. Then, turn to walk away slowly. A puppy that follows you will also be willing to take your lead in your lives. If they become irritable and bite you as they follow, then they might not be the one for you.
Other markers that determine a good service dog are forgiveness, which is a sign that they will understand any angry or manic episode you may have; and acceptance to being held, which means they trust you enough to let them hold you. Breeds like the cocker spaniel can be a good puppy service dog because they know how to love and take care of their human.
Choosing the right service dog is a task that needs patience. Before taking them in, ensure that you both genuinely like each other to become lifelong companions.