A few days ago I watched a documentary on service dogs from another organization. It was very interesting and though smaller was roughly based on CCI's training methods... except for one thing... puppy raising! This organization didn't have puppy raisers. The puppies live at the training center from the day they are born to the day they are released or graduate. I saw a problem with this. The dogs had never been away from the center except for public outings with professionals. The dogs seemed to do okay at the training center. But one boy's service dog freaked out in the home setting and was a nervous wreck. I would blame that the dog never staying over night in a home or living in a home for that matter.
Puppy raisers change that. Even if we mess up we introduce our puppies to home life, routine, public places, and the dog learns how to respond in many situations that will be common in the life of an active service dogs. So I would say that puppy raising programs are much better than living in a kennel and training with a professional trainer.
Puppy raisers also double as public relations. And because we take our dogs most everywhere we go and because we are volunteers we inspire others and get out the word about service/guide dogs.
And no matter how good the trainer is dogs can change when their surroundings change. Puppy raisers have the ability to focus on a single dog and give it the attention and training that the dogs want and need. The dogs also learn how to bond and seem to easily bond with their new partners later in life. If you think about it the service dog recipients aren't professionals either. They get two weeks of training with their new partner and then they go home and begin their lives as a team!
|I've had time to focus on Dembre and give him what he needs|
|CCI dogs are raised with love and learn to use love to serve others|