Which breed is right for you?
We are often asked how to choose which breed is best for the tasks you require. Our top three breed choices based on general disposition are:
1. Golden Retrievers
2. Labrador Retrievers
3. Standard Poodles
There are many breeds that have the potential to make incredible service dogs. The breed that you choose should match your life-style and have a solid genetic makeup that leans towards wanting to work and please, being sociable and friendly, and having the ability to find calm and cope through stress.Your selection also needs to have the right physical structure for the job you intend for it to do. For example, a French Bulldog is likely not a good selection for mobility work.
Selecting the best breeder & Puppy
At CCAA, we strongly recommend patience and diligence when selecting the correct breeder for your service dog. Health and temperament are paramount for service work longevity and, as such, we only recommend breeders who perform full health clearances on their breeding stock. Those tests will vary based on breed. Each parent club will have a list of recommended minimum health testing. We strongly recommend breeders who use Avidog rearing program or Puppy Culture. Both produce robust, outgoing dogs who rebound from stress quickly. A qualified breeder will perform early neurological stimulation for life long robust immune system and stress resilience. In utero nutrition is just as important as what your puppy eats when they are weaned as such high quality diets for both sire and dam are recommended. Top quality breeders spend so much time with their puppies they know them best which allows them to best match service candidates with their handler. Keep in mind that, even with qualified parents, not every litter will produce a suitable service candidate. Patience when selecting the right dog is very important.
If you are struggling to find a breeder, please reach out. We would be happy to connect you with a qualified breeder.
Base Program: $10,000
Puppy Program: 8-14 Weeks
Service work requires a high degree of sociability, stability and confidence. Puppies that go through our raising program will get started on the right foot, and as such are required to be under the trainers care before their first overnight away from their litter. Puppies will spend through their 14th week working on social skills, stress tolerance, and confidence that goes above and beyond what the average household pet experiences. Service puppies also learn normal puppy basics of house training, crate training, appropriate use of their mouth, loose leash walking. Specific task work will not be covered during this time, however, foundational work may be covered depending on the future task requirements.
In Home Transition: 14-18 Weeks
Once your puppy leaves CCAA, you will have a few weeks to bond and get acclimated to one another before starting the foundation work of all service dogs: obedience. When your service puppy comes home expect to continue their social outings and developing their skills through when they return for task and obedience training.
Your puppy will return to CCAA to work on basic and advanced obedience, on and off leash. The average stay for this training will be 2 weeks - 1 month. Upon completion, the handler and all who live within the household, will start a series of private lessons to work on transitioning these known skills to you and your home. All handlers are expected to keep commands clean and sharp after the puppy has left. While we expect some challenges and push back from your dog, you will be coached through the ins and outs of holding dogs accountable for their skill set.
If you own a dog who you believe is a good service dog candidate, but did not complete our Puppy Program, we would be happy to complete an evaluation with you to see how we can help you move forward.
We will not accept dogs over 1 year of age, dogs with behavioral issues such as reactivity or aggression, or dogs who have major health concerns into our obedience program.
Obedience Training: 18-22 Weeks
While basic and advanced obedience are the bedrock for all service dogs, the task training is what sets a service dog apart from all other working dogs. Starting in the puppy program, we will have an idea of what jobs you'll need your service dog to preform. As your puppy works through the Puppy Program and Obedience program, these tasks will be at the forefront of our work, even though they won't officially be started. To train your dog through the specific tasks that you need, you will start a series of private lessons. You will receive one on one lesson times 2 times per month to learn how to teach the task you're wanting and receive homework to finish the teaching process. You will have the ability to schedule a virtual check in between lessons if you're caught up or need help. All tasks will be taught by the owner/handler with trainer oversight, instruction, and help.
Pricing for task training will be dependent on the amount of tasks you need and the level of training required to teach each task.