March 13, 2024 Marks the date to recognize K9 Veterans Day
Not only to recognize Military Service Duty Dogs but also Dogs assisting Veteran’s Post Service. It was on March 13, 1942, that the Army began training for its new War Dog Program, also known as the “K-9 Corps,” according to American Humane, marking the first time that dogs were officially a part of the U.S. Armed Forces.

K9 for warriors is the nation’s largest provider of trained service dogs.

I get asked often if I feel my dogs and puppies can be service dogs. Of course, some will be great at this and some will struggle. Each puppy is unique in their personality. The knowledge to know to determine this is gathered by watching and observing the puppy. This is why we feel it is so important to do evaluations of the puppies routinely in the first few months.

What can be evaluated in the first few months is important.

I recently did the personality testing on our lab puppies that were 6 weeks old. This is about the perfect time. I don’t always do this on the exact 6-week date. I want to time this with setting the puppy up for success by doing this test when they are going through the less amount of stress. 

When we talk about stress on a puppy we are referring to stress on their immune system along with mental stress. Such as; did they just get their vaccination today, did we travel to the vet office or have they not fully adjusted to the weaning stage. These are all areas we consider as stress triggers for puppies at this early age. And by doing an evaluation around these triggers will often not show the true results of the puppy. 

Are there some puppies that would benefit from doing the test on a different day? Of course, and that is why we will evaluate them often after this initial test. I don’t typically do a full evaluation again but we do different outings and environments to evaluate how the puppy is advancing. And I make note of this advancement on their personality test sheet. There have been times with a puppy where at the initial testing the pup was not listening or giving any attention to the handler. This is not always a negative score. For example; if the puppy is very curious and checking all the surroundings out that is a good thing. At this young age when I place a puppy in a new environment with all new sounds and smells I am surprised at how they react. And often in just another week they have better skills of listening and following along. You can see more of the criteria for our personality test here

Labrador Retrievers and Mini Labradoodles can both be service dogs.

Our primary goal when the puppy is young is to make sure they feel safe. Keeping them with the mother until she is ready to be away from them is good. Keeping the mother with them up till the 6 week age also will teach them a certain social skills needed. And having the needed play time with litter mates is essential. When we have a single puppy in a litter we always get that pup with other puppies at the weaning stage because it aquire those social skills around other puppies that it needs.

Puppies at the 6 week to 3 month stage are just starting to learning.

Do puppies change from their initial personality testing? Yes, but they tend to have that underline personality with them. For example if we have a very outgoing puppy it will tend to stay very confident and active. By having this personality test will prove helpful when training to learn their motivation triggers. For instance in a case with a very outgoing puppy you will need to keep things moving for it to be motivated to be trained. Most all pups have the nose to help train with so using this while training to encourage the pup to walk by your side with treats in your pocket and rewarding for good behavior.

I recently wrote an article on what to be prepared with on training for service dogs. You can read this article here with suggestions on places to get more information. We try very hard to fit every one of our puppies young and old into homes that fit their needs with providing the perfect companion.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful in understanding the socialization stages of puppies and what goes into the personality test. In short, both the Labrador Retrievers and Mini Labradoodles are very patient, loving, and loyal dogs. If you’re considering adopting a fur-ever friend, we at Siess Ranch specialize in fitting our puppies in the best suited homes. Check out the Nursery, or contact us with any questions you may have.

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