Pawsitivity Service Dogs

Puppies and Rescues FAQ

How and when to choose what kind of dog to work with for service dogs

We firmly believe in training rescue dogs as service animals and have saved hundreds in the process. However, for certain tasks with veterans, specifically-bred puppies are sometimes needed. We ensure these puppies come from loving homes, avoiding puppy mills, and adhere strictly to high standards for their well-being and happiness.

Why do you have such a dedication to using rescues?

Many US breeding programs focus on appearance rather than behavior, health, and longevity. This has made many breeds less healthy. (On a related note, this is why so many police departments have to go to Europe to get their dogs.) Puppy mills, which aim for profit, often produce unhealthy and unhappy dogs. So, we choose to work with rescue dogs as much as we can.

Why do you also use puppies?

For certain recipients, using a rescue dog is suitable even if the dog has faced past trauma, like being in a shelter. However, for veterans with PTSD, a specially-bred puppy might be the better option. We assess each situation individually, as every dog and veteran has unique needs and circumstances. When assisting veterans with PTSD, it's crucial they have a dog free from trauma. Even brief stints in shelters can deeply affect a dog, resulting in lingering fear. Despite efforts to address this fear, it's not what a veteran needs. They require a dog that's confident and calm, with only positive experiences from humans. By working with a puppy from the start and choosing the right breeder, we can ensure that the dog will grow up to handle distressing situations with calmness.

How do make sure that the puppies are not from puppy-mills?

Thank goodness that there are a few people who have the same values we do. These rare breeders use a program called Puppy Culture to ensure that the pups are well socialized, and they are focused on temperament and long-life over looks like color, fur length, or other show characteristics. 

The puppies we source come from the select few who:

  1. Raise the puppies and the adult dogs in their homes, not in kennels.
  2. Raise dogs with one top priority in mind: temperament (not looks).
  3. Retain both parent dogs, allowing us to assess their temperaments in person.
  4. Know exactly the temperament we are looking for and give us first pick of puppy.
  5. Use the Puppy Culture program and ensure the puppies interact with children, strangers, and are exposed to new environments for the right period of time every single day that it’s supposed to happen.