KeenDog’s Role in Raising & Training Your Dream Service Dog

service dogs May 22, 2024
Belgian malinois service dog performing deep pressure therapy across handler's legs on bench surrounded by bushes and trees.

Looking to add a service dog to your family or complete task training with a dog that you already have? We would love to help you on this journey!

Our approach to raising and training service dogs is as unique and individual as each handler’s needs. We typically start with a consultation and an in-depth discussion to better understand what you’re looking for in a dog and make a rough plan for training.

If you do not yet have a prospect in mind, we are happy to play whatever role best suits your needs. We can make a recommendation on breed, suggest breeders, assess and temperament test puppies… And if you are wanting to task train a dog that you already have or start with an older dog, we are happy to assess your dog’s aptitude for service work. No matter where you're starting from, we love to be involved as early as possible to set you on the best course possible!

When it comes to training, we like to start with one of our standard programs. The reason for this is that they are designed to lay a strong foundation and build all of the skills dogs need to be well-balanced and well-behaved. With puppies in particular, all of our programs focus on confidence building, proper socialization and environmental exposure, in-home management, play development, obedience foundations, handler engagement, etc. 

As dogs progress through training, we work on the types of skills that are necessary for public access such as neutrality, advanced obedience, and the art of doing nothing. Depending on the specific tasks that a dog will need to perform, we begin laying foundations for those along the way. 

Typically, once a dog has completed one of our standard programs, we make a plan for continued training to address specific task-training needs. This may entail additional board-and-train weeks, extra one-on-one lessons, etc. 

Here are some examples of how we may structure training for service dog prospects:

  • Start with our Puppy Prodigy program. This comprehensive program is perfect for giving prospects the best start possible. Puppies typically come to us straight from the breeder and then they live with our trainers for 16 weeks. Follow this up with à la carte one-on-one lessons or a custom board and train program at a later date to complete task training.
  • Start with Puppy Pre-K. This three week board-and-train program is a great way to jump-start training and in-home management. Continue training with The Bestie (our in-home lesson program) or Keen Camp (our advanced obedience three week board-and-train). Follow this up with à la carte one-on-one lessons or a custom board and train program at a later date to complete task training.
  • Start with The Whole Enchilada. This hybrid program includes five in-home lessons to jump-start foundations followed by a three week board-and-train once the dog reaches 6 months of age. As with the other examples, this would be followed up with à la carte one-on-one lessons or a custom board and train program at a later date to complete task training.

Keep in mind, these are just examples! No two handlers have the exact same needs and no two dogs have the exact same strengths and weaknesses. We will work with you to customize an approach that will consider your budget, learning style, task-training goals, and your individual prospect. We are also happy to work with both local and out of state clients, so no matter where you live we can help you on your service dog journey.

Ready to start your service dog selection and/or training journey with Keen Dog? Schedule a virtual consultation with us today!



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