By now, many of you have met 2 of the newer four legged members on the Complete K9 team, Oakley (black lab X golden retriever) and Jib (Yellow Lab). These boys are different from our usual staff dogs because they will not be with us forever, they have an important job to do.
Natasha and I (Kayla T) are raising National Service Dogs puppies. While Complete K9 offers dog training classes, the 2 of us eat, sleep and breathe dogs and are volunteering our time outside of the company for this specialized training opportunity. Puppy raisers are responsible for basic obedience training as well as public socialization for these future service dogs. We also teach the foundation for more advanced skills such as deep pressure therapy. There are many guide and service dog programs across North America with different specializations. National Service Dogs main programs are Autism, PTSD and Canine Assisted Intervention dogs.
Jib and Oakley are bred to be calm, happy and social puppies and these certainly two live up to that! You might see them around on Open Hikes and Complete K9 events having fun on their off time! While they are calm, well mannered dogs with their working jackets on, they get to be regular puppies and have fun with their friends and go on hikes too!
While raising a service puppy means lots of puppy cuddles and bringing a four legged buddy everywhere you go, it also takes a lot of extra training work and consistency. We need to make sure we expose them to as many scenarios possible to that when they go into service they are well rounded, confident dogs. While anyone can train or raise a service dog, a lot of work, money and time goes into ensuring they pass their public access certification, a necessary qualification for any type of service animal. If a dog doesn’t pass their public access test, they can become a companion dog, which is a dog that goes to a family where someone has a type of disability that doesn’t necessarily need a service animal but could benefit from the companionship of a well trained animal, such as Down’s Syndrome. Natasha and I are hopeful that our puppies will make it through to service, but it is also tough to think about because Jib and Oakley have truly become a part of our families and the Complete K9 team.
Jib and Oakley are excited to meet everyone they can during our time with us so we hope to see many of you around! And if you are curious about the dogs, feel free to contact either one of us personally!