Meet The Puppies Training To Be Service Dogs

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- [Narrator] Across the country more than half a million people rely on a service dog in their everyday life.

These elite dogs are the product of months of schooling.

And not all puppies that begin training have what it takes an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> become a service dog.

If a pup doesn't live up to the strict standards required they will fail out.

Which puppies have the brains and behavior an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> make it through the rigors of training? We find out at Puppy Prep.

(light music) On the California coastline, about half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco sits Arroyo Grande.

A small community of beaches, mountains and wineries.

Just outside of town is Doggie Do Good.

A training and obedience school specializing in the education of service dogs.

Depending on the dog, the journey from carefree puppy to hero can take anywhere from six months an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> more than a year.

Not all dogs make it through the process.

If a dog flunks out, it's put up for adoption.

At any given time, there are dozens of service dogs in training at Doggy Do Good.

The abilities they learn range from retrieval, an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> stability, pressure therapy, medical alerts, simply kisses, and much more.

What they learn depends upon what each individual dog is predisposed to.

For instance, ^yellow lab, Deacon, specializes in ^retrieval and stability.

- Good, steady.

- [Narraan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>r] At almost two years old, he's older than many of the dogs that have already graduated.

He was a stubborn pup.

And though he had come close an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> flunking out, he is now only weeks from potential graduation.

Still, he can't coast.

Until the minute before graduating, trainers are watching the dogs for any sign that they won't be able to cut it.

Right now, Deacon and his classmate are working on basic come drills.

The pups run around the lawn and play.

And one by one the trainers call out to them.

- Kaya, come.

Good girl.

- Cooper, come.

Good boy.

- [Narraan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>r] The most important thing a dog needs to learn is the difference between playtime and work time.

While it's alright for the dogs to act like puppies, as soon as the trainers calls them they need to snap into work mode.

These drills help solidify that skill.

- [Trainer] Deacon, come.

- [Narraan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>r] For a veteran like Deacon, this is simple.

If Deacon is a senior in service dog high, one of the incoming freshman ^is Kaya.

^An eight month old golden retriever.

Kaya is beautiful and I love her.

If she fails out of school during training, I will be trying to adopt her.

And right off the bat she's having a problem.

See, Kaya enjoys the company of people over other dogs.

While it's good to be comfortable around people, she can't remain nervous around other dogs if she's going to pass training.

^Kaya's half sister, Remmy, ^is also starting class.

Though they share a dad and are almost the same age Remmy has a completely different personality.

Remmy loves an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> play with other dogs.

And often tries to pull her half sister out of her doggie shell.

^For the especially young pups, ^like six month old chocolate lab, Beneli, learning the come command begins on a long leash.

A trainer call Beneli and gives a gentle tug.

This one little pull is all the puppy needs to come the rest of the way.

Until she recognizes the command, the leash helps Beneli understand what the English speaking humans are trying to communicate to her doggy ears.

So far she's doing an, Cleo! San style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>p an style="text-decoration: underline;">getan>ting everyone into trouble.

Keep it it up, Beneli, and you'll be off that leash in no time.

After this morning exercise, it's time an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> try something more subdued.

Most of the service dog's time isn't spent running around or actively working.

Instead being calm and on call.

Ready at a moment's notice to help.

The puppies must lay down and not get distracted for long stretches of time.

Trainers toss an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>ys around an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> make sure the dogs will choose their jobs over pure playtime.

- [Trainer] Good stay, guys.

- [Narrator] Whenever a dog breaks from their down stay it isn't enough for the dog an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> simply lay back down.

The trainer needs an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> take the dog back to the position where they were.

Otherwise a puppy won't understand the gravity of an style="text-decoration: underline;">getan>ting up.

If a dog is always distracted, and can't learn an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> focus, that's the quickest way to fail Puppy Prep.

Kaya's brother, Luke, is late to class.

He spent the morning offsite with a trainer.

And without having the morning an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> run around, like the rest of his classmates, Luke may be too bored to sit still.

Beneli, all you have to do is literally stay still.

If Beneli can't stay when the ball is tossed over her head, she may become too distracted when taken out in public.

Remmy! Come on, you pups just need to relax.

These two have just started, so their behavior isn't a huge problem yet.

Kaya, an style="text-decoration: underline;">howan>ever is just as new and already a pro at down stay.

That's why you're my favorite.

With most of the dogs being unfazed by the toys, it's time for some livelier distractions.

Oh my God, ^it's Mr.

Pip! ^Mr.

Pip is beyond being absolutely undeniable, also a service dog in training.

Smaller dogs can comfort people with anxiety, as well as help alert people with diseases like diabetes when they need to take their medicine.

Now, however, his only job is an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> distract his classmates.

Most of the dogs don't fall for the enchanting dance of Mr.

Pip.

^Except for Tank, the german shepherd.

^One thing that Tank needs an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> work on is his play drive.

Small animals like cats and Mr.

Pip can distract larger dogs when they're with their future owners.

Tank must fight his most basic instincts in order to pass Puppy Prep.

And as for Mr.

Pip, he isn't scared.

He has a job to do but he performs it admirably.

God bless you, Mr.

Pip.

By the end of the down stay lesson, it looks like everyone's made progress.

But there's one more test.

^Mercy.

A malinois with almost unlimited energy.

Mercy belongs to Sandy, the owner of Doggy Do Good.

Immaculately schooled.

Mercy acts as a four legged trainer.

Squeaking the toy just as the people trainers would.

(barking) Mercy's claimed a victim.

With only a month from his planned graduation, Deacon should know better than to break from down stay.

If he continues to lose focus, he may have to stay in school for extra months.

Or worse, flunk out.

As for the other dogs they've taken their lessons well.

For most it's still early in their service dog training.

As long as they can keep making progress the puppies show good promise of graduating.

Kaya in particular, san style="text-decoration: underline;">howan>s a lot of potential.

Especially for her young age and upbringing.

Unlike her brother, Luke, who was raised since birth by trainers at Doggy Do Good, Kaya went off an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> a puppy raiser family.

Many of the dogs at Doggy Do Good live with a foster family for the first few months of their life.

There, they learn the most basic behaviors.

Like potty training.

When pups reach six an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> eight months they return an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> Doggy Do Good to begin service dog school.

Kaya's family dropped her off a few weeks ago and she's seen them only once since.

Today, however, they're back for a visit.

When trainer, Paul, brings Kaya outside, she thinks she's going for a walk.

What she doesn't know is that the family that raised her is waiting around the corner.

- [Dad] Kaya.

- [Sis] Kaya! Hi Kaya! Hi, oh, hi! - [Dad] Hey, baby, hey baby.

- [Mom] Come here.

- [Sis] I miss you.

- [Narrator] During their training it's easy an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> forget how young the dogs are.

When allowed an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> roll around with her former family, Kaya is all puppy.

Even if foster father, Ray, wants an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> make sure she still behaves.

Puppy raisers are a crucial part of the service dog process.

And often, one of the bottlenecks to training service dogs.

Newborn puppies need your constant attention to learn the basics of obedience.

- Good girl.

- [Narraan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>r] And while it's fun for the family to raise a puppy, knowing they have to say good bye in a few short months can be difficult.

Kaya's family is proud of the job she'll someday have, and while they still miss Kaya, the family thinks that soon, they'll be ready to take another puppy an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> help begin its journey an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> becoming a service dog.

- Release, release, good girl.

- [Narrator] At the end of the day, the good boys and good girls at Doggy Do Good have taken another step to becoming fully trained service dogs.

But an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>morrow is another day filled with new challenges and distractions that could ruin a dog's career.

Which puppies have what it takes? Mr.

Pip! (laughing) (light music).

Source: Youtube

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