Kevin’s First Week – the raising of a psychiatric service dog puppy

Another successful match!

My final puppy raising project of 2019, Kevin, a chocolate multi generation labradoodle from Just A Walk Home Kennel, to be partnered with Miranda, has rounded the bases to successfully survive her first week here at Camp A Better Pet. This sturdy, calm, intelligent, curious, outgoing with just a dash of reserve puppy was selected when she was 9 weeks old from a selection of about a dozen pups.  I consider matching people with the right “make and model”‘ of puppy or dog as critically important to the success of the training and partnering, regardless of breed, age or functionality. If you’re going to put in the time and cost for such a venture, the match is key. Matching people to dogs is my superpower (Kevin is the 31st service dog puppy I have had a hand in raising/training/placing and supporting since 2002!!) and keeps getting keener. A second visit at 12 weeks old to review her along with other available options confirmed my belief that she was the perfect match for Miranda. Kevin moved in with me last Thursday, August 15.

Since she has arrived this is some of what she has done:

  1. Met 11 individual people at 5 Drop in Plays and in addition to my dogs Franny, Shamrock and Tommy, and my cats Tae, Edgar and kitten Cat. R. Pilar, she has also met Puck, Scout, Riley, Ruby, Pixie and Duke. Each day she has gotten more friendly and playful and she has a mad crush on Franny which is great, since she is the Den Mother of Dog Trainers for this fast growing doodle.
  2. She has mastered the dog door, going up and down all the steps in the house (rubber tread in back hall, wood elsewhere.
  3. She has learned how to eat food out of hands, a bob-a-lot and increasingly frozen kongs and become food treat motivated (which she wasn’t at first).
  4. She has learned recall and sit and down and just starting on the concept of stay even from great distances and with distractions. 
  5. She has been fitted for a small Har-Vest and has started on leash manners

    Kevin’s FIrst Har-Vest

  6. She has gone to a huge outdoor free end of summer concert at University Circle in Cleveland and was exposed to hundreds of people, lots of activity, lots of new smells, music, cars, chaos and was fantastic! 
  7. She has been sleeping through the night, learning house training (not perfect, but doing well for a dog who had never even been outside until one week ago!), and has become super snuggly. 
  8. She is great about crate training — going in to crate on her own, fussing only briefly when first locked up andcalmly exiting when I return. 
  9. She has learned to gnaw on appropriate chews (bully sticks and Himalayan yak chews) and redirects from the cardboard she seems to fancy!
  10. She has learned her name and I’ve told her stories of why she is named Kevin. It’s from the movie UP.

If she can excel at so much in just a week, I can hardly wait to see what the coming weeks will bring. 

If you (or a loved one) might benefit from some guidance in whether a psychiatric service dog is right path, please feel free to review the website, send an email to make a phone appointment to further discuss.