Frequently Answered Questions

You asked it we answer

Why is it important to make an educated decision on getting a dog?

Too many times, humans seek the  companionship of canines to only find out that it is a lot of work, frustration and at times scary.  To avoid these hardships, humans need to become knowledgeable about the specific breeds that are compatible with their lifestyles or be willing to change their lifestyle to meet the needs of the breed they intend to acquire.  By doing so, it is the hopes that the humans will ensure that both human and canine inherent needs are met and avoid any potential unwanted behaviour by the canine.  

Why is Pre-Screening Consultation important?

Having a Pre-Screening Consultation is very beneficial as a preventative measure to the potential hardships of canine ownership.  It can evaluate your lifestyle and match it to the breed tendencies minimizing any significant changes needed for either human or canine.  This service can also provide options of breeds while educating the owner of the needs of each canine breed so that the humans can adapt as much to the canine and/or be aware of the training needs of the canine to achieve the needs or desires of the human.   For puppies, this can even be done to assist in selecting a specific puppy that best suits your family.  There are several tests that can be done that help identify the tendencies and personality traits of a puppy at the time of selection.  Good breeders do this already but it is not a requirement.  These puppy assessments cannot be completely relied upon since the puppy`s personality will develop as it matures and will be guided on the way it is handled or guided.  This assessment is more to identify if there are any significant negative and uncharacteristic traits that are apparent at puppyhood.

What is the difference of traits/tendencies and behaviour?

Behaviours are the actions of the dog at the present time.  This can be positive or negative and will become habit forming over time.  The negative behaviors should be corrected (through various means) as soon as possible and the positive ones should be immediately rewarded.  Through repetition and consistency these behaviours become a part of the personality of the canine.  Training a canine to exhibit certain behaviour can be very easy as long as it does not conflict with the trait/tendencies of the breed.

Traits/tendencies are the behaviours of the dog that are inherently passed from one generation to another.  Every breed has specific traits or tendencies that have been breed into them through the development of the breed.  Unwanted traits/tendencies are very hard to train away from but it may and in the right conditions can be possible.  

Why is it important to learn about the provider of a puppy/canine?

It only takes 15 generations for behaviours to be imbedded into the breed traits or tendencies of that specific line.  This is why it is so important to research purebred breeders before committing to getting a puppy from one.  Respectful purebred breeders are obligated to maintain (through breeding) the recognized traits of that breed and to register each canine through its organization.  This provides a lineage to follow and to track any changes.  Respectful and responsible breeders that identify undesired traits/tendencies in a canine line will ensure that that line does not continue (usually through spayed/neutering requirements of the puppies and ceasing the breeding actions of the adult canines in that line.

Why is it important to know the breeds of a canine?

It is important to know the breed mixture of a specific canine to be able to identify the behaviours exhibited as actual behaviours or traits/tendencies.  This helps better understand the canine and its specific needs as well as to establish the training needed to stop any unwanted behaviours that are being exhibited.

What is an “unwanted beviour”? How is this corrected?

It is any action of the canine that causes a disruption of any kind (directly or indirectly) in the relationship with its human pack or other animals within the pack.  Canines that exhibit unwanted behaviours are not bad canines or purposefully doing so out of spite.  It is usually due to the needs of the canine not being met and through frustration, pent up energy, etc. that these behaviours are exhibited.  Sometimes it can be due to medical, dental, environmental or situational conditions that are prompting these actions.  The unwanted behaviours must be examined using a holistic approach where all details are looked at and considered.  Where it is medical or dental issues, the unwanted behaviour may be quickly remedied by getting the appropriate treatment.  In all other cases, the lifestyle of the pack as a whole must be examined and an effective behavioural reconditioning training plan to be implemented.

Is Behavioural Reconditioning or Obedience Training only for the canine?

In extreme cases the initial stages, yes.  Most of the time this is not the case.  As mentioned above, the unwanted behaviours are usually the result of the needs of the canine not being met.  The owner/handler must learn what is needed by him or herself by the canine and the canine needs to learn what is needed by its human counterpart.  By going through the training together, it will assist in repairing the bond that both desire.  This training plan is specific for the needs of the situation and for promotion of the best relationship between the human and the cainine.  This training plan may or may not involve Obedience Training.

Is it possible to get Obedience Training without the need for a Behavioural Assassment?

Yes it is but it is recommended that this occur as part of your pro-active approach before any behaviour issues arise.  Once there is even one behavioural issue is evident it is recommended that a Behavioural Analysis/Assessment occur because it is never just one thing that is happening that is the root cause of the issue.  Only a Behavioural Analysis with a holistic approach identifies the underlying issues and develops an effective plan for a wholesome and long-lasting resolution.

Is it realistic to expect a quick-fix to Behavioural Issues?

Realistically, no.  Training of the human as well as training of the canine takes time.  Certain bahaviours  and even habits may need to be untaught and new and healthy ones need to be established.  This takes time, care and patience.  QuickiFixes or singular approaches may fix the immediate situation but if the root cause are not identified and corrected then reoccurrences will occur or potentially more serious unwanted behaviours emerge and will be further entrenched into the habits of the canine.

Why do dogs experience separation anxiety?

Puppies newly separated from their litter when going to a new home experience this until the transition of them becoming part of the new pack is complete.  This however produces their need to be close to you and many dogs experience varying degrees of separation anxiety when separated from their human.   This can be treated and through conditioning the symptoms can be minimized for most dogs.  However, as canines are pack animals, please make plans for your pets when you are absent from them for long stretches or repeatedly significant periods.  

Why is it NOT SAFE to approaching unfamiliar dogs?

It cannot be said enough. No matter if you are a dog lover or not, you should never ever ever pet a dog you are not familiar with. You should always consult the handler. 

If it is a pet, then you may get their approval.  Even with the approval, care must be taken as some dogs have a defensive bite habit. Let the dog sniff you first, do not pet on top of its head until it is comfortable with you.  Dogs that have been abused are very defensive around their head areas and this defensiveness can have little warning.

If the dog is wearing a vest or a harness, it is your responsibility to look for any visible indication that it is a WORKING or SERVICE DOG.  If so, respect the job and DO NOT interact at all with the dog…this includes looking, staring, talking to, whistling, or any other action that can attract the attention of the dog from its job.  In BC, as well as other provinces, there are significant fines for interfering with the work of a Service Dog.  Even minor purposeful distractions from others can cause issues (sometime very serious medical issues) to occur or set back the progress of the handler.

What constitutes Distracting Service Dogs? What are the risks of doing so?s defensiveness can have very little warning.

It is so important to stay completely disengaged from Service Dogs while they are working. Looking at (especially staring), petting, talking to or any other noises or action that can distract a Service Dog from their PRIMARY TASK of helping it’s handler can cause serious problems. Recent articles have been published whereby each Service Dog was distracted and the result was serious medical complications because of the dog missing the cues it was trained to be a Service Dog for.  Other issues, like PTSD, distracting the dog or approaching and questioning  the handler (as general public) can result in significant set-backs in their progress.  Service Dogs for PTSD and other disabilities are the only means that the person is able to leave their homes and try to progress towards re-integrating back into society.   In BC it is now a $3k fine in disturbing the work of a Service Dog, in other provinces the fines can be much higher.

I understand, as being a dog lover myself, that others are tempted to interact with all dogs.  This must be avoided with Service Dogs.  You have no idea the negative impact you may have. 

What is the difference between pets, Companion Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Working Dogs and Service Dogs?

First and foremost, Service Dogs are the only ones that are protected under Human Rights to accompany its human handler everywhere public have access to.  Service Dogs have specific and specialized training that allows it to purposefully assist its individual handler in very specific ways that allows that handler to return to as normal of a life as possible.

Some Working Dogs carry the protection of constable status due to the specific job it does (ie. Police Dogs).  Working Dogs are dogs that are trained for a specific function that assists the human into better doing its task whereby the human is not best suited to do so on its own. Examples of this (but not limited to) is Search and Rescue/Recovery, Security, Police, Explosive or Narcotic Search Dogs, Hunting Dogs, Herding Dogs, etc.

Therapy Dogs provide a service to a group of people and have specific training that allows it to be handled by strangers and due to the common locations of hospitals and elderly homes having various ambient noises, they are desensitized to not react to those various inputs.  Their role is to provide comfort and improve the quality of life of various humans in a certain location.  It is due to this fact of the dog providing service to more than one specific person that negates the ability for Therapy Dogs to be protected under Human Rights.  

Service Dogs can provide the service of a Therapy Dog but a Therapy Dog cannot provide the service of a Service Dog without specific training and certification…and by doing so changes from a Therapy Dog to a Service Dog.

Emotional Support Dogs/Animals are a recent term that has migrated to Canada from the United States.  They are dogs or other animals that through the assessment of a Doctor that the dog or animal provides emotional support to the person.  There does not need to be any specific training and there is no established testing or certification process of the animal for this to be achieved, their only needs to be a Doctor’s note as proof of the need for the animal.  This note does not provide the necessary justification for protection under Human Rights but many policies allow for the same allowances.  In Canada the transport industry (Airlines and other such means of travel) group Emotional Support Animals together with Service Dogs as a means of maximizing their tolerances with animals to accommodate the customer’s needs but this also provides the misunderstanding that they are the same.  They are not and need to be kept separately to better provide understanding and support to the customer.

Companion Dogs and Pet Dogs are the same.  Companion Dogs is a recent emergence of a new term of pet dogs.  All dogs need to be well behaved through various Obedience Training sessions and have different levels of obedience as desired by the the owner, handler and the job it does.  Companion or Pet Dogs play a vital role in the lives of the humans(s) to the point that humans may become dependent on the dog’s proximity but they have no specific training to assist in certain tasks that are wanted or needed by the human.  It is possible through some organizations to have a pet trained to become a Therapy or a Service Dogs. 

Why should you not look at Service Dogs?

Looking (eye contact and staring) at our K9 friends is a sign of aggression to them. Just by doing so is a distraction to them and thereby taking them away from the task at hand – helping their handler. In some provinces distracting the Service Dog can carry a hefty fine but more importantly…to some handlers it could be a life threatening event.

If you want to sneak a look, use your peripheral vision.