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PPH Dogs Remain Cool, Calm and Collected Around Cats

 In Facility Dogs, PPH Blog, Service Dog Training, Service Dogs, Training

Puppies aren’t the only small four-legged friends we have at PPH. Did you know that several of our training centers actually have cats (and in some cases, guinea pigs)? Can you guess why?

It’s all part of the training process for our pups! We need to socialize our dogs to as many sights, smells, and sounds as possible to make sure they will be successful as assistance dogs. When it comes to small animals, our dogs need to remain focused on their Warrior, rather than these furry distractions!

So what does it mean to “socialize” our dogs? And where do the cats come into play?

Walter and PPH Riley
Walter and PPH Riley

Socialization Starts Early

Socialization is the process of slowly introducing our future service dogs to new things– people, places, smells, movements, cats, you name it! It is one of the most important parts of the training process and begins the day a puppy is born.

A service dog must be confident in new places and around new people. They must stay calm when seeing something new or exciting.

Pepper and PPH Scotty
Scotty sharing with Pepper

That’s because the number one job of a service dog is to remain attentive and focused on its battle buddy despite the many distractions life has to offer. If a dog becomes distracted, it might miss a telltale sign of anxiety and fail to intervene or provide support.

By introducing our dogs to new things at a young age, they gain the confidence they need to venture into the real world with their Warrior.

So, why is it so important that our dogs are not only comfortable with but calm around small animals?

Cool, Calm and Collected

Can you imagine how being distracted by a small animal might affect the working relationship between a dog and a Warrior? What if the Veteran has a small pet at home? What happens if the pair go out for a walk and see a squirrel or rabbit?

We try our best to anticipate these situations and practice navigating these scenarios first in a controlled environment– at our training centers. By socializing our young dogs-in-training to cats, we take away the novelty and interest in such creatures making it easier for the pup to focus on their Warrior or the task at hand.

PPH Ruther Glen pups nap with Pepper the cat
PPH Ruther Glen pups nap with Pepper the cat

In Ruther Glen, PPH puppies get to see two cats, Broccoli and Pepper, roaming around the training center every day. The same goes for our San Antonio pups who are accompanied by two cats, Gus Gus and Walter! And in San Diego, our dogs get comfortable with Chuck and Wubba the guinea pigs!

We never know what other pets our Warriors may have, so we try our best to get our dogs comfortable with all kinds of animals.

The Cats Have an Impact

The focus a service dog has on its Veteran is imperative and does not happen by chance. It takes years to socialize our dogs to the many distractions they might encounter in life, including that of our small animal friends.

Broccoli the PPH cat
Broccoli the PPH cat

From the constant exposure to our facility cats to practicing relaxed “down, stays” with guinea pigs, our dogs learn to control their prey drive instincts and remain calm when meeting new animals. Who knew cats could play such an important role in preparing our dogs for a life of service with their deserving battle buddies!

At PPH, we make sure all of our four-legged friends (dogs, cats, and guinea pigs) live a happy and healthy life. You can help support all of our animals by providing toys and treats from our Amazon Wish Lists or making a donation online!

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