Service is in their Blood
Bred to Serve
PPH dogs are special from the start. Our PPH Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and retriever mixes are specifically bred to become champion service dogs. It works like breeding a race horse. Winning race horses have parents who are winning race horses. The same goes for service dogs.
Once an expectant mother dog is within the last week of pregnancy, the PPH team of staff, vets, and Warrior Canine Training Therapy participants begin the whelping vigil. This means a pregnant dog never gives birth to her precious cargo alone. We do this to make sure all the puppies have the greatest chance to survive. Just like when a human baby is born, it’s important to have capable medical help to make sure all the pups and mother are healthy.
Besides, nothing brings more joy to a challenged warrior than helping to make sure that pups are safely born.
It’s a glorious day when another litter of healthy PPH puppies enters the world!
Successful service dogs come from a lineage of successful service dogs. They have certain characteristics, like gentleness and intelligence. They have the ability to resist innate dog urges like sniffing. They can adapt to the many places and many faces that a mobility impaired warrior goes in society. This all adds up to some complexity, so all decisions for breeding the high quality PPH dogs are made by Bergin University experts.
Service Dogs in Training
Training a service dog begins at about three weeks of age with Warriors, staff, and volunteers dedicated to socializing and preparing these young pups to become loving and loyal service companions.
Some of these young service dogs in training are selected to participate in the PPH program where their temperament and physical characteristics make them ideal service dog candidates for warriors. It costs PPH $25,000 to fully train a service dog that will be placed with a wounded warrior.
Using dogs that are selected, bred and fostered to be socially responsive and engaging is key to the success of the program. As service members affected by PTSD often isolate and resist interaction with others, the purpose-bred traits of these dogs make it very difficult for our patients to isolate or resist the safe relationships offered by loving and non-judgmental companions. As the dogs mature and acquire service dog skills, they return to Bergin University of Canine Studies for final training and evaluation. Some will be placed at no cost with a Warrior with combat-related disabilities while others will be identified for “career changes” that go on to graduate as social/therapy dogs, facility dogs.
At 4 weeks, puppies are:
- Introduced to training methods verbal with lure, target, pro-offer, just verbal
- Exposed to distractions
- Accompanying warriors and staff on field trips carried in special puppy slings
At 12 weeks, pups start to train for:
- Scent detection
- Rally obedience
- Pups know approximately X Commands
At 6 months, pup training continues for the most gentle dogs.
- Continues with training methods: verbal with lure, target, pro-offer, just verbal
- Pups now walk during field trips
- They know approximately X commands
At 12 months, pups are now adolescents and training continues
- Continues with training methods
- Wheelchair training is added
- Pups know approximately X Commands
At around 24 months, pups are now service dogs!
- Finalize training to learn advanced commands
- Pups accompany Warriors throughout day and night
- Service dogs now know more than 120 commands
We place service dogs with service members and veterans facing challenges such as:
– Mobility issues. Our dogs can help with tasks such as: retrieving items, pushing buttons for elevators and doors, turning lights on/off, bracing to help move from/to wheel-chairs or to navigate stairs, plus many more.
– Diagnosed trauma-related conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Our dogs help by performing a variety of tasks specifically designed to reduce symptom severity.
Through our thorough application process, our qualified staff determines if a PPH service dog will be a fit for your specific needs.
Paws for Purple Hearts is the first program of its kind to offer therapeutic intervention for Veterans and active-duty military.
Under the guidance of PPH instructors, service members engage with specially-bred Golden Retriever and Labrador puppies.
PTSD patient-trainers must overcome their emotional and affective numbness in order to heighten their tone of voice, bodily movements.