Do I Qualify for an APAW Service Dog?
We currently provide Mobility Service Dogs to help people with weakness or impairment affecting their limbs; Psychiatric Service Dogs to help people with PTSD, anxieties, depression, and related conditions; and Autism Service Dogs for children on the spectrum. We do not have a strict age requirement, though generally any dog working with a child under age 13 will be placed as a three-way partnership with a parent. APAW serves a limited geographic area at this time. Currently nearly every dog we place must be local to New England or New York.The main exception to this rule is placing a young dog with an experienced owner or trainer who will provide the training that they need their dog to have.
Do I qualify for an APAW Social or Therapy Dog?
Anyone living in New England or New York, with a strong interest in volunteering their time at an educational, social or therapeutic establishment may qualify. We also place dogs in facilities (full-time), or with human therapists as an aid during their sessions.
How much does an assistance dog cost?
estimates that if all of the costs, including time spent training and socializing for each dog were tabulated without any donations having been made, approximately $25,000 – $50,000+ is spent raising every dog. By comparison, the amount that most programs request is not unreasonable.
For our Social/Therapy Dogs and other roles the amount typically ranges from $5,000 – $7,500 based on the level of training they have received and for what reason they are not being placed as a Service Dog, our primary objective.
The cost of a pet or released dog ranges from $500-2,500 based on their source, level of training, age, and reason they are being released.
How long is the waiting list?
Once a client completes the 4th stage of our application process (see tabs for Application/Acceptance on our ‘Get A Poodle’ page), they will be placed on our waiting list. Typically the wait for a Mobility Service Dog is 1-3 years, and for a Psychiatric/Autism Service Dog is 6-18 months.
It is a different application process for a Working Candidate/Pup/Pet, and the wait is about 6-12 months.
When possible, we recommend applicants volunteer for APAW as they are able (especially directly with the dogs), as this provides more insight for us in selecting the most appropriate canine partner.
How long does each dog take to train?
Our dogs learn most of their commands by around 9 months of age, but still need many months of practice, refinement, and real-world application. Our Poodles tend to mature mentally between 18-24 months of age, at which time they are paired with their new partner. Learning occurs with every experience our dogs encounter, so they have accumulated thousands of hours of training and socializing before they graduate.
What commands or tasks are they taught and how?
Our Service Dogs learn approximately 90 commands to increase their partner’s independence. We use positive methods, initially rewarding with food and weaning to verbal praise and petting. More information is available on our Training Philosophy page.
If I receive a dog from APAW and later need some follow up training will you be available to us?
We always are available to answer questions, give advice, and help problem-solve for as long as you have your dog. This is a large part of why we have a limited geographic placement area.
Do you train dogs so that they may live in any situation like apartments or condos?
Yes. We will place our dogs in any size home if it is the right match. Regardless of home size, our dogs need to work regularly in public for the physical and mental stimulation that they have been raised for.
Why do you breed your own dogs? Why not rescue shelter dogs?
We now carefully select and health-test our dogs, and choose to breed as our program is ready for another round of pups to raise (currently we breed 1-2 litters per year) We are able to select the best Service candidates at a young age, and find the right pet or working homes for any other pups in the litter. We now have a higher success rate, and our dogs are excellent representatives of the Poodle breed mind, body, and health.
Do you ever use doodles?
Mixes of the Poodle have recently become a craze, aiming to combine the Poodles’ non-shedding coat with the other breeds’ temperament etc. But that is not realistic. Genetics are paired in a random fashion, with dominants and recessives shifting unevenly. The result is any of millions of possible combinations. In many cases these mixes still shed and have a dog-odor (making them unsuitable for people with allergies), and often require more grooming maintenance than a purebred Poodle.
Another factor is health – every breed has their share of genetic diseases, and combining separate breeds allows many unnoticed recessives to pass on (up to the sum of diseases for every breed within a body). These recessives can pop up in the future causing many issues that could have been avoided.
The dogs that are being used as breeding stock for these ‘designer dogs’ tend to be poorly bred themselves, as most responsible breeders protect their lines carefully. This means that the dogs available to people producing mixes tend to have weaker genetic quality, resulting in a higher likelihood of health and temperament problems.