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Deer Creek's Gifted Therapy and Service Program

Course Description:

At Deer Creek we recognize that our dogs have the capability of changing the lives of people on a therapeutic and functional level. Our program has been designed to select puppies that have the appropriate temperament needed to become exceptional therapy, service and/or emotional support dogs and guiding them in the right direction to reach their full potential. Many of our Doodles have become therapy dogs at funeral homes, children's advocacy centers and nursing homes, and others have found homes as PTSD, autism and mobility Service Dogs as well as emotional support dogs. Each puppy has his or her own unique personality and natural abilities making them excel  in either a group therapy situation or for focusing on the emotional/physical needs of an individual.

At completion, our therapy, service and emotional support dogs are already accustomed to participating in our insured Therapy dog team visits to nursing homes and hospitals and our service dogs have completed Public Access training and individualized task training.  Puppies completing our gifted program start at $10,000 + depending on training level and title and are specially selected for the particular home that will compliment their unique abilities. We can also tailor the program to add a certain task or command that may be needed for the puppy to  better do his/her job. It is very important to note that while the puppy is trusting and bonded to several of our trainers and works regularly  and is happy to do so, the puppy will have to take some time to develop that trust with their new owner. Immediately going to work in a stressful situation with a brand new person only having known them a day or two can be detrimental to their trust building in their new home. The puppy has to know their handler has their best interest in mind and will take care of them in any situation.  


  • A star pupil temperament tested and chosen by Deer Creek during the Puppy Preschool phase of training 

  • Living in the home of at least two of our trainers and reliably demonstrating the intelligence and behavior needed for working in both environments. 

  • Kindergarten Puppy Class completion

  • Excellent behavior observed in public and in vehicles

  • Puppy Canine Good Citizen Graduate Title completion

Course Objectives: At the completion of this class, puppies will be able to:

  • Be reliably house trained and crate trained in our home

  • Be further socialized in public with a variety of people and other dogs (Petsmart, dog parks, Lowe's, etc.) and will be expected to maintain appropriate behavior during our outings

  • Exhibit appropriate car riding etiquette (If big enough will enter and exit car on command)

  • Follow the verbal commands "sit, lay down, stay (20 feet), heel, in your bed, no, come, get in (car), Okay!, " Leave it", and go potty" (some commands have associated hand signals as well)

  • Know role specific commands such as "Visit" or "Say hi!" for therapy work or "kiss/hug/cuddle/love me" for emotional support type work.

  • Present their learned commands with light distractions such as other dogs, people, and background noise

  • Present appropriate reactions to wheelchairs, walkers, and other hospital equipment as well as normal facility noises and smells.  

  • Exhibit appropriate behavior to their trainers and strangers including not jumping up or play biting

  • Stand for grooming and be comfortable with all methods of handling and care

  • Use stairs and enter doors appropriately

  • Go to nursing homes, hospitals, and even approving restaurants and be knowledgeable of proper behavior


Final Exam:  

Once a puppy exhibits reliable knowledge and appropriate behavior (around 8+ months old) on multiple trips to various locations consistently with their primary trainer, we will then test the puppy on a nursing home trip with a second trainer unknown to the dog to ensure their reliability regardless of handler. The puppy will then stay with the second trainer for one week of assessment to confirm their behavior and skill set for multiple homes. 

Graduation Package - Puppy will receive the following package for going home with their

new family:

  • A valuable 1 hour training session with one of our trainers 

  • A full set of shots and rabies completed for the year

  • Spayed/ Neutered at the appropriate age

  • Leash, collar, ball, bully stick and food sample

  • Doggy door bells

  • Canine Good Citizen Certificate and ribbon

  • Vest with associated patches for therapy, service, or emotional support

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