All of our dogs stay with us until they are fully trained and at least 18 months old if started as a puppy. All of our dogs are rescued in some fashion. Some come from litters we adopted at 7 to 10 weeks, some were strays, some were returns from other clients due to life changes. Each dog, when ready to start working, has a grounding in scent, can pass the Public Access Test, and has shown it loves to work. They are all trained to detect cancer as their basic scent work and have at least an 85% success rate. Other tasks that are taught are support during a crisis, crowd blocking, comfort behaviors, retrieving items, opening and closing doors, finding help, and alerting to sounds.
Intelligent disobdience is encouraged after the tasks we want are taught. For alerting tasks, the dog must use environmental cues like sound, sight, scent. These cues must be trained to have enough intensity and motivational value to interrupt whatever behavior the dog is doing in daily life. For instance, a Diabetic Alert Dog learns to wake itself up to a scent. Not easy!!!!