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the facility dog

Thrive Family Dental is proud to announce MEADOW, the newest addition to our dental family. MEADOW has received her Rehabilitative Facility Dog Training Certification through paws4people®, and we’re excited to finally have her aboard. 

Did you know that there’s a life-long training process that paws4people® uses to train their Assistance and Facility Dogs?

meadow and dr. friberg in office

Starting From Birth

Because of their internal breeding program, paws4people® is able to start working with puppies almost immediately. From birth through the first 3 weeks of life, they’re exposed to a variety of neurological stimulation and sensory experiences to foster an ambulatory and exploratory nature. By week 3, the puppies are taught by food motivation, and it’s not uncommon for them to play independently without much supervision or destruction. They are then weaned off their mother 100% naturally, which shows a reduction in inter-litter dominance.

Creating Positive Experiences

The first 16 weeks of life can have a permanent impact on a dog’s temperament, psyche and trainability. So from weeks 3 to 20, the puppies are exposed to as many positive experiences as possible. A team of volunteers at paws4people take them on outings to expose them to different sights, sounds and textures to help equip them for their specialized training.

Obedience & Skills Training

From 5 to 15 months, the puppies enter the paws4prisons® training program where each puppy is assigned an Inmate Trainer or Inmate Trainer Team. The inmates are responsible for the care and training of each puppy as well as basic and advanced obedience skills.

Choosing A Partner

At 12 months, the puppies choose their partners. The dogs are introduced to several potential clients while staff watch for bonding and matching behaviors. This process is known as a Bump, and we’re so excited that MEADOW chose us.

meadow sitting on patients lap

Facility-Based Training

From 16 to 24 months, the dogs enter specialized training required to work in facilities. Graduation from this phase completely depends on the maturation rate of the dog. They graduate when they’re ready!

Handler Training

This was the stage where we got to work with MEADOW directly and integrate her into our practice. We were trained on MEADOW’s commands and how to best care for her. And we were able to train her on how to work with patients.

Test Time!

Paws4people® requires 2 tests before Facility Dogs and their handlers are fully certified. MEADOW passed a full Facility Observation Test to receive her black vest and we received custody of her. A few months later, she passed the same test to show that we’ve maintained the standards of our training. That’s when she got her green vest and we became an official certified working team! Facility Observation Tests, temperament evaluations, and health inspections will be done annually throughout her career.

Welcome Home MEADOW

Although MEADOW will be owned by the paws4people® organization for the duration of her career, we have taken custody of her and have welcomed her as part of the family. Come meet MEADOW at your next appointment!