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Mai et al. 2020.pdf (670.15 kB)

Raising an Assistance Dog Puppy—Stakeholder Perspectives on What Helps and What Hinders

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posted on 2021-03-02, 22:33 authored by Jimmy MaiJimmy Mai, Tiffani HowellTiffani Howell, Pree Benton, Pauleen BennettPauleen Bennett
© 2020 by the authors. Assistance dog puppies live with their raisers for up to 16 months before entering advanced training and, hopefully, becoming qualified to help people with a disability. Almost half of the puppies fail to meet the behavioural standards required for assistance dogs, and some puppy raisers produce more behaviourally favourable puppies than others. It is unclear what factors influence puppy-raising practice quality. To understand this, we interviewed 17 participants, including experienced puppy raisers (n = 8), provider organisation staff (n = 4), and those who have served both as puppy raisers and staff (n = 5). Results of a thematic analysis suggest three groups of influencing factors, namely intrapersonal factors, social support, and puppy characteristics. Intrapersonal factors such as expectations, competency, perseverance and passion were reported to influence puppy raisers’ experiences, puppy-raising quality, and continuity of service. Contextual factors such as availability of social support (informational and emotional supports) and less-demanding puppies both led to positive puppy-raising experiences, while the former also contributed to puppy raisers’ perceptions of competency. Future research should quantitatively examine the interrelationships of these factors concerning puppies’ behavioural development. Meanwhile, organisations could consider these factors when developing their recruitment and puppy-raiser support programs.


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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)



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