When Puppy Training and Real Estate Law Intersect

Filed under: Real Estate Law

Those of us in the real estate world understand that our business doesn’t follow the traditional 9-5 Monday through Friday schedule.

That’s why I’ve been able to volunteer as a puppy raiser with Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) for almost 20 years. I’m currently training my 17th CCI pup. Not only do I think it’s important to give back to the community, but I’ve also found training these young, eager dogs to be relaxing and rejuvenating.

CCI is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Through the support of volunteer puppy trainers, CCI is continually preparing hundreds of potential service dogs for future field service.

My journey starts with an eight-week old puppy that lives with me for approximately 18-22 months. I socialize the puppy to various environments and teach it approximately 30 commands. Working full time, my young dog goes almost everywhere with me. At local meetings, if I show up without the dog, people notice. If the dog is with me, the “meet and greet” after the meeting can take more time than the actual meeting. During mediation, hostilities are often diffused just by the dog’s appearance.

After my time with the puppy is over, it is returned to CCI for six-nine months of professional training and ultimately, graduation. Upon successful graduation, the puppy will be provided free of charge to a person with a disability individual. Only a small percentage of these dogs make the cut to work as a service dog. There is a fine line between motivation and excitability in canine behavior, and CCI dogs must be almost behaviorally “perfect,” among other qualities. No chasing after squirrels or panicking in elevators, for example. But even if the dog doesn’t become a service dog, he or she may be well suited for work in law enforcement, such as working as a drug detection dog. Others become therapy dogs, visiting hospitals or reading with children at the library. And some are simply ideal pets for a lucky family.

Think you might want to become a CCI puppy raiser? I will share these tips. The first CCI dog you get is always the best one; you don’t have any idea what you are doing and your aspirations for the dog are high. Each dog after that challenges you in different ways. And trust me, when it is their time to return for professional training, they take a little piece of you with them. The true challenge once you start raising these dogs is to stop doing it. I’m on #17 and I no longer tell people this is my last dog I’m going to raise.

Victoria Boynton is a seasoned real estate attorney with expertise in residential and commercial real estate, transactional and litigation matters. Prior to joining Larson & Solecki, she served as corporate counsel for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. In that capacity she represented the company and its affiliates, including escrow, title, lending and insurance, plus its more than 3,000 real estate agents.

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