Service Dog Information
Here you will find in further detail what our mission and goals are at Lazy D Ranch for our diverse line of service dogs.
What is our mission....
When we were approached in the Spring of 2012 by the first individual looking for a puppy that could potentially be a service dog, we had an instant connection. We knew exactly what this individual was looking for and would need in life. Without hesitation we agreed to help and were confident in the fact we had a puppy that would fulfil all of his needs. We believe the Lord was simply introducing us to the door he was about to open in our lives and breeding program. However our vision for our program could have never been taken to the heights we ourselves would have imagined without the help of our Heavenly Father.
We have always prided ourselves on the quality of our sires and dams temperament and dispositions and hence the puppies they produce. But never were we more confident than in that moment we first spoke with the individual desperately searching for a miracle. In short, today not only did this Lazy D Ranch puppy gain full service dog status and become a spokesmodel for service dogs everywhere, he gave his owner his life and freedom back. That to us is invaluable.

What is our mission? Unfortunately we do not have the time or man power to operate a breeding AND training facility. We do not offer fully trained service dogs for specific tasks. However we are confident we have a very special line of service dog stock capable of producing sound (mentally and physically), balanced, highly trainable, versatile puppies.
Pictured is Mark Jones coming out of surgery, greeted FIRST by his Lazy D Ranch service dog, Runako. Cassi/Tank litter March 2012.
Our goals....
We at Lazy D Ranch will continue to put forth our upmost effort to bring only the finest australian shepherds into our program to strengthen our service dog stock capablities. Not every dog is suited for the same jobs but we are confident that we have puppies capable of ANY line of service, companion, or threapy work. We must use our intuition and PRAYER to help serve our fellow man in this way. We believe that by taking the Lord's lead in this aspect, we will be lead to many, many people who are in need of what we have to offer. We are still in the first stages of growth with this adventure and as we grow we hope to be able to elaborate on our life changing sucess. We hope you will join us.
We hope you will join us on our journey...
Stay tuned.
Your role....
Teaming up with a purebred, intelligent, people-loving Aussie, bred and raised by Lazy D Ranch will bring you support and with it, renewed self-esteem and personal independence. You will not only feel good, you will feel in control of your life again. Our initial consultations with you will give us the opportunity to get acquainted: we learn about your frustrations and hopes, about your special abilities, physical rhythm and energy level, and about your primary support person. We may hear stories about your previous dogs, and we will discuss all aspects of life with a canine partner. If we feel that a Lazy D Ranch aussie can provide you with the assistance you need, we will select the most promising trainee for you and will begin to prepare him or her for a life of assitance and healing.

Australian shepherds are a breed who's bond between them and their masters is vital to their happiness and balanced living. Learning to work as a team is a process of living and growing together. Your partner will be an active participant in all aspects of your life. He or she will be present to help and support you, and to love and protect you. Your dog will act in response to your verbal requests as well as non verbal- shifting moods, energy and mental stability. Your partner will not simply follow your directions but will do what you need.

Keep in mind that you will be a team member. You will be the navigator – deciding when and where to go. Your canine partner will be the engineer who makes your progress and movement smooth and steady. The special bond you have with your partner will act as the transmission fluid that helps the partnership shift gear – to become more confident, efficient, and secure.

Building a successful partnership is an extended education process for both human and canine partners. Through exploration and with experience, you will discover what works for you. You will learn to read the subtle signals of body language. Your sharpened perception and skill in “reading” your dog will help you understand what motivates your dog. Whenever you elicit a desired response, you will feel your strength as a team. Communicate with your partner as to an equal, with respect and appreciation of every effort, and gradually you’ll find your personal comfort level.
Your dogs role....
Lazy D Ranch service dog candidates are selected soley from our breeding program which, for the last decade, has consistently selected for pronounced working ability and physical and emotional stamina. Puppies and adolescents are exposed to herding, agility, conformation events and temperament tests and, along with the adults, participate in family and farm activities. Aussies are endowed with an intrinsic richness of loyal character and a highly developed sense of appropriateness. Our evaluation process builds on these inherent qualities which aussies unfailingly bring to their work as service dogs. Throughout their early days, they are rewarded with praise, touch, or treats for every affectionate gesture towards people. As they mature, we use every opportunity to reward initiative and good judgment.

As evaluations progress, we begin to see who possess the highest level of potential and the dogs’ repertoire of skills broadens. Our top candidates almost imperceptibly assume a new, ‘professional’ demeanor. They are now in full swing of integrating any newly honed skills with a growing awareness of human diversity and needs. They are ready and eager to bond with their new partners.

The changes that take place when our aussies become working service dogs reflect a maturing process – the transition from learning skills to a lifestyle which integrates their education into daily life. They have learned to use their skills in different contexts, and they are motivated by the love and respect for their new partners; to apply their knowledge, experience, and intuitive wisdom. Repeatedly, we see our aussies undergo a graceful transformation from puppies and simply service dog candidates to working Service Dogs.

Puppy Development

In order to formulate any kind of meaningful and broadly applicable standard of selection, we’ve reviewed our observations of puppy growth and development, trying to sort the many variables that have surfaced in the course of raising over 50 litters. We have tried to pinpoint the common denominators of quality and were helped considerably in this effort by our vivid and ever-present memory of the great, compelling individual Collies who have enriched our lives over the past two decades.

Each of these dogs has contributed to our understanding of aussie. Each has left a mark on our yardstick of criteria for quality and each has influenced our guidelines for puppy development and selection. What they all had in common are two great virtures: charisma and harmony.

Charisma epitomizes the strongly focused personality: alert, responsive, resourceful, capable of long-sustained interest. Harmony reflects the balance of outer and inner beauty: a dog with style, and with an unencumbered personality that feels free to make appropriate choices. Such individuals sense very early that they are special and important, and every positive experience reinforces their strong sense of self. They share an abundance of vitality, curiosity, innate intelligence, and a talent to elicit whatever they may need to secure their status. They convey to us beyond doubt, through persistent eye contact and eloquent body language, that they “belong” and are here to stay.

These future “greats” present themselves with style and panache, always standing squarely, their docked tails (carried at the proper height) wagging with delight. Little as they may be, they don’t paddle, pound, crab, or double track; with elbows tight and back steady, they float past us with effortless grace and return gleefully bearing well worn gifts. Whatever the situation or context may be, they prefer interaction to passivity and since every appropriate behavior is promptly rewarded with lavish praise, they are convinced that they have everything to gain – and nothing to lose – from their association with people. For most people, this conviction grows with experience, but the special puppies seem to accept it on faith. With beguiling personal magnetism, these puppies draw attention to their virtues while downplaying their faults.

Physical traits are often easier to chart than personality development, particularly for a breed as rich and diverse in character and ability as the aussie. The breed specific traits can be seen as a base line for selection: the longer the base line, the broader the repertoire of a dog’s behaviors. A short base line (i.e. ranging from ‘slow’ to ‘hyper’ or ‘dumb’ to ‘bright’) leaves no room for differentiation or gradations between extremes and would limit our choices to the point of boredom.

We appreciate and yes, prefer the more complex, differentiated personalities; dogs with the capacity to process lots of information and transform it into appropriate, specific, skilled, effective action. These are the dogs we most enjoy, be it at conformation shows, herding trials, show or agility events, therapy visits, or farm chores. We could sum it up as desire to learn coupled with the physical endowment to perform and the emotional expansiveness to initiate, bond, and follow through.

Incredibly, the signposts are all in place at a very, very early age. We see this attitude expressed in many, often subtle ways but at all times and in all situations, the dog’s charisma is palpably evident: the eloquent inner light is ever present.

The complexity of any breeder’s selection process increases with the number of variables being considered. Even with a clear mental image of the “ideal” aussie, any given breeding presents specific priorities which will influence the selection process for that particular litter. Needless to say, we will look for the puppy or puppies that most strongly display the specific trait(s) we sought to improve with that breeding. And so, the lofty goal of producing and selecting the individual that most nearly meets our image of perfection may become compromised in the process of juggling the nitty gritties.

Priorities change as a breeding program evolves. If we were looking for a top male or a great bitch, we would certainly consider the family background. Since assertiveness and libido in stud dogs and fertility and nurturing ability in brood bitches are strongly inherited traits, we would keep a boy dog from a prepotent male line and a bitch pup from a long line of outstanding dams – from individuals that can be counted on to produce their virtues, but not their faults.

Our criteria for judging quality change as we grow, as our eye becomes trained. As our capacity to see detail improves, our sensibilities become fine-tuned. 60-some litters ago, we hardly noticed big feet; 50-some litters ago, imperfect tails were no big deal; 40-some litters ago, ears were something to “work with,” not breed for. Now we look quite early for the puppies that display the most of all possible bests the elements of harmony.

A future “great” catches your eye at birth and probably always will hold your attention. It is the pup that, at ten days, is the first to notice the papered toilet corner of the whelping box; the one who, a few days later, is the quickest to react to the presence of people – the one who waddles determinedly to the edge of the box, strains to reach up and promptly relaxes when held against a warm face. It is usually the strongest pup with the best body tone and the nicest proportions.

Sometimes, of course, the cookie doesn’t crumble according to expectations, as when the best-headed pup lacks the all-important proud carriage or conversely, when the most animated, smoothly moving pup develops a terribly bad ear set or worse. Still we are amazed whenever we hear of a great champion who, at four, five or six months was nearly relegated to pethood, only to bloom to perfection later in life. Our best dogs never really suffered such drastic changes, even at the critical states of development.

Ultimately, not all pretty dogs possess charisma and harmony. Harmony is more than a collection of perfect components; it is a certain arrangement of components, a balance of lines, angles and weights, the total physical design displayed in a convincing manner, with charisma. With luck, we all will have the good fortune and tremendous satisfaction of sharing, through breeding or ownership, in the lives of some truly great specimens of our breed.

Example of our puppy development process

0-16 Days: See Text
14-16 Days: Eyes and ears open. Move from bed to pen. Start solid/canned food.
16-21 Days: Adjustment to larger exercise pen.
21-28 Days: Observe eye size, shape, set; who comes, plays, energy level.
4 to 6 Weeks: Observe range of outdoor play; use of space; footing changes. Group visits in the house; indoor games.
6 to 7 Weeks: Farm walk; exploring new terrain; following along. Eye checks.
7 to 9 Weeks: Puppy training; sit, down, stand, come. Potty training; crate and hourly intervals in the home. Walks in pairs; stairs. First cut; companion puppies leave (less charisma/harmony).
9 to 12 Weeks: Retrieving; early herding exposure; barn visits, individual walks. Observe expression, carriage, bone. Working pups and Service Dog candidates leave (or stay).
12 to 16 Weeks: Individual training; gaiting; focusing; leash, care; single visits. Observe bonding, stamina, interest in learning, ability, pride. Observe rears, movement, tails, bites, toplines, fronts. Show prospects leave (or stay).