everything you need to know about

puppy placements


Here at Divine Pups we are proud to raise our puppies using a service dog curriculum to empower, build nerve strength and confidence.
All these traits are important regardless of their final placement.

All puppies are raised using the same curriculum, but ultimately it is their own traits that will determine the type of home or job they will excel the most in.

We don’t raise perfect puppies because they do not exist. However, through temperament evaluations we can recommend specific puppies for matching placements.

The types of placement are as follows:


Are our puppies trained to do these jobs? The answer is No.
Our puppies are set up for success through curriculum and correct placement. We value your needs and we respect their voice.

There will be commitments with every placement, and you must have real dog ownership expectations. We are confident in our program and matches so that through your commitment in self training or with a certified trainer your puppy will fulfill the big jobs they were born to do!

Emotional Support dog

These animals may be used as part of a medical treatment plan but are NOT considered service animals under the ADA. Support animals provide companionship, help with depression, anxiety and certain phobias. They are allowed on airplanes and in housing with medical documentation. No general public access rights. Oftentimes this animal is a pet.

ADA National Network

service dog

A dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks benefitiung an individual with a disability. This includes physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. The task MUST be directly related to the person’s disability. These well-trained dogs have full public access rights and are protected under the ADA. Not a pet.

ADA National Network

Therapy dogs

Dogs who provide many people with theraputic contact, usually in a hospital, school or clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional and or cognitive functioning. These dogs do NOT have public access rights. Permission must be granted to enter public facilities and certification may be requested.

AKC article on ESA and Therapy Dogs

companion dog

Companion dogs are not trained to perform specific tasks related to any disability, much like an emotional support dog. They are not required as part of a medical treatment plan. This is a family pet. They may or may not be well-behaved. They are great for comfort, friendship and overall health. These animals are owned for pleasure, not work. No public access rights.

AKC article-  10 benefits of having a dog

Therapy dogs

Facility dogs who work with a professional usually in a clinic setting or in a residence. They are trained to do specific, skilled tasks in a large variety of different situations inside the facility environment. Usually with multiple clients. Some facilities with these specifically trained dogs could be schools, victim advocate centers for victims in a painful criminal trial, hospitals, residential centers, and physical therapy centers.

everything you need to know about

temperament explained


What is a certified BAB Evaluator?

A Certified BAB Evaluator is someone who can evaluate puppies and properly help place those puppies in homes where they can thrive. Communicating the desired traits and obstacles with each client. 

We test for 12 traits in our puppies. All of which can vary from low to high and they tell us so much. 

Evaluations begin at 9 weeks. We do not let puppy picks start until testing is completed in all videos and score cards have been sent to each client. 

It is extremely important to us that each puppy be placed in the right home. By waiting until the 9th week, we are able to assess the puppies more accurately and in return give our puppies and our clients the best chance at success. 

Why is temperament testing so crucial? 

Some temperaments just do not work in some environments like others do. Then there are some that can be worked with, and obstacles overcome with proper care and training.

Do you have small children? Some temperaments do better with children. Are you battling anxiety or suffering from depression? How about a member of the family who has meltdowns? There are some temperaments in dogs that cannot handle intense  human emotion and will eventually get washed out.There are others who know how to help in these types of situations. Do you want a dog that will take a nightly run with you -Maybe a hike? or are you more chilled at home with a book and some TV? Dogs have different energy levels. Do you have physical limitations or health issues such as diabetes or seizures? Are you a teacher looking for a school facility dog? 

We strongly believe that a lot of dogs end up in shelters for a few reasons, one being that sometimes people do not know what they are getting in a dog. We take every precaution to not let that happen. Every dog is amazing and they deserve to be honored and respected for who they are – giving them a voice! We breed the  #badassbreeder way.

Written By: Certified Comprehensive Breeder Tabitha Erickson of Sac River Goldendoodles

Shih Tzu Puppies
everything you need to know about

temperament evaluations


By raising my puppies using a service dog curriculum, I am empowering them to be the best version of themselves. When the puppies go through their temperament evaluation I am able to learn about 12 traits that I specifically test for. With puppies, some temperament traits are stable, and some are adjustable. Stable means that is the way your puppy is and will not change regardless of what you do. Adjustable Traits are areas that you can work on with your puppy and build up from where they left off.

stable traits

Assertiveness (human and dog), Energy Level, Prey Drive (intensity), Human Focus, Tenderhearted, Motivation.

adjustable traits

Confidence, Touch Tolerance (compliance only, not if they like it), Sound Sensitivity, Sight Sensitivity, Nerve Strength/ Resiliency.

When you are part of a litter’s Nursery List  (you are ready to choose a puppy from that litter) I will contact you after temperament evaluations have been done. You will have access to a private Facebook page, where you can see every puppy evaluation in that litter. I will also send you the score sheets, so that you can see each puppy’s 12 temperament traits.

Interpreting what each trait means is what can be a bit challenging, that is where I can help navigate each evaluation and give you some real life scenarios to make your decision easier. Here are some examples of those traits:


Your child is holding a piece of pizza. An assertive dog will walk up to the child and take it. Period.


Your small child is holding a piece of pizza. A submissive pup will walk slowly toward the child. Look left, look right. Smell the ground. Move a little closer. Check again to see if an adult is watching and slowly, ever so slowly try to take the pizza. Sometimes they will and sometimes the child will say NO in time and the dog will respect those boundaries.

lacks confidence/nerve strength

You cannot coddle (pet or baby talk) which enforces fear. Socialization will take longer. Let’s say you want to be able to take your pup to the park to walk around or take one of your children to the playground. You need to work the pup up to that outing; it cannot magically happen when the puppy is old enough to be in public. Day 1 may be just sitting at a bench in the park until the pup settles. Then leave. No meeting new people. No pressure. Day 2 move closer to the playground. Sit and wait it out. Fear will dissolve (they cannot stay in that state of mind for long) and then leave. No meeting new people. No pressure. Day 3 sit right next to the playground. Politely tell those wanting to pet your pup that he or she is in training and cannot visit. Wait until the pup is settled and calm. Then leave. No pressure. Respect these pups and their needs to take things slowly. Do not force. Do not enable. Build confidence through respect and understanding.

low motivation

Finding what this pup values is key to training. Maybe it is treats? Maybe it is physical affection? Maybe it is toys? Keep training sessions short and fun! If you want a puppy that will follow you around, willing to do whatever you say with complete obedience and admiration, this is not the puppy for you. You have to hang the moon and stars for him or her. When you take a low motivated pup home, I highly encourage you to feed by hand. This is an important part of establishing a healthy “pack” bond and leadership structure within your household. Lay the foundation that you provide everything for him or her and that you both value and respect each other.

low touch tolerance

This pup, as of now, does not “love” a lot of physical affection. Generally, it will be more on their terms and more often than not, they do not like unsolicited affection from those they do not know or trust. If you have any children in your household, ensure they know that when the puppy is sleeping, they are to keep their hands off and when the pup is in his or her kennel, they cannot disturb. If you want a dog that is highly affectionate, let’s look at other options.

Exuberant Pups

It is important for these puppies to work on self-control and focus. Do not “reward the crazy,” for example, if you take the pup to the park and he or she gets excited to meet new people, do not allow anyone to pet until the puppy is calm. In fact, go often and do not allow anyone to pet him. He needs to know that excitement is not rewarded. When you get his food bowl out, if he barks and gets excited just stand there with his food bowl. As soon as he settles and sits, say “yes” (immediately) and put the food bowl down. The hand feeding, “sit on the dog” and tether training activities are very important training tools for exuberant pups. Is there a trainer lined up to help, if needed?

High Energy

Are you willing to make the commitment to ensure this pup gets more mental stimulation and physical activity than most need? That might mean getting up earlier to walk longer, doing extra training sessions, challenging your pup with games and puzzles etc. It means not spending all day at work and then going to a movie or out to dinner, without taking your pup’s needs into account. Do you enjoy playing, hiking, swimming, walking, etc. with your dog(s)? Do you have help (kids, spouse, family)? The hand feeding, “sit on the dog” and tether training activities are very important training tools for high-energy pups. Is there a trainer lined up to help, if needed?

High Prey Drive

This pup gets aroused easily by sight and/ or by smell. They may stay in “play drive” territory but could move into “hunt drive” and that can be difficult to manage. These pups tend to lose self-control when a rabbit is seen or maybe when kids run by or even just with toys (shaking to kill). A high-prey drive pup is not an ideal match for a family with young children or a situation in which the dog would often be exposed to young children. You will need a system in place for draining this energy appropriately (playing fetch, long hikes, etc.) and family training to the “treat” game, where no one is chasing the pup or taking items from he or she.

It is equally important to remember that puppies can, and do, change, and their life experiences will shape and mold them. A once trusting and social pup can become terrified of dogs after one random attack. A tenderhearted pup that lacked confidence in its early months could really thrive in a household that works consistently at safe and well-controlled socialization, resulting in a confident pup a year later. That same dog may become fearful and ridden with anxiety, if placed in the wrong household.


Tenderhearted is not a reflection of the attachment or ability to bond to you. It is a reflection of how influenced they are by intense human emotions. We have to know that for our highly and extremely puppies. Being placed in a working position (therapy, school, esa (depends on severity) could make these puppies crumble. We have to ensure our “bleeding hearts” that feel responsible for human emotions (intense can be happy/screaming – think some school situations) would be detrimental for these puppies. They have to be protected in placement.

This is not a reflection of bonding and or attachment but how deeply the puppy is influenced by intense human emotions.

Knowing the temperament of your puppy MATTERS! Where they are placed is IMPORTANT.
Welcome to the new standard of puppy raising. Being a voice for them always.


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