Companion Service Dogs Children With Autism

Help us make some noise about the Good Dog Autism Dog Training campaign to get the word out.The Good Dog! project has been testing and implementing remarkable possibilities. After discovering how much their own child improved, when he received his first companion dog, they couldn’t wait to make a difference for other children with autism.  The experience has been life changing for at least 16 more children with autism.

They have helped to improve the quality of life for these children because the service dog was available, trained and ready, to address the specific challenges children with autism have.  “The dog is like a bridge to connect the child with the world” said the founder of Good Dog! He expressed gratitude for the improvement in his own son’s life and is dedicated to help other children and their families as well. This is where we can all help the Good Dog vision become a reality.

Companion Service Dogs Children With Autism Fundraiser.

Good Dog! Solutions, a service dog project, is doing a fundraiser to buy and train service dogs for children with autism.

The project has a great network of professionals to help them understand the child’s needs, train the puppy to help the child, and to train family about the dog. Service dogs are companion dogs that have specialized training. This project is focused on filling the needs of autistic children and selecting puppies to work with them.

With the right funding this project can get more dogs trained and into the program and ultimately into the families they will help sooner.

Companion Service Dogs Children With Autism Wisteria Ranch

We have had two different families with an autistic child come and get a puppy from us. It was such a wonderful experience. We loved watching how much of a difference it made in a short period of time to their children having this special connection with their puppy.

One family came to select a puppy with their daughter. We had three older puppies available and we (Billy & I) and the parents watched how the puppies interacted with their daughter. It was amazing to see one of the puppies make a visible connection with her. He would go lay by her when she lay on the floor or across her chest. It was intimate and words cannot describe how touching it was to watch the process. We have seen many puppies ‘pick’ their families over the years, but this was different, this was an intuitive spiritual process that we were honored to be a part of.

Companion Service Dogs Related Links

Good Dog Autism Home

Good Dog Autism Fundraiser 

Companion Dogs Blog Posts 


New Puppy Perfect Name

new puppy perfect name newborn Sunny Ego born 11-02-2014 English Cream Golden Retriever Available PuppiesOne of the countless questions I hear from new puppy owners is “How do we decide on a perfect name for our new puppy?” There are many great and fun ways to discover your new puppy’s perfect name. I’ve gathered together our Top Five ways to discover your new puppy’s perfect name. We would love to hear your ideas as well. Please leave a comment in the box below with your idea.

The avenues to discover the perfect name for your new puppy are numerous. These are a few to spark your own ideas. Personality, distinguishing features, pedigree, history, seasons, and family favorites are explained more below.

New Puppy Perfect Name Five Name Discovery Ideas


Puppies are born with their own individual personality. When we have been holding and handling and introducing to foundational socialization, each week we observe and write down our observations on personality, so we can relay this information to their forever family at six weeks.  Names to highlight a personality trait might include: Angel, Harmony, Happy, Halo, or Strider.

Distinguishing Features

At newborn distinguishing features are a bit illusive. We begin to see individual features in appearance and personality as the weeks go by, and we have the opportunity to get to know each puppy a bit better.

When we begin individual time and introduction to socialization features become easier to notice as well. As you look at your puppy you will notice an appearance characteristic which may spark an idea for a name. There are many names associated with color, texture, and distinguishable postures (often linked to personality). Goldie, Snow, or Honor.


When you want to give your new puppy a name, to honor her pedigree, a study of her family history can provide amazing ideas to get you started. At Wisteria Goldens Ranch we have both Sire and Dame family tree names on each of our dogs pedigree pages.

There are many ways to use this approach. One way is to explore the family tree and pick something you like. Another idea is to combine names from different family members such as your new puppy’s mother and father or grandparents. For example: One idea for Ego and Sunny’s  litter, a girl’s name might be “Faith’s Secret” which is a combination of grandparent’s names. Don’t forget to explore both Sire and Dame pedigree pages for both girl’s and boy’s names ideas.


There are many names in history (fiction, mythology, and Non-Fiction) which are a great way to combine a learning journey with the family with finding a great name for your new puppy. There are many amazing dogs’ names in mythology, science, history, and literature. Names like Thor and Nike for example are from mythology. You can expand the journey to a long term informational journey or do a few internet searches to get a list of name ideas.


The time of year (Summer, April), Geo location (River, Camper), Sports Season (Catcher, Coach), or your personal favorite holiday (Holly, Sunny, Valentine, or Clover) can be a start to discovering perfect name options. Seasonal activities, events, or a celebration can be areas to explore for name ideas. Don’t forget to explore seasonal entertainment as well. You may find the perfect puppy name in a holiday movie or music favorite.

New Puppy Perfect Name Family Focus Group

Family Favorites

Now that you have done a bit of research: Have a puppy naming gathering.

Have a family meet-up to discuss the names each member of your family likes. Just about everyone will want to share something they have thought about. They might have had a favorite character (cartoon or television show) or they met a companion dog at some time and loved his/her name.

Pass out paper and have a formal naming focus group with your family. Nominate the favorites. When the favorites are narrowed down to two or three decide how to make a decision or give your puppy more than one name. Nike’s page may give you some ideas.

Share your New Puppy’s Perfect Name or Name Finding Idea

Which of these ideas to name your new puppy sound the most helpful to you and your family? We would love to hear your ideas and how you have discovered your new puppy’s perfect name.

New Puppy Perfect Name Related Links

Explore Our Dogs Meet Our Girls and Boys

Explore Our Available Puppies

Find Training Tips and Stories About Companion Dogs

Early Neurological Stimulation and Rules of 7

English Cream Golden Retriever Puppies Foundational Start Routin Wisteria Goldens Ranch Newborn to eight weeks training and socialization schedule.We have developed a routine at Wisteria Ranch which has been in development over the years. We research, consult with amazing experienced people, do more research, implement, evaluate, revise, and implement again. We are consistently striving to provide the best possible lifestyle for our companions and for the puppies who will one day leave us to live in their forever home.

Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS)

Early Neurological Stimulation is a technique to improve the long term ability of dogs to adjust to change and build upon socialization to changing stimuli.The training we follow was researched and created by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia.

We have combined the Early Neurological Stimulation method with The Rules of 7 by Pat Schaap. Together these methods provide the socialization approach best suited for puppies (ENS) with a goal plan introduced in the Rules of 7.

The Rules of Seven

The Rules of 7 provide a goal plan which basically outlines the socialization tasks and a goal to have each of the tasks on the list mastered by the time a puppy is 7 weeks old.

These approaches and methods benefit a puppy’s developing immune system, help dogs to adapt to new situations more quickly, and providing positive socialization experiences. The result is health, happiness, and self-confidence.

Early Neurological Stimulation and Rules of 7 Expanded Reading:

Early Neurological Stimulation by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia Breeding Better Dogs

The Rules of 7 by Pat Schaap (see overview below)

By the time a puppy is seven weeks old, he/she should have:

  • Been on 7 different types of surfaces.
  • Played with 7 different types of objects.
  • Been in 7 different locations.
  • Met and played with 7 new people.
  • Been exposed to 7 different challenges.
  • Eaten from 7 different containers. and
  • Eaten in 7 different locations.

Early Neurological Stimulation and Rules of 7

The combination of methods combined with our nurturing and consistent home lifestyle, trainer, health care and nutrition, are an achievement we are honored and proud to provide.

Related Links

Available Puppies



Homeless Pets Foundation

Pets Home, Health, and Abundance

We use Life’s Abundance!

Dr. Jane’s Foundation has given financial assistance awards to many organizations who are taking realistic steps to issues effecting pets which cause abandonment, overpopulation, and homelessness. Organizations who take affirmative action to provide training pet parents, reducing shelter populations, and improving the lives of at risk pets.

Homeless Pets Foundation News

The great news is we can all be a part of this simply by purchasing Life’s Abundance products.

We use Life’s Abundance because it is the best choice for our English Cream Golden Retriever dogs and puppies. The healthiest ingredients promote the best overall health. It is a win-win choice to feed this to our pets and to also know we are supporting an amazing foundation who is passionate about improving the health and well being of  pets all around the country.

Homeless Pets Foundation Cooperative Action

We can all help!

Every pet deserves a loving and healthy forever home. Life’s Abundance Foundation has strategically created a combination response to the issues with healthy food, organizations who train forever families, coordinate adoptions, recommend health care, and prolifically make huge impacts on the progress toward long term solutions for homeless pets.

The remarkable work the foundation is doing to improve the lives of pets with nutrition and supporting organizations who are verified and making a difference is a small part of the motivation to support them.

Closer to Home. The primary motivation is to provide our own pets with the best possible nutrition. We use Life’s Abundance and have confidence in the nutritional value of the products. Your pet’s and our pet’s health and well being are our primary goal.

Homeless Pets Foundation Related Links

Healthy Pets Longer Life

Special Announcement

Homeless Pets Foundation Grant Recipients 



Important Jobs for Companion Dogs

Black Boy Halo Litter 9 weeks English Cream Golden Retriever Puppies for SaleImportant Jobs for Companion Dogs are essential even if he is not a service dog. A companion dog can be trained to help with daily routines or we can create a unique job just for him. This article will discuss how to choose the best jobs based on four key ideals. Next we will explore ‘simple versus complex’ jobs which can be taught over time.

Important Jobs for Companion Dogs Four Key Ideals Checklist

This is the list of Four Key Ideals to consider when you are choosing a job for your dog.

Ask yourself: Is the job you are assigning to your pet…

  1. A routine task.
  2. Age and strength appropriate.
  3. An important task.
  4. A safe task.

Important Jobs for Companion Dogs Four Key Ideals Summary

This is a summary of why each of the Four Key ideals are important.


Routine is an important consideration for every aspect of your dog’s day. The time for meals, play, going outside, and other daily events are looked forward to and he has the opportunity to think about the skills he will be using in each of the events of his day. A daily job to do will be more satisfying when it is at an anticipated time of day as well.

Age and Strength Appropriate

Is the job assignment appropriate for his age and his strength?

Age: Puppies will have a shorter attention span than an older dog will have. When a job has multiple tasks it may be more complex than a puppy would be able to take responsibility for. However with adult supervision a puppy can do jobs such as going to another room to bring you a item you need for a task you are modeling to teach him when he is older.

Strength: While it is possible for a dog to do some heavy work, anything over strenuous should be approached with additional training (for pet and handler) as well as a health checkup and monitoring by his healthcare professional. Think about the process you might go through when you plan to start a workout routine at the gym. You would want to have a skilled coach to help you ease into the workout routine. You would want your coach to monitor and advise you each stage of the process. Similarly it is important to provide your dog with a professional team when heavy work is an option for him.


Is the job you are assigning to your dog an important job? This is important to consider because the job will contribute to your home’s daily routine and being important you will consistently remember to show appreciation for the work.


Absolute safety is essential so your pet will be able to perform his job without injury. If there are complicated obstacles, or anything in the environment which could cause harm, remove them if at all possible or train him to maneuver properly so he will avoid the unsafe circumstances.

Important Jobs for Companion Dogs Task Complexity

Simple versus Complex Tasks

A few simple tasks, one at a time (one or two word simple instructions) are easier for a younger dog to learn and incorporate into his job tasks. As he gets a bit older (12-14 weeks) he can gradually begin to tackle  more complex tasks (a couple of extra steps in a row to complete the job). Each time you add a new step in the process of the job  you can gradually let him do the new step in the work.

New Task Phase Summary

Take the process gradually over a period of time (10 days for example), and repeat for each new skill or step in a task you are training him to do. Move gradually through the stages and be patient as he improves each step of the way.

  • Show him how to do what you are asking him to do.
  • Assist him in completing the task.
  • Watch him complete the task unassisted.

Example: In the beginning you are taking on most of the work, and showing your pet each step as you go along. As time goes by you will assist him with the new task. Later you will allow him to do the first step with supervision. As time goes by give him another step in the process as you are slowly transfer the job over to him.

What are important jobs for a companion dog? We’d love to hear what information we can provide for you in helping to raise your puppy or keeping your dog healthy and happy.

Training Playtime

Training PlaytimeTraining, socialization, and positive experiences can all be incorporated into a puppy’s training playtime. Playtime is an important part of your puppy’s routine. It is important to be mindful of the training tips even while playing.

Playtime is a great time to show consistency in positive training. Socialization skills she has learned will begin to blossom during playtime as well.

Training Playtime and Socialization

Playtime is more casual than training time yet it is a perfect time to introduce socialization skills which expand your puppies experiences through touch (texture, toys, and people), sound (clicker, music, or toys), as well as other new experiences for her senses.

Introduce one new experience at a time and be watchful for her reaction. The main thing (as discussed in other socialization posts) is to have a positive approach and not rush your puppy into anything new. Be sure your reaction is warm and understanding.

Training Playtime and Manners

While a puppy is expected to have a lot more freedom during playtime compared to training session you will want to take time to teach playtime manners and behaviors as well. The communication you have learned together during training will work well in the playtime setting.

Be sure your puppy is playing in a safe environment where boundaries are well established (visually as well as command) to ensure he will not wander into areas where wildlife, traffic, or other potential safety issues are present.

Training Playtime and Toys

When you are in a training session with your puppy you will have specific tools to use. You may have a clicker, a treat pouch, a leash, and a mat. These tools provide a visual sign for your puppy to know it is time for class.

It is important to have playtime props as well. Visual signs it is time to play. However as a leader you will be on hand to provide positive communication and praise when your puppy is showing signs of having grasped a skill you have been working on together during a training session.

Training Playtime & Planning Ideas

  1. Go for a walk: Show your puppy the boundaries for the play area by putting her on a loose leash and walking with her around the inside boundaries of the play area.
  2. Choose a Toy: Provide a few choices of toys to play with during playtime.
  3. Provide an empty box or small pool for the puppy to climb in and out of.
  4. Make a game out of skills she has learned. For example: Put two or three commands she has learned together. Be sure to celebrate while you play!

a. Walking backwards, turn around, and repeat. Add challenges, as he grows older, such as walking backwards up a couple of steps.

b. Lay down, and roll-over.

c. Get it, bring it, leave it, and repeat (fetch game).

Playing games, using training commands he has already learned, can be fun for relationship building as well as a great time to celebrate skills she has learned.

English Cream Golden Retriever Socialization Checklist

English Cream Golden Retriever Relationship Development

English Cream Golden Retriever Positive Training Approach

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Approach To Dog Training

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion Dogs Blog on Wisteria GoldensAssistance dogs are “empowering people for independence” in more ways than ever before. Thanks to dog training organizations, like Power Paws, the needs of more people are being addressed by training assistance dogs. The contact with a healing companion and help with daily needs combine to enhance each person’s life in miraculous ways.

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion

Nathan and his companion service dog Sandra (1:52 in the video below), show us how these remarkable Disability Companion Dogs are being taught to sense when a child needs to eat, or take insulin, and then she promptly provides him with what he needs to balance his blood sugar. This is of great importance for Nathan so he can better manage his diabetes. This kind of assistance is life saving on a daily basis.

Power Paws Assistance Dogs Video

(Nathan and Sandra’s story are shown in this video beginning at the 1:52 digital time mark)

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion Training

The specialized training opportunities for Disability Companion Dogs can address challenges, provide the dog with the right training, and teach disabled people (their handlers and their families) how to communicate with their new companion. The goal is to empower people with challenges of mobility, PTSD, fears and phobias, or other limiting conditions. These are just the beginning of what can be accomplished when a dog is given specialized training.

Training is to provide a dog with the knowledge to identify a situation and take an action. This needs to be consistent even in the case when the owner or handler gives a command which is in contradiction with the trained skill. For example; when a guide dog is instructed to cross the street and at the same time the dog sees a car coming he will follow his training rather than the handlers command. This is called ‘intelligent disobedience’ or ‘selective disobedience’ because the service dog has been trained to do things a certain way ‘not cross the street when a car is coming’ and will not follow the handler’s command to cross.

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion Communication

A bit more specific would be the difference between stepping off of a curb and stepping down stairs. When stairs or a curb are present (in the case of a Seeing Eye dog) the dog is going to wait for the handler to specifically state they are aware of the obstacle. The ‘code words’ for stairs and curb will be different. If you are a recipient of a companion dog it is imperative you learn the language your dog has been taught and consistently communicate with her in her language.

The right skills training (for dogs and their owners) as well as the right dog for the job are keystones to successfully creating new opportunities for dogs and for the people they assist.

If you, someone you know, or an organization in your community would benefit from knowing more about this amazing topic please share this page.

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion Related Links

The Healing Power of Dogs

Library Jobs for Dogs

Power Paws

Guide Dogs

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Approach to Dog Training

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Training ApproachWhen you take on the responsibility of becoming a dog owner you are taking on a leadership role. Many leaders have come to the conclusion when there is a problem in the organization the problem is often with the leadership approach. Many teachers have learned this as well. When a class is experiencing challenges, and other methods seem to be ineffective, there is probably a problem with the way a subject is being taught.

When we are training a family companion, if the problems seem complicated, and we are not getting the results we want, the problem may be in the training approach.

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Approach to Dog Training Comparison

Whenever anyone consults with a trainer about the challenges they are having working with their dog, upon observation, there are usually problems in the way the training has been approached. The same theme occurs in cases where children seem to be out of control. We have watched an episode or two of the reality show where a super nanny arrives to observe the problem, in most of the cases, the nanny is working more closely with helping the parents make some changes in how they are communicating with the children.

The lesson in these training tips is to change the focus off of the behaviors, onto discovering how the trainer can revise the approach and revise the communication method, so the problem can be resolved. When we begin as pet owners with a sense of responsibility for the results, and we spend our energy on developing a communication relationship with our dogs, our results are greatly improved.

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Approach to Dog Training Questions

Consider your approach and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is the training routine fun?
  2. Is the training routine anticipated with enthusiasm?
  3. Is the curriculum being taught building upon skills already mastered and then adding a new small challenge?
  4. Are the praise and celebration segments nurturing and timely ? Is your dog understanding what behaviors are being celebrated?
  5. Are the skills you are teaching age and personality appropriate?
  6. Are the behaviors you are expecting realistic?
  7. And finally, is your communication consistent?

If you have found yourself at a gap, are struggling to lead your dog past unwanted behaviors, and you want to build a bridge over to having fun with your training again, take a little time to evaluate your leadership technique and apply what you learn to the relationship development with your dog.

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Training Approach

Anticipating the next command with focused attention and enthusiasm

There are a few things to remember.

  1. Leadership is a learned skill. There are few born leaders. It takes skill, practice, and training to become a leader.
  2. Leadership techniques are best when they are focused on relationship building,
  3. Our companion will often mirror our attitude toward training, so as we focus our attention, on consistent engagement during training so will she.
  4. Communication skills are an ongoing process which will add to and enhance progressive positive results.

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Approach to Dog Training Related Links

English Cream Golden Retriever Socialization Checklist

English Cream Golden Retriever Relationship Development

English Cream Golden Retriever Positive Training Approach

English Cream Golden Retriever Guide Dog

Joyce Williamson Guide Dog for the Blind Foundation press release storiesGolden Retrievers are historically in the top three breeds of choice for assisting blind and sight impaired individuals. The assistance dog is trained to negotiate obstacles so a person with sight challenges can become more independent.

Training curriculum for assistance dogs includes a wide range of skills including; obstacle identification, response, socialization, personality and behavior, and communication ability. Goldens are naturally well suited because of their desire to be companion dogs and to assist. They are also well suited as guide dogs because they are strong enough to communicate with body language.

English Cream Golden Retriever Guide Dog News

When an individual is sight impaired they are able to respond to sound and touch. A golden retriever can be trained to use both sound and body language to communicate the need to navigate around obstacles.

Vision loss can be frustrating and limits an individual’s ability to safely participate in activities they once enjoyed alone. A guide dog can reopen doors which were closed as a result of losing vision.

This was the case for Joyce Williamson. She gradually lost her vision due to retinitis pigmentosa. After she made a decision to work with a guide dog she soon reclaimed her independence, self confidence, and her personal safety. Williamson said, because of her guide dog, she has her “freedom’ and ‘she has given me back my quality of life and opened doors that were beginning to shut” as a result of vision challenges.

Joyce Williamson found the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and decided they were the best choice for her. “Students live on campus, working and bonding with their dogs, for 25 days.” She said.

Story and Image used with permission from Guide Dog Org Foundation Stories Press Release

English Cream Golden Retriever Guide Dog Related Links

Guide Dog for the Blind Foundation

Wisteria Goldens 

Qualifying for Therapy Dog Certification 

Library Jobs

English Cream Golden Retriever Crate Training

English Cream Golden Retriever Crate TrainingCrate training is a gradual process with the goal of providing our dogs with a comfortable and safe haven for sleeping and retreat. The crate is often compared to a den environment because it is a place where a dog can retreat and be certain disruptions will be at a minimum.

There are a few things to consider and to practice to make the crating process easier and give you positive results.

  1. Crate size,
  2. Crate location,
  3. Routine development, and
  4. What is inside the crate.

English Cream Golden Retriever Crate Training Tips

Each of the items listed above are explained below.

  1. Crate size

A crate should be just big enough for your dog to walk in, turn around, and lay down.

  1. Crate location

A crate should be located in a place where your dog can sleep undisturbed. There should be no drafts and the temperature should be relatively consistent. Place the crate in an easy location for your dog to access, should he chose to go inside for security, or a nap away from activity. Leave the door open so he/she can enter and rest with the option to exit at will.

  1. Routine development

When your puppy is at Wisteria Ranch we begin crating at 4 weeks to introduce them to the crate. We start out by putting two puppies in a crate at a time and then at 6 weeks we put them in a crate by themselves.  They have ‘nap time’ each day in the crate.

As you develop a routine you will want to take your dog out of the crate and right to the potty area before offering food, water, or playtime. Increase crating time gradually, adding a few minutes at a time, at times when your pet is unsupervised but, crating should not exceed two-four hours depending on age.

Remember to include your dog in your family routine as much as possible because he/she is naturally a family companion and will want to join you in the daily activity.

  1. What is inside

Keep the items inside the crate to a minimum. A comfortable mat and a favorite toy for example.

 English Cream Golden Retriever Crate Training Tips

Crate training is part of a complete relationship development training process. Once your dog is comfortable with a crate you can use it when your dog is unattended, when you are away from home, or when your dog is sleeping.

Crating should not be used as a time-out to correct unwanted behavior. A dog should not be alone in a crate for extended periods of time. At most, your pet should not be alone in the crate, for more than three-four hours. If your schedule keeps you away for longer periods of time it is beneficial to have a family member or neighbor let your dog out of the crate for water, playtime, socialization, exercise, and a potty break at mid-day.

 English Cream Golden Retriever Crate Training Related Links

English Cream Golden Retriever Relationship Development

English Cream Golden Retriever Positive Training Approach

English Cream Golden Retriever Socialization Checklist