|Barked: Thu Jul 4, '13 8:26am PST |
|Hi there. Yes, Echo is from LEK. I'm having a bit of a brain fog this morning so I had to copy your questions so I don't forget any.
1. What is the cost of a dog?
The cost of a dog is $5000, with a $1000 deposit once you have a dog picked for you, and the remaining $4000 due at the end of team training.
2. How long is the waiting list? (as by your experience)
I waited approximately 5-6 months from the time I first inquired until team training.
3. When in the process does a handler get paired with a dog?
After filling out and sending in all appropriate forms from you and your doctor/s pertaining to your health, diagnoses, strengths, weaknesses, and dog trait preferences.
4. Are breed/color preferences taken into consideration?
At this current time, LEK only has labradors. Last I checked, they had no intentions to breed or bring any other breed into their program. I wasn't told Echo's color until after I agreed he sounded like a good match for me, based on a long conversation with the head trainer about what I did/did not want as traits in a dog.
5. Can you describe your experience?
My experience up until team training was overwhelmingly positive. Team training, while promised two weeks, was only six days. The head trainer, I felt, was abrasive (though likely unintentionally), and Echo was given a stern correction on a chain martingale collar, which surprised me, as I was told that LEK was a positive reinforcement only program. Echo spooked several times during TT, and I found it odd that I was only allowed to reward using praise and touch as opposed to a treat or toy. Turns out, Echo had never seen another toy or dog really, aside from his male kennel mates, most being litter mates. He had never had a toy, or encountered many things I didn't expect him to be afraid of. A small child, a person of color, a bicycle... all things I would have expected less of a balking response from. Echo has been going through a readjustment period as I retrain him using +R methods exclusively. I have had to change several of his cues due to him being overly stressed out by them. Echo had some tracheal damage when he came, likely from improper use of a martingale collar. He frequently chokes and gags because of this.
While I don't blame LEK, nor do I regret getting Echo, I do regret spending as much as I did (once you calculate in flights, rental car, and hotels for a week, you come up with an extra $2000) on an improperly, unfinished dog. I think LEK has its heart in the right place, but I feel their program could be greatly improved with the use of puppy raisers. Again, while I appreciate what LEK is doing, I wouldn't recommend them.