Guide Dogs of America’s Canine Development Department works with our puppies in training in a variety of ways, from before they go to their puppy raiser homes until they return to campus for formal training. At approximately seven weeks of age, our puppies spend a week with the Canine Development Team in Puppy Head Start. During this week, the puppies’ socialization and confidence–building experiences from the nursery are expanded upon, and they are assessed and observed to make sure they are each placed in an appropriate puppy raising home. The Canine Development Team works closely with the Puppy Department and together they create a valuable resource for the puppy raiser during the time they are fostering a puppy.
The Team also conducts and coordinates puppy kindergarten and group classes in various locations and can often be seen out in the community meeting puppy raisers to help them problem solve and work on socialization. They also conduct in home evaluations when needed to further assist the puppy raising community.
The Canine Development Department is in place to ensure that all Guide Dogs of America puppies have the support they need to hopefully one day become trusted guide dog partners.