The paws4people Assistance Dog Breeding Program is a custom bloodline breeding program specifically developed to produce dogs with the quality health, personality, temperament, and disposition suitable for Assistance Dog work.
Dogs within our breeding program are carefully chosen from the top pedigrees across the country, and even internationally. All of our prospective breeding program dogs have many health certifications and clearances completed prior to being bred. Currently, our breeding program is made up of Golden and Labrador Retrievers.
Why do we focus so intensely on building an internal breeding program? We literally begin training from Day 1! First is neurological stimulation and stress control conditioning, as well as scent introduction.
Neurological stimulation and stress control conditioning involve exposing the puppies to a series of different stimuli, postures, physical restrictions, physical stimulation, and so on, for the first three weeks. Scent introduction involves forming neural pathways, utilizing one of the only senses puppies have at birth.
By week three, the puppies’ eyes and ears have opened, and they are much more ambulatory, exploratory, and aware of their environment. At this point the “rule of sevens” is implemented into the puppies’ training regiment.
The “rule of sevens” involves exposing the puppies to as many different sensory experiences and textures as possible to avoid the age-old ‘dog scared of the white tile floor at the vet’, for example.
3 week old puppy “sensory training”?
Also by week three, the puppies begin more “formal” training sessions, using puppy mush food as treats to teach them the theory of food motivation and to begin their associations with certain body postures, especially “sit.” Many people who come to visit the puppies are amazed that, at 4 weeks old, the puppies are living mostly outside of their whelping box during the day, playing with toys and obstacles, not requiring much supervision, and not creating any destruction.
These puppies are trained to potty areas, even at 4 weeks old. When feeding, or giving them attention, they are able to sit in a semi-circle…without a puppy jumping up or biting.
These are all things that dogs are capable of learning at such a young age – things that many puppies don’t even begin to learn until they go home at the age of 8 weeks or so. Our puppies are already 4 weeks ahead of most training curves – just one more reason we have such an affinity for our internal breeding program!
The last aspect of the whelping process that makes paws4people’s breeding program so unique is that we allow a 100% natural weaning process.
We have found over much time and trial that the very fascinating process of the mother creating the boundaries of allowing the puppies to eat or not eat from her as they age is irreplaceable.
This process teaches:
It reduces intra-litter dominance behaviors and leaves us with litters that are almost evenly beta, without the bossy alpha puppy and the picked-on “runt”.
Our breeding and whelping program seamlessly feeds into our puppy development program, where the puppies continue their ever-important socialization, desensitization, and early training!
To sign up as a volunteer and for volunteer activities – including puppy socialization – please click here.
A very special thank you to the wonderful breeders who help us to supplement our breeding program and continually improve our bloodlines.
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Professional Photos © Joan Brady