In 2018, Hero Dogs started its own breeding program. A dedicated breeding program enables us to improve the genetic health and temperament of our service dog candidates by using purpose-bred sires and dams who have the desired characteristics. It also allows us to better control the pipeline of dogs coming in to our program to meet demand and increase our capacity.
Finally, and most importantly, it gives us control of the critical first weeks of life of these valuable dogs. We start training our purpose-bred service dog candidates when they are three days old with a variety of sensory experiences. By 8-9 weeks of age when the puppies are ready to go to puppy raisers, they:
- are housetrained to a litter pan
- sleep overnight in crates
- heard hundreds of sounds and noises
- walked on dozens of different types of surfaces and stairs
- worn t-shirts, belly bands, bandanas, and harnesses
- been brushed, ears cleaned, teeth brushed, and had their nails clipped 10 times
- have ridden in a car more than 50 times
- have met literally hundreds of children and adults of all shapes, sizes, and colors
- have visited numerous new locations
- have interacted with dozens of adult dogs
- learned to SIT, DOWN, TOUCH, WAIT, KENNEL and walk with a leash and harness
All of these factors are critical to maximizing the potential for success of each and every puppy we produce.