Handlers not only teach basic obedience but service dog tasks as well, such as retrieving dropped items, tugging doors open, pushing handicapped door buttons, and providing brace and balance on stairs. Socialization, puppy development, behavior theory, animal husbandry, grooming, and first aid are all part of the VetDogs curriculum as well. A typical class is broken down into a brief question and answer period, a lecture, a demonstration by each handler of the dog’s skills and finally a period of group training. Individual advice is given to each handler for skill advancement along with a training plan for the following week.
Weekend Puppy Raisers
America’s VetDogs instructors have special permission to bring socialization items into the prison such as strange hats, umbrellas, skateboards and battery operated toys into the prison so that the puppies get properly socialized to things out in the “real world” and don’t become institutionalized. Each weekend, puppies go home with a volunteer, some of whom are prison staff. These “weekend puppy raisers” teach house manners, socialize them to car rides, traffic noise and visit stores, restaurants and hospitals so that they will be confident wherever their future veteran partner will go.
When puppies reach adulthood and the instructor feels they are mature enough, the dogs then go back to America's VetDogs for assessment, final training and client matching. Statistics have shown that prison raised dogs are usually so skilled they are able to go through the final training process in half the normal time of a home raised dog.
Are you interested in becoming a weekend puppy raiser? If you live in or close to Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, or Virginia and are interested in our Weekend Puppy Raising program, please click the link below:
Are you interested in becoming a full-time volunteer puppy raiser? Click here to learn more.