At Service Dogs for America most of our dogs are whelped on site at the Jud campus. We have two females, Willow and Jasmine, and one stud Jet. We prefer to breed Labs, Golden Retrievers and Lab-doodles (allergies). These breeds are smart, loyal and very patient.
We start training puppies around 8 weeks with “5” basic commands, with “sit” as the first command. At 5 months they are introduced into the ICAP program. The pups will stay there and train for about 3 months with one team, consisting of three to four inmates. This is a 24/7/365 day program. The dogs rotate back into the Jud campus, working with our trainers and volunteers.
By the time they reach one year of age they will have learned over 30 commands. Many times at this point we can detect what type of service dog they will be. Our service dogs are fully trained by the time they reach two years old, and are paired up with an individual that may become their life partner.
For the most part our clients travel and stay on the Jud campus for three weeks of team training. This is done with the individual and the service dog, along with our trainers. Both service dog and client must pass the public access test before team certification is completed.
Our Volunteers are crucial to the success of our program. They provide the social interaction with our dogs as well as their enthusiastic participation in countless other ways, including fundraising, special events, campus tours, washing dogs.