BOYDS, Md. (WDVM) — Tuesday is National Puppy Day, and while many of us devoted dog owners have trained our precious pups to sit, roll over and shake paws, a new litter of puppies in Boyds, Maryland is training to take on a really important job.
Eight golden retriever puppies were born just nine days ago at Warrior Canine Connection’s facility in Boyds. Those five good boys and three good girls will train to become some of WCC’s next service dogs for veterans.
Though they can’t see or hear yet, WCC Puppy Development Specialist Danielle Young says there are sensory toys in their whelping box that stimulate neurons in the puppy’s brain and help with their development. The whelping box is where the puppies will stay with their mother for the first few weeks of their lives.
Young says any kind of physical stimuli early on helps to prepare the puppies to be service animals.
As they grow up, they’ll go through socialization and redirection training with their foster parents before being placed with a veteran. The dogs are trained to help their veteran pick things up since many of their clients have back and mobility issues, Young said. They also learn how to provide emotional support and distraction for their veteran, as some of them suffer from PTSD.
“We train them to do things like interrupting stress cues. So, when a veteran gets anxious, they might bounce their leg or wring their hands, and the interrupting of that physical behavior also changes their mindset to a healthier place,” said Young.
If you want to keep an eye on the litter and see what they’re up to, WCC has a live puppy cam.