FB pixel
Exterior shot of canine development center on a sunny day. There are small trees and red bricks bordering the large brick building with a green roof

Canine Development Center

The canine development center is the hub for all dog-centric operations. Up to 400 dogs, from puppies to retired Leader Dogs, may be housed here at any time. In addition to dog care, the canine center is also the home base of the veterinary, puppy development, breeding and maintenance departments, and our Leader Dog gift shop.

Open Housing Villages

A kennel environment can be stressful for dogs. Our open housing villages allow for ample stimulation and interaction for every dog every day.

  • The suites, placed around the perimeter of the room, provide wide, open sight lines for every single dog.
  • Each suite is large and allows for humans to enter to interact with the dogs directly in their suites.
  • Dogs are social animals, so up to 60% of the suites allow for cohabitation.
  • A large, open area is included in the main area of the villages where the dogs can spend time with our volunteers and staff, allowing for even more human-dog interaction.
  • Air conditioning keeps our dogs cooler, calmer and reduces humidity.

Puppy and Breeding Areas

The journey to becoming a Leader Dog starts at birth, so the canine development center was developed with our breeding stock and puppies in mind.

  • The breeding area features separate housing, recreation and relief runs for males and females, allowing them to remain relaxed prior to breeding.
  • We use an air exchange system to keep the male and female dogs from smelling one another's pheromones prior to breeding to promote natural breeding behaviors.
  • Our breeding stock dogs are housed in a separate area from our puppies, offering a more peaceful environment that helps protect young immune systems.
  • The villages for breeding dogs can house up to 10 males and 14 females.
  • Up to eight litters of puppies can be housed in the puppy area.
  • Both the breeding and puppy areas have their own isolation spaces to protect the health of our dogs.
  • The puppy area includes adjacent daytime and nighttime spaces, an open layout with low walls to help our staff keep tabs on puppy activity, and large glass garage doors that open into an outdoor play area for the puppies to use when weather permits.

Centralized Veterinary Clinic

Our esteemed team of veterinarians has the responsibility of caring for hundreds of dogs at all stages of life. Every dog that enters this facility must be seen and monitored at the on-site veterinary clinic. The veterinary clinic is centrally located in the canine center to allow quick, easy access to the vets from any of the areas that dogs are housed. The clinic includes defined areas for X-ray, surgery, post-surgery recovery and endoscopic procedures.

We are committed to the humane care and welfare of all our dogs. Read our animal welfare statement.