The Warrior Canine Connection Breeding Program
Warrior Canine Connection’s (WCC) dogs are Golden and Labrador Retrievers specially bred for health, temperament and longevity. The WCC Director of Dog Programs researches at least 12 generations of each dog’s pedigree to obtain an accurate picture of his or her genetic potential to become a successful service dog for a wounded Warrior.
People frequently ask if WCC uses rescued or shelter dogs in the service dog training program. While a majority of dogs put up for adoption make wonderful pets, very few meet the health, temperament, and training requirements necessary for them to graduate as certified service dog partners of Combat Veterans with mobility impairments. Consequently, WCC has an in-house breeding program and also obtains puppies from selected breeders who produce dogs with genetic predispositions to be trained to provide many years of loyal and enthusiastic service to disabled Combat Veterans.
WCC adheres to the standards established by Assistance Dogs International with regard to the health, temperament, and training of service dogs.
Every dog in WCC’s breeding program receives the following health exams and related clearances:
- Hips and elbows x-rayed to confirm they are free of abnormalities and degenerative joint disease
- Annual eye exams by a board-certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist
- Heart examined by a board-certified Veterinary Cardiologist
- Additional genetic testing appropriate for the breed
WCC provides top-quality veterinary care for program dogs and keeps careful health and veterinary records from the date puppies enter the program through their entire lives. All WCC dogs are spayed or neutered between the ages of 1-2 unless they are being considered for the WCC breeding program.
Potential service dogs in the WCC program are low-aroused and do not demonstrate aggression towards people or other animals. They possess negligible prey drive. They may not pull on the leash or chase small animals, as this will create an unsafe situation for their disabled partner. WCC dogs are carefully socialized as puppies and gradually exposed to experiences and public places to make them calm and confident in all environments. They have sensitive demeanors and are eager to please. They are also very friendly and promote social interaction for their Warrior trainers.
WCC utilizes positive reinforcement methods in its training program — in particular, through emotional praise and treats. It takes approximately two years for a WCC dog to complete its training, during which time it learns a minimum of 80 commands. In order to graduate from the WCC program and meet the standards of Assistance Dogs International, each dog must perform tasks on the first command 90 percent or more of the time. With their genetic predisposition for this type of work, WCC dogs are eager to learn and successfully complete tasks.