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Welcome to the Puppy Kindergarten Class for Spring 2022

the puppy kindergarten class for spring 2022

The newest members of Duke's Class of 2022 are still growing their canines. Meet Keaton, Laney, Odom and Nestle, who are at the start of their journey to become service dogs. 

The Duke Puppy Kindergarten is a longitudinal study funded by the National Institute of Health to assess the impact of different rearing strategies on the behavior and cognitive development of assistance dogs. The goal of the project is to increase the supply of assistance dogs and to see more dogs graduate and serve more people.

Each semester, more than 100 Duke undergraduates help raise puppies from Canine Companions from 8-20 weeks of age. The students also run the puppies through a range of cognitive games that will function as a kind of early aptitude testing, which will be used in the future as early identifiers of puppies who are most likely to graduate as assistance dogs.