EENP dogs are trained for demanding careers. We do work with some carefully selected shelter and rescue dogs, but because of the demands of the work, most of the dogs in our training program are purpose bred from lines that are proven to produce successful assistance dogs. We share resources with assistance dog schools across North America to ensure our dogs entering training have the best possible chance for success. As part of that effort, we breed some of our dogs and that effort is made possible with volunteer support.

Brood Caregivers are volunteers who house a breeding female (a "brood") through at least one reproductive cycle. A reproductive cycle can include

  • 3-12 months before she goes into season (also known as in estrus or heat);
  • around two weeks of estrus during which she is bred;
  • two months of gestation;
  • 8 weeks of litter rearing; and
  • several weeks of post-weaning recovery.

It is an exciting, fun, and rewarding time, and it is also intense!

When puppies are born, it is called a “whelp,” and we use the term “whelp home” to describe the home that hosts the brood during her pregnancy, when she has the puppies, and during the rearing of the puppies. This is almost always the same as the brood caregiver home.

Litters average 7-8 puppies, but can be bigger or smaller. Puppies stay at the whelp home for between 5 and 8 weeks - they may transition into our ABEL program at 6 weeks, or they may stay in the home, depending on availability in the ABEL program.

After the dam is recovered, we may transition her back into our ABEL program for a period of time to get extra training before returning to the brood caregiver home.

Our ideal brood caregiver is willing to keep the brood for the duration of her breeding career, but there are times when we also need a brood caregiver for just one whelp and rearing cycle.

Interested in becoming a Brood Caregiver?

How do I get started?

We'd love to have you join us! Please fill out the application below to let us know more about you, and we'll be in touch as soon as we can. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Brood Caregiver application

Application to become a Brood Caregiver

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