Breeding and NurturingService Dogs must have exceptional health, abilities, and temperaments. ECAD's founders, Dale and Lu Picard, have developed an outstanding breeding program, as well as a strong network within the industry. With the exception of some breeder donations, our dogs are Labrador and Golden Retrievers bred by ECAD for outstanding physical and mental health. We take pride in the fact that we have owned all of the female breeders from birth, and we only use studs from other Service Dog programs.

We carefully select females that have even tempers, good learners, and superior health to breed for ECAD.  Our males are confident, excellent health, with a sweet personality.  Each female will have no more than 4 litters in their lifetime and then go on to be exceptional ambassadors for us. On a yearly bases ECAD will whelp between 3 to 5 litters, all with the purpose of becoming Assistance Dogs.

Having our own breeding program helps to ensure the best possible puppies enter our training program. The puppies are whelped at our breeding center in Torrington, Connecticut by the Picard family. ECAD’s early education and socialization program stands the test of time.  Between our Puppy Nanny Program and early exposures to various noises, textures, and objects while still in the whelping box, ECAD has a 85% or better success rate. 


Our program is unique because the pups get the best of both worlds – home and school – right from the start. We are big believers in early education!

Nursery Team

As early as eight weeks of age, the pups are ready to start their journey to become a Service Dog with their Nursery team. The nursery teams are loving people that open their homes and hearts for several months in order to expose their pup to traveling in vehicles, household activities, as well as parks, trails and any place a pet dog can go. Thanks to these amazing volunteers, these Service Dogs in training are begining their well rounded education.


Once the puppies are ready to leave their Nursery Team, they are welcomed into the ECADemy Program.

The ECADemy program: Intermediate Phase focuses on additional socialization of the Service Dogs in Training, visiting places pet dogs are not welcomed. For example, movies, resturants, malls, etc. By the end of the intermediate phase, each dog will have learned up to 60 commands that can be combined to perform even more tasks of daily living designed to help a person with a disability. 

The ECADemy program: Advanced Phase is all about customizing the Service Dog in Trainings skills to meet the clients individual needs. By the time the client comes for team training, each Service Dog has received up to 1500 hours of education and socialization.