The puppies have graduated! The Duke Puppy Kindergarten will be closed for visitors until September 2023. 

Duke Puppy Kindergarten

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, over a hundred 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.

Only members of the Duke community are eligible to volunteer for the Duke Puppy Kindergarten, and most volunteers are undergraduates. If you would like to apply to be a volunteer, please fill out this interest form

Anyone is welcome to visit the Duke Puppy Kindergarten. The puppies are on campus from September to early November in the fall and from mid-February to mid-April in the spring. During their time on campus, we host puppy visiting hour Monday-Friday from 14:00-15:00. 

The puppy kindergarten is currently CLOSED for visitors as the Spring puppies have graduated.

When open, only 12 people are allowed in at a time, and all visitors must be masked. Visiting is free. However, visiting hours may be cancelled due to weather or scheduling conflicts. If you are planning a visit from out of town, please email to confirm that we will be running visiting hours on the date you choose.


Tours and events are available upon request and fee. To enquire, please contact

Visits from the puppies are also available upon request and fee. To enquire, please contact

puppy visit