As we like to say at Guide Dogs, "It takes a community to raise a puppy!" and we would love for you to join in the fun. Qualified volunteer puppy raisers receive their charges when the pups are approximately 8 weeks old, and return them to our campuses between 13 and 18 months old. Raisers are responsible for teaching the puppies good house manners and basic obedience, and most importantly, socializing them to the world. No prior experience is necessary to become a puppy raiser; we will help you through the process every step of the way. It is a rewarding, emotional experience, and a commitment for which Guide Dogs is extremely grateful. As a puppy raiser, not only will you discover the delight of a four-footed, wet-nosed companion, you will join a community of like-minded people all working toward improving the quality of life for people who are blind.
Puppy raiser requirements:
First and foremost, you need to live in one of these Western states:
Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington or the Dallas/Ft. Worth metropolitan area.
After that, you need to understand and agree to guidelines, which include:
- Joining a local puppy raising club and attend preliminary club meetings. Once you receive your pup, you'll need to continue to attend regularly scheduled club meetings and outings.
- All members of your household must be committed to raising a puppy.
- Providing a safe and secure living environment.
- Keeping your puppy on leash at all times when not in a secure area.
- Providing daily exercise and socialization.
- Using GDB-approved training and management techniques when working with your puppy.
- You need to be willing to travel to meet with Guide Dog representatives for evaluation of your puppy's progress and/or attend training workshops.
If you're interested in being interviewed by a representative in your area, get in touch with us! Please call the Canine Community Programs office at Guide Dogs for the Blind at 800-295-4050, or complete this form to be sent information about puppy raising opportunities.
Guidance and support:
Raisers receive expert local guidance as they train their dogs. Each puppy raising club is directed by one or more club leaders who receive ongoing specialized training and instructional materials from Guide Dogs. Professional Community Field Representatives work closely with those leaders to provide direct communication, guidance and support from GDB's Canine Community Programs Department.
There are regular club meetings where raisers gather to share ideas and information, work on puppy training techniques and participate in socialization outings. And each year on both of our campuses, we host puppy raising Fun Days as a way to thank and honor our puppy raisers' volunteer efforts. Finally, raisers are invited to attend their dogs' graduation ceremonies, and formally present the dogs they raised to their new blind partners.