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Two young ladies chatting and laughing. On the left is a volunteer puppy raiser with a black Lab guide dog puppy, and on the right is a GDB client with her black Lab guide dog.

Puppy Raising

Raise a Puppy, Change a Life!

Are you inspired by our mission to help people who are blind or visually impaired gain greater independence? Are you looking for a fun and meaningful service project? Did you watch Pick of the Litter on Disney+ and want to learn more? Whatever your motivation, raising a puppy is a rewarding challenge that can change many lives – including your own!

What is Puppy Raising?

You see a puppy, a person who is blind sees the world! Volunteer puppy raisers receive a pup when they are approximately 8 weeks old, teach them good manners, and provide socialization experiences for about the first year and a half of the pups' lives. The pup is returned to one of our two campuses for formal guidework training when they are 15 months of age or older. Guide Dogs for the Blind will support you throughout the entire process, step by step, to help you reach the important milestones.

A group of six puppy raisers kneeling next to the guide dog puppies that they are raising.

Why it’s fun.

This is a volunteer service project that is both warm and fuzzy! You will receive unconditional love and joy while helping our puppy on its journey to service. You’ll become an ambassador for Guide Dogs for the Blind, as you socialize the pup within your community. And you will be invited to graduation ceremonies if and when the pup graduates as a guide dog, breeder, or K9 buddy!

What it takes.

No prior experience is necessary. Puppy raisers can be any age, whether you’re 9 or 90. Families are great too! Puppy raisers need to be purpose-driven, attentive learners, adaptable in different situations, and know that their effort and hard work will contribute to the puppy's potential. Due to the hands-on, social aspect of our training, there must be a puppy club in your area in order for you to be involved. But mainly, you must love puppies, be able to follow clear guidelines, and enjoy being of service.

A puppy raising community field representative walking with a puppy raiser and guide dog puppy.

Join the club.

All puppy raisers belong to one of our puppy raising clubs, located in 10 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. You will be required to attend club meetings before and during the pup’s time with you. Led by volunteers and overseen by GDB field staff members, the clubs meet regularly to exchange ideas and information, work on training techniques, and participate in socialization outings.

Work with the best.

Becoming a puppy raiser is a serious commitment, and we do everything possible to ensure you and the puppy are a great fit. As the leading guide dog school in North America, we’ll assign you a regional Community Field Representative to ensure your house is puppy ready, make an occasional visit, and provide all the support you and other club members need along the way!

Eager to get started?

Puppy raising interest form

Already raising a puppy?

Puppy raising communities

Still have questions?

Please contact Guide Dogs for the Blind's Puppy Raising Department at [email protected].

Looking to participate in other ways?

You can get involved with your local puppy club in other ways: help onboard new volunteers, participate in puppy sitting, consider co-raising a puppy with a fellow volunteer, or make a donation to Guide Dogs for the Blind.