Many of our puppy raisers initially became involved with Leader Dogs for the Blind because of their love of dogs; most of them continue to raise our puppies because they enjoy making a positive difference in the life of someone who is blind or visually impaired.
Becoming a volunteer puppy raiser is a 12- to 15-month commitment of time, energy and love that opens your home to a Future Leader Dog. Through daily care and training, puppy raisers provide the foundation puppies need to begin guide dog training.
Puppies are constantly learning during their first year of life. During this time, puppy raisers are responsible for housebreaking the puppy and teaching good manners like staying off the furniture, not jumping on counters or visitors and not begging at the table. They also practice basic obedience commands with the puppy such as sit, down, stay, heel and come. To prepare puppies for their lives as guide dogs, puppy raisers socialize them through exposure to many different kinds of people, vehicles, environments and animals.
Puppy raisers are responsible for purchasing food, toys, replacement collars, replacement leashes and veterinary care for the puppy (Leader Dog supplies the initial toys, collar and leash). Puppy raisers who live close to Leader Dog may bring the puppy to our veterinarians at no cost to them. However, raisers using a local veterinarian incur the cost of routine care. Many veterinarians will provide discounted services to Leader Dog puppy raisers.
Safety of the puppies should always be a concern for puppy raisers. Whenever a puppy is outside and not within a completely fenced area, the puppy must be on a leash. There will be times when a puppy is unable to go out with its puppy raiser. During those times, the puppy is to remain crated indoors.
Resources and Support
Puppy raisers receive support from puppy counselors, who arrange monthly events in a variety of settings and provide tips on care, training and manners. For puppy raisers living near Leader Dog, puppy classes are offered at our facility. In addition, we recommend puppy raisers take their puppies to obedience classes, but they should remember that some Leader Dog guidelines differ from lessons taught at local classes and it is the responsibility of the puppy raiser to follow Leader Dog guidelines.
Having raised or owned a puppy in the past is not a requirement to become a puppy raiser. The most important trait of puppy raisers is the dedication to provide daily care to a puppy and consistency in its training. If you decide to open your home to a puppy, you will receive a Puppy Raiser's Manual and instructional DVD to help you prepare for life with your Future Leader Dog as well as contact information for your puppy counselor.
Learn More and Begin Application
The following information provides an overview of puppy raising. To learn more about the lifestyle and responsibilities of puppy raisers, review our frequently asked questions.
There are several steps to completing our application. You will need to complete our puppy raiser profiler and view the puppy raiser job description prior to submitting your application.puppy raiser profiler