Puppy raisers play a vital role in the development of these future assistance dogs: they spend countless hours caring for, teaching, and socializing the pups. They are responsible for socializing their future guide dog puppy and are encouraged to provide common day-to-day socializing opportunities and exposure to new and diverse surroundings. A well-socialized puppy will have fewer adjustments to make when it comes back to the Foundation for formal training.
The puppy raiser is also required to teach the puppy basic obedience, such as how to walk on a leash, sit and stay, down, and to come when called. They are responsible to take their puppy to basic obedience classes held bi-monthly. The classes allow the puppy to interact with other dogs and gives the puppy raiser the opportunity to speak with other raisers.
When the dog is at the 14- to 18-month age range, it returns to the Foundation so it can move ahead with its formal training and begin its new life-changing career as a guide or service dog for someone with disabilities.
Formal training takes about three to six months, depending on the incoming client it's being matched with. While the dog is in for training, the puppy raiser will receive monthly updates and a photos to show its progression within our program. Once the dog is placed with a handler who is blind or has low vision, the puppy raiser will be invited to attend a Foundation graduation ceremony where they can see the dog they raised and meet the dog’s new handler.
Prospective puppy raisers are interviewed by a Puppy Department staff member. Once accepted, orientation, training manuals, videos, classes, and staff assistance are provided. If you live in one of the areas listed below and want to become a full-time puppy raiser, click the Apply Now link below.How do I become a puppy raiser? Please call 631-930-9060 or apply online: