To be a successful guide dog the puppies must be confident in a variety of environments. Outings, with the group and individually, teach the puppies to be calm and confident under many different situations:
Transportation - Buses, Trains, Ferries
Meeting the Public - State Fair, YMCA, School, etc...
Guide Dog Functions - Training Days, Fun Days, Meetings, Parties
Interested and want some more information? Contact us or visit GDB's puppy raising site.
Frequently Asked Questions
How old is a puppy when it is placed with a puppy raiser? A puppy is placed in the home of a volunteer raisers when it is at least eight weeks old.
How long does a puppy stay with the puppy raiser? A puppy usually remains in the puppy raiser home until it is between 14 and 18 months old. The length of time may vary, however, depending on the individual puppy's development or Guide Dogs for the Blind's need for dogs.
Do I need dog training experience to be a Guide Dog puppy raiser? No. It is, however, helpful if you have a pet dog, or have had one in the past.
What if the 12-18 months is too long of a commitment? Guide Dogs for the Blind also needs short-term raisers who will keep a puppy until it is at least 20 weeks old. Short-term raisers housebreak and begin training the puppy before it is placed with another raiser who will finish raising the pup.
Are there meetings to attend with the puppy? Yes. Puppy raising groups meet regularly under the direction of a leader trained by Guide Dogs for the Blind. These informational meetings offer a place to learn about training techniques, meet other raisers and participate in excursions with the puppy. We ask that each puppy raising group meet at least twice a month, but leaders are encouraged to meet weekly with raisers who have puppies younger than 20 weeks of age. The meetings generally last 1-2 hours depending on the activities scheduled. Since Guide Dogs places puppies in raiser homes throughout the Western states, the meeting times and places will vary depending on location.
Where does a Guide Dog puppy stay when the raiser is out of town? Raisers in puppy raising groups frequently trade-off and supervise each other's puppies when the raisers are away. In some cases, a puppy can accompany the raiser on an out-of-town trip (with a leader's approval) in order to further the pup's socialization.
Can I have other pets while raising a Guide Dog puppy? Yes. Controlled, supervised interaction between a Guide Dog puppy and other animals is beneficial for the Guide Dog puppy.
Where can a Guide Dog puppy accompany its puppy raiser? A Guide Dog puppy should be exposed to a variety of socialization experiences. Puppy raisers take their pups to malls, grocery stores, school and work, among other places. Many times, the puppy raising group's regularly scheduled meetings will include outings specifically designed for puppy socialization. Leaders also teach the raisers appropriate ways in which to expose the puppies to a wide range of socialization experiences.
Does a Guide Dog puppy require any special foods? Yes. Guide Dogs for the Blind does require that Guide Dog puppies be fed one of several specifically chosen brands of high-quality dry dog food. A Guide Dog puppy should never receive table scraps.
Who pays for a Guide Dog puppy's food and other expenses? Guide Dogs for the Blind supplies leashes, puppy identification jackets, collars and other necessary supplies such as flea and tick medication. Guide Dogs also provides a $250 veterinary care reimbursement. The raiser pays for the puppy's food, toys and incidental equipment such as grooming tools, food bowls and a crate, if needed.
Are the costs of raising a Guide Dog puppy tax deductible? Yes. Guide Dogs for the Blind is a nonprofit charitable organization, and all expenses incurred by the raiser as they relate to raising the puppy (dog food, veterinary bills, gas mileage, etc.) are considered a donation to Guide Dogs. Guide Dogs suggests all puppy raisers consult with a tax advisor to receive the proper IRS requirements for documentation.
What happens to a puppy that does not become a guide? Known as a "career-change" dog, the puppy raiser is given priority to keep the dog as a pet. If the raiser is unable or chooses not to keep the puppy, the Dog Placement Department at Guide Dogs has a long list of applicants eager to offer these dogs loving adoptive homes.
Can I be gone during the day and still raise a Guide Dog puppy? Yes, as long as there are provisions made to relieve and exercise the puppy during the day. Accepting an older puppy that doesn't have as rigorous a relieving schedule could also be a consideration.
Is it time-consuming to raise a Guide Dog puppy? Raising a Guide Dog puppy does involve spending time grooming, socializing and caring for the puppy. Puppy raisers are taught ways in which to work ongoing training into a daily schedule.
Do puppy raisers find it hard to return the puppy to Guide Dogs? Puppy raisers do become very attached to their puppies; however, they are comforted with the knowledge that their dogs will go on to become loving partners for people who are blind or visually impaired. At special graduation ceremonies, all puppy raisers are invited to formally present their dogs as guides, share their puppy raising experiences and develop friendships with their dogs' new partners.