Puppy Raisers care for one puppy from the age of eight weeks until the puppy enters the program at 16 weeks. This period covers an exceptionally critical formative stage for each puppy, requiring a lot of love, attention, patience and time.
Volunteers provide a safe and encouraging home for the puppy and are responsible for “socializing,” toilet training, crate training, exercise and rewarding good behavior. “Socializing” involves taking your puppy everywhere you go throughout your daily routine including work, running errands, out to eat and even on trips.
This real-world experience exposes your puppy to many sights, sounds and situations as well as handling by kind strangers, friends and family members. During this time, puppies develop confidence, coping skills and resilience required for a successful career as a service dog.
Service dogs must be in a relaxed, happy, working state of mind in distracting environments or potentially stressful situations that many pet dogs would rarely be in, or would not be expected to behave well.
To be able to work in these conditions, dogs must be completely comfortable. The more a puppy has positive experiences with new things during the critical socialization period, the more the dog learns that new things, in general, are not scary or dangerous.
All Puppy Raisers will have access to other volunteers, our veterinarian or other staff for support or training issues.
We provide a starter crate, leash, harness, collar, Kong toy and dog food. As the puppy grows, the Puppy Raiser will need to purchase a 36-inch crate.