At seven weeks of age, our Guide Dog pups are placed in the community with volunteer Puppy Raisers. These families or individuals ensure that our new recruits get the best possible care, in a loving home environment whilst receiving appropriate training.
These special, dedicated Raisers have one thing in common – they embrace the opportunity to help change people's lives forever. Raising and training a puppy is an amazing experience that will be very rewarding for the whole family.
Your guide to the Puppy Raising Program:
- Who makes a good Puppy Raiser?
- What is required?
- Will I get support from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT?
- Can I do Temporary Care?
- How do I become a Puppy Raiser or Temporary Carer?
- What happens after I apply?
A good Puppy Raiser is someone who is caring, patient, and responsible.
Before you fill out our Puppy Raiser Application, please take some time to read through the information in this section of the website which involves the key components of puppy raising, responsibilities and policies.
If you have any questions or are unsure about something, feel free to give us a call on 02 4579 7555 and we would love to help you understand if you would like to raise a puppy.
To further help you decide whether Puppy Raising is for you, please read through the Key Components of Puppy Raising.
Puppy Raising is a 12 month commitment in which Raisers are responsible for:
- Making the pup part of their family and keeping them safe. Allow the pup to interact with household members, and become your shadow for the next 12 months.
- Attending weekly training sessions in your area
- Teaching the pup dog skills (such as sit, drop, stay), body handling, walking nicely on a lead, good manners, and providing regular socialisation experiences.
- Establishing good toileting, feeding, sleeping, and walking routines.
Please read through Puppy Raiser / Temporary Carer Responsibilities for more detail.
While these activities are important, the dogs are first and foremost puppies – so plenty of love and tummy scratches are also required!
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT provides most of the equipment needed to make your pup feel at home. Items include collars, leash, grooming equipment, and a food bowl. We also cover all food, preventative medicine, and veterinary costs.
We also provide ongoing support and advice through our Education Sessions, our online Resource Centre “Puppy Central”, and through regular Training Sessions. Training Sessions are generally held on a weekly basis until the pup is 4 months of age, and then fortnightly thereafter. Regular visits allow our Puppy Development Team to monitor the pup's development, and address any concerns promptly to ensure that the Guide Dog Puppy journey is enjoyable for everyone involved.
Puppy Raising is a rewarding experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. Not only will you be giving a gorgeous pup a loving home, you will also be helping to train a potential future Guide Dog, one that will change a person’s life forever.
Before applying to become a Puppy Raiser, please make sure you fit our criteria including that you need to:
- Live in the Sydney, Hunter, South Coast, Southern Highlands or Canberra/Queanbeyan area – this is to ensure that your pup can attend regular Training Sessions with the Puppy Development Team
- Be home for most of the day; your pup must not be left alone for more than four hours at a time without supervision and human company
- Walk your pup each day
- Allow your pup to sleep and spend time indoors.
- Have a yard with dog-proof fencing unless in a unit
- Have access to a car to transport your pup.
- Be available to attend Training Sessions
- Please note that having your own pet dog does not exclude you from being a part of our Puppy Raising, or Temporary Care Program. As long as your pet is “dog-friendly”, and you meet our other criteria, we are happy to place a pup with you!
If for some reason you do not fit these criteria, there are many other ways in which you can help. You could become a Puppy Sponsor or a Volunteer in your area.You could become a Puppy Sponsor where you can follow the journey of a puppy and donate to help them become life-changing Guide Dogs. You can also Volunteer for us which can range from assisting at our Guide Dogs Centre, selling merchandise or administration duties.
If you cannot commit to the full twelve months required as a Puppy Raiser, we totally understand. You can still help us by registering as a Temporary Carer. These Carers are on-hand to provide a loving home for when our Puppy Raisers go on holidays, or if they cannot look after their pup for a short period of time.
Once your Puppy Raising or Temporary Care Application has been received and approved, you will be contacted by someone from our Puppy Development Team for an information session appointment at your home.
Raise a puppy with us!
Raising a puppy is a very important part of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. You are responsible for training them for a 12 month period so they can one day be the best possible Guide Dogs. All of our puppy raisers play a special role in assisting us to help people with vision loss and allow them to actively participate in their community.