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Key Components of Puppy Raising

Raising a puppy is a rewarding experience that can be challenging at times. As a puppy raiser you will be responsible for raising a puppy into a Guide Dog. This Guide Dog will be influential in the life of a visually impaired person as their dog will allow them to get around safely and independently.

To help you decide whether the commitment of Puppy Raising is for you, please read through the following assessment questions.

1. Commitment of Time

Raising a puppy will take a significant amount of time and effort. Some key activities you need to ensure you have time for include; 

  • Are you willing to attend Information and Educational Sessions (may be up to four sessions a year) at the Guide Dog Centre, Glossodia?
  • Will you exercise and train the pup daily, including walks, obedience sessions, and general house manners, such as greeting people politely and waiting at the door?
  • Are you prepared to attend regular Training Sessions and outings during weekday business hours?
  • Do you commit to spending a large portion of your day with the pup, making it part of your life and normal routine? Therefore, the pup is not left by itself for any longer than 4 hours per day?
  • Is everyone in the household committed to toilet training the pup and taking responsibility for ensuring the pup is toileted frequently? Initially this entails hourly trips to the designated toileting area.
  • Can you devote adequate time to socialise the pup in a variety of environments, at least 3-5 times a week? Socialisation experiences can be short and sweet (5-15 mins) and can be incorporated into everyday activities such as school pick-ups etc., whereby the pup can encounter various noises, floor surfaces, people, and animals.

2. Safety of You and the Pup

Keeping yourself and your puppy safe is an important part of raising a puppy. Some important aspects to consider involve;

  • Are you able to physically handle a 30-40kg dog on lead?
  • Do you have the physical ability to perform a number of repetitive tasks when attending to the pup (from a small pup to a mature adult)? These tasks may involve lifting, twisting, stretching, bending, kneeling, and squatting.
  • Are you prepared to puppy-proof your property? This includes, but is not limited to;
    • The removal of all rat and snail baits, poisons, safe relocation of chemicals, cleaning products, and medicines, and moving electrical cords and other potential hazards.
    • Remove or block access to any dangerous plants.
    • Ensure fencing is secure around pools and elevated areas to prevent falls.
  • Is your fencing and yard secure, preventing the pup from escaping, and unwanted dogs from gaining access to the pup, especially when entire (not desexed), and during female heat cycles?
  • Do you have suitable outdoor shelter for the pup from weather elements (e.g. sun and rain)? 
  • Are you willing to keep the pup on leash, or in a secure fenced-off area whenever it is outdoors?
  • Is everyone in the household committed to keeping the pup safe? For example, moving out of reach small objects that pose a choking hazard such as children’s toys, and ensuring that gates and doors are shut securely. 
  • Are you prepared to maintain the pup’s health and well-being by following veterinary direction, ensuring preventative medication is delivered in a timely manner, and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT advice adhered to?
  • Can you health check (we will show you how), and groom the pup on a regular basis? 
  • Will you do your utmost to ensure the pup’s safety whilst in your care, both at home and on outings where you may encounter a range of potential hazards such as cars and bikes?

3. Expectations of the Household

As a household, everyone will be responsible for raising a puppy so it is necessary to ensure your household meets the following requirements;

  • Do all members of the household agree with raising a pup and adhering to the guidelines set out by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to ensure consistent handling of the pup?
  • Is anyone allergic to, uncomfortable around, or scared of dogs? Do not forget that during the Puppy Raising period, our small pups grow at a rapid rate to become large dogs!
  • If other pets are present in the household, will they be comfortable with having a pup in the house? Are you willing to ensure that our criteria for house manners are followed, even though different rules may apply for your own pets?
  • It is not recommended to bring an additional pup into the household while caring for our pup, to ensure the focus is primarily on the Guide Dog pup.
  • Is the household prepared to clean up after the pup, including toileting accidents and dog hair?
  • Prior dog experience is not essential – as long as you are happy to learn and follow Guide Dogs NSW/ACT guidelines, your Puppy Development Advisor will help teach and support you through this journey!

4. Focus on the Mission

When raising a puppy, you are supporting our mission to empower people with vision loss to actively participate in their communities. During this process, there are a number of methods and communication tools that need to be adhered to. These include;

  • Are you committed to raising the pup adhering to the methods outlined by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, even if they differ from what you have previously used to raise your own pet dogs?
  • When you raise a Guide Dog pup, you become part of our Puppy Raising Family. Are you willing to be part of a team, working together with your Puppy Development Advisor and fellow Puppy Raising volunteers, treating all members with respect and kindness?
  • Can you communicate with team members in a timely fashion? Email is our primary means of communicating with our Puppy Raisers. Having access to email is preferable, but not essential to you partaking in the Program.  

 If you meet all the requirements and would like to become a Puppy Raiser, you can apply to become one today!