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Guide Dog Puppy Raising

Yellow Labrador puppy

Yellow Labrador puppy-in-training Emily

What Is Guide Dog Puppy Raising?

Guide Dog Puppy Raising (along with Formal & Temporary boarding) is part of our wider Guide Dog program that provides the very first homes for our future Guide Dogs in training.

Volunteer Puppy Raisers welcome a young, 8-week old puppy into their home and foster them for the first 12-18 months of their life.

They work closely with our team of trainers to provide care and core basic training for the pups including:

  • Feeding & grooming
  • Toilet/housetraining
  • Veterinary check ups
  • Basic obedience skills (eg. sit, stay, down, come etc)
  • Exercise and socialisation with other dogs and animals (eg. cats, horses etc)
  • Expose the puppy to a variety of different environments and experiences (eg. into shops, restaurants or on public transport)

During the puppy raising period, Guide Dogs WA provides everything required, including food, equipment, veterinary care and obedience classes.

This helps the puppies grow into healthy, well-behaved and well-socialised dogs and provides a core foundation for the later training stages of the Guide Dog program.

“Being a Puppy Raiser is a lot of fun and brings you into contact with some lovely people. You have the joy of watching and helping a little pup develop into a respected Guide Dog, and the pleasure of knowing that you have helped to make a difference in the life of a person with vision impairment.” – Jan, Puppy Raiser of Bailey.

Heather with puppy-in-training Koha

Heather with Puppy in training Koha

How does Puppy Raising work?

  • Puppies are placed in a home at approximately 8-10 weeks of age and stay until they move on to their formal training at around 16-18 months.
  • Volunteers are expected to attend periodic training and obedience classes with Guide Dogs WA trainers in central Perth.
  • Regular home visits are scheduled with our trainers to check on the puppy’s progress and assist with any queries or concerns.
  • Once a reliable toileting routine has been established, Puppy Raisers are encouraged to take the puppy with them into shops, restaurants and other public buildings.
  • Socialisation of each pup begins in quiet residential areas, working their way up to busier commercial areas, such as the CBD, when the puppy is ready.
  • Our partnership with Cottesloe Animal Hospital means they provide all veterinary consultation, vaccinations and treatments to our dogs.

Our Puppy Raisers are responsible for all aspects of the above, under the guidance and supervision of the Puppy Raising Coordinator and Senior Guide Dog Instructor. Being a Puppy Raiser is a commitment, but it is also very rewarding—and a lot of fun!

“You really build up a strong bond and a connection with each other, and having them with you opens up all sorts of conversations with people you wouldn’t normally talk to. I’m very proud of him and I love being a Puppy Raiser.” – Sarah, Puppy Raiser of Olly.

How to Become A Guide Dog Puppy Raiser

Yellow Labrador smiling

When we select Puppy Raisers, we ask that they meet a number of criteria, so we can ensure that our puppies are well cared for and have the best chance of successfully entering formal Guide Dog training.

Our key eligibility criteria:

  • I am over the age of 18
  • I live within 30 minutes drive of Victoria Park, Perth
  • I have a current driver’s licence
  • I’m prepared to attend at least four training sessions & follow strict guidelines
  • Everyone in the household wants to participate
  • My property is adequately fenced & dog proof
  • I’m prepared to walk the puppy daily & socialise it in busy environments
  • I’m prepared to cope with usual puppy behaviours, eg. digging, chewing or howling
  • I’m aware that the puppy is not housetrained & it will be my job to teach it
  • I have no more than one pet dog already
  • I am able to spend most of my time with the puppy

If you like the sound of puppy raising but aren’t sure you can make that level of commitment, you can also apply to become either a Temporary or Formal Boarder.

Formal Guide Dog Boarders

provide a foster home while the young Guide Dog is in their formal training stage, which lasts for approximately 6 months. You must be in a position to be able to drop the dog to ‘school’ every morning at Guide Dogs WA in Victoria Park and pick them up in the afternoon. You would be expected to care for the puppy during evenings and weekends. This is an option that suits many full-time workers, as there is the potential to co-ordinate these requirements around full-time work hours.

Temporary Guide Dog Boarders

provide a short-term, foster home and training on an adhoc basis, to cover holidays, illness or emergencies.
This includes daily responsibilities of feeding, walking and any health care required. Temporary Boarders are expected to follow all instruction provided by our Puppy Raising Trainers to maintain consistency and structure for the dog.

Requirements for temporary boarders are the same as for Puppy Raising. You may need to negotiate the possibility of taking the dog to work with you as the puppy is not be able to be left alone for more than 1-3 hours at a time.

Apply to become a Guide Dog Puppy Raiser or Dog Boarder

Please complete the form below to submit an application to become a Puppy Raiser or Dog Boarder.

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