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What’s Involved in Puppy Raising?

Puppy Raising is a volunteer program, providing homes for our Guide Dogs in training. Puppy Raisers welcome a puppy into their home and spend the first 16-18 months of their lives introducing them to all the different environments and experiences they may encounter in the future as a working Guide Dog. We look to place our puppies with Puppy Raisers who can provide support to the puppies to grow into healthy, well-behaved and well-socialised dogs that can be trained to become Guide Dogs.Yellow Labrador puppy-in-training Emily

“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.

During the Puppy Raising process, Guide Dogs WA provides everything a Puppy Raiser needs to care for their puppy, including food, equipment, veterinary care and obedience classes. With assistance and training from Guide Dogs WA, the Puppy Raiser takes on the responsibility of caring for the puppy in their home, including feeding, grooming, exercising, housetraining, driving to vet check-ups and teaching simple obedience skills, such as sit, stay, down and come.

Heather with puppy-in-training Koha

Heather with Puppy in training Koha

How does Puppy Raising work?

  • Puppies are placed with their Puppy Raiser at approximately 8-10 weeks of age, until they move on to their formal training at approximately 16-18 months.
  • Our partnership with Cottesloe Animal Hospital means they provide all veterinary consultation, vaccinations and treatments to our Guide Dogs in training.
  • Puppy Raisers and their puppies attend regular obedience classes held at Guide Dogs WA and other nearby locations, depending on the stage of training.
  • Each puppy’s socialisation begins in quiet residential areas, eventually working their way up to busy commercial areas such as the city when the puppy is ready.
  • As soon as the puppy has a reliable toileting routine, our Puppy Raisers are encouraged to take the puppy with them into shops, restaurants and other public buildings.
  • Regular home visits are scheduled to check on the puppy’s progress and assist with any queries or concerns.

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.

Did you know?

  • Guide Dogs in training cannot be left alone for more than 1-3 hours at a time.

Yellow Labrador smilingIf you’d like to apply to become a Puppy Raiser, you can read the Eligibility Criteria and Apply to Become a Puppy Raiser online.

If you like the sound of Puppy Raising but aren’t sure you can commit to having a puppy full-time, you can also apply to become a Temporary Boarder. Temporary Boarders provide care for a Guide Dog in training on a temporary basis when their Puppy Raiser is on holiday or unable to care for the puppy for a short period of time; generally 1-3 weeks. You can read the Eligibility Criteria to see if Temporary Boarding sounds right for you.

Alternatively, you can apply to become a Formal Boarder while the puppy is in their formal training stage. This involves dropping the puppy off to ‘school’ every morning at Guide Dogs WA in Victoria Park, picking them up in the afternoon and caring for the puppy on evenings and weekends. You can read the Eligibility Criteria to see if Formal Boarding sounds right for you.

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