Anyone who is over 9 years of age can puppy raise; it can be a solo venture or a family affair. No previous experience is required, our club leaders and fellow members will teach you all you need to know.
Future Guide Dogs are whelped on campus and ready to go into a puppy raiser homes at 8 weeks of age. Typically a puppy raiser houses, cares for and trains a puppy until it is about 16 months old; at which time it returns to one of the Guide Dog campuses for formal training.
Puppy raisers are responsible for teaching the puppy basic manners, good house behavior, and exposing them to a variety of environments to build their confidence so they can return to formal training ready to learn guide work skills.
While most puppy raisers commit to raising a puppy for the entire time, there are many variations. Some people choose to "start" puppies or raise them only from 8 weeks until about 5 months of age. While others only "finish" puppies, meaning they raise them from 5 months or beyond. If having a puppy in your home full time is too much of a commitment co-raising is always an option. This is where multiple raisers share a puppy; you decide the schedule but often times week on, week off.
To get started puppy raising in our club you must attend a number of meetings, go to a Guide Dog graduation in San Rafael, have a home visit from one of our leaders, and complete a minimum of two puppy sits.
Active puppy raisers are required to attend every meeting and outing until pups are 5 months old, and at least 2 meetings or events per month after that.