Puppy raisers are people of all ages teaching a puppy how to become a disciplined dog. These dogs become guide dogs for blind people who need help getting around to complete their activities. You want to be part of the puppy's training from the beginning until the day the dog is fully grown. Learn how to train your puppy to help a person in need as a guide dog.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Puppy raiser application
- Dog-friendly home
- Training and vet fees
Find a guide dog and service school in your area. Go to the Puppy Place and click on "Schools" at the top right part of the homepage for a list of guide schools in your area. The Eye Dog Foundation and Susquehanna Service Dogs are two examples of guide dog schools that specialize in puppy raising.
Fill out an online application to become a puppy raiser. Include all your contact information and describe your current living arrangement so that the schools can make sure your home is suitable to train a puppy. Also detail any experience you have training dogs or other pets. If possible, include a reference from a friend or family member to verify your puppy training capabilities.
Choose your puppy from any of the school's available puppies. The most common breeds of guide dogs are Golden and German Shepherd Dogs and Labrador Retrievers. Pick a dog you feel comfortable training and taking care of. If you change your mind, you can always return the puppy to the school and get another one.
Attend a puppy training class once you select a puppy. Depending on the school, the class can be just a one-day, four-hour class or take months to complete. Turn your home into a puppy-friendly environment by including some favorite dog toys and other animals for the puppy to play with. Having other animals, especially dogs and cats, around teaches your puppy early how to play with others.
Be a responsible trainer by taking your puppy to the required number of obedience and training classes each month, usually two or three classes a month. Pay the $50 training fee and the $200 vet costs. Other than that, your puppy is yours to train as you like.
Tips and warnings
- Decide at the end of your training period when the puppy reaches 14 months old whether you want to give your puppy back to the guide school. If you want to keep your puppy, you pay the guide school an $800 donation to get the dog's shots or any other veterinary needs. Once you pay the money, take your puppy home and care for it like you did before.
- Realize that not every dog is meant to be a guide dog. These dogs are considered "career change" dogs and can be used in other types of work such as bomb or drug detection, arson investigation and other security work. Schools and families prefer adopt these dogs because they're already been trained.
- Don't become discouraged if there aren't any formal puppy raising programs in your area. You can choose a puppy from the local pound or a pet store to raise yourself. Train your puppy yourself and attend obedience classes to create a set of rules with your puppy.
- Don't assume that all puppies that get placed in homes are within the normal eight to 12 weeks of age. Sometimes there are circumstances that cause a puppy to be sent to a different home. Ignore the puppy's age and train the dog like it's an eight-week-old puppy.
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