It was my dream to raise a puppy and Guide Dogs helped and supported me all the way. It has been the gift that keeps on giving.
Making a Guide Dog
It takes almost two years to breed, raise and train just one Guide Dog. Puppy Raisers volunteer during a critical phase of a pup’s development and they play a very important role in helping them to become working Guide Dogs.
You can help me learn!
0 - 8 weeks old
I live in the nursery with my Mum and siblings. Here I start finding my feet and learning more about the world around me.
8 weeks to 18 months old
I’m so excited to go and live in the community with my Puppy Raiser! My new family takes me on lots of outings so I can gain new skills and experiences.
18 to 24 months old
I return to the kennels to start my formal training when I’m about 18 months old. My trainer teaches me everything I need to know to be a Guide Dog!
2 years old
After years of training I’m ready to start the job I was born for. My handler is carefully picked from the clients on our waiting list to make sure we’re the paw-fect match.
I love being a Guide Dog!
What does it take to raise a Guide Dog?
Nurture a puppy to reach its potential, and you will too.
Open your home and heart
Raising a puppy involves caring for a future Guide Dog from around eight weeks of age until he or she returns to us for training at around 18 months old. During your time with your Guide Dog puppy, they will learn basic manners, obedience and other commands.
We’ll be there along the way to offer all the support you need while raising the puppy. We also cover the associated costs including food, some equipment, temporary boarding and healthcare. Puppy Raising is a physically demanding role and will require you to actively look after the puppy including bending and lifting.
As a Puppy Raiser not only do you get to learn a lot about dogs and yourself, you will get to enjoy lots of puppy love and know your effort will make a big difference to someone who is blind or has low vision. All we need is your love and time.
“Raising a Guide Dog puppy is an incredibly rewarding one-of-a-kind experience. All we need from you is your love and time.
When your pup is ready for training
Handing your puppy back can be emotional, but it’s incredibly rewarding to know that the dog you have raised will change someone’s life. You will even have the chance to see your Guide Dog working as it nears the end of its training and attend its graduation event.
Many Puppy Raisers feel so proud of what they’ve achieved and contributed to that they go on to raise more puppies or volunteer in other ways across the organisation.
Being a Puppy Raiser has been very rewarding and I would definitely recommend the experience. I loved watching ‘Jenkins’ grow and learn new things, and the way he improves on his training amazes me.
Who can raise a puppy?
Raising a puppy is a very special commitment that requires an enormous amount of dedication. As a guide to help you decide if it’s right for you, you should be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:
Do you live locally?
Puppy Raisers should reside within an hour of our Breeding and Training Centre in Brisbane. You will need to commute to the centre weekly for classes.
Can you dedicate time for training?
Our puppies need a lot of love and time to grow into calm and confident Guide Dogs. A puppy will need your help to be exposed to busy conditions, public transport, car travel, shops and crowds on a regular basis.
Can you provide a safe home environment?
Puppies need a suitable area inside your home to live and sleep, as well as access to an appropriate outdoor toileting area.
Are you over the age of 18?
A primary adult carer should be responsible for the puppy’s training and care, and will be our main point of contact in the program.
Do you have good fitness levels?
Your puppy will be energetic! You will need the energy to keep up with it and manage its physical, emotional and cognitive demands.
If necessary, do you have written approvals?
If you have a rental property, you may need approval from your estate agent. If you will be taking your puppy to work, we require written permission from your employer.
Can you be flexible in your availability?
You may be asked to participate in events, attend vet appointments onsite or classes on weekdays with your puppy. You will also need to have a license to drive in Queensland and a registered vehicle.
Support for Puppy Raisers
Every Puppy Raiser is partnered with a buddy when they start their journey with their new pup. The role of the buddy is to provide training advice and ongoing support throughout the experience of raising a Guide Dog.
Buddies are trained volunteers who are specifically recruited for their experience raising a number of Guide Dog puppies. Buddies provide peer-to-peer support through insight and collaboration, or just a friendly listening ear when you need somebody to talk to.
Our support network can also help to provide a temporary home for your puppy should you need to go on a short holiday or leave your home briefly for other reasons.
Have you raised a puppy and want to help others do the same? Do you have dog training experience? Register your interest as a volunteer buddy by getting in touch with us.
The application process
Our simple five step application process helps us and you determine whether you’re the paw-fect fit for our Puppy Raiser program.
If you’ve checked the criteria above and think raising a puppy could be for you, click here to register your interest and apply online.
A member of our friendly team will get in touch with you for an initial discussion and to set up a time to meet in person.
In person assessment
You will be invited to an information session and puppy experience at our Training Centre where we can answer all your questions.
Your home will be assessed for suitability. You will also get to join some classes to experience the program before receiving your puppy, to help you make sure it’s definitely for you.
Meet your puppy
When your puppy is ready to leave the Breeding Centre, we will ask you to come and collect it at a placement class, and we will supply you with all the equipment you need. Don’t forget, we’ll be here to support you the whole way!