Puppy Raising


Raise a puppy. Change a life.

Guide dog and service dog puppies are placed with carefully screened foster families and individuals, known as “puppy raisers,” when they are 8 weeks old, learning proper house manners, basic obedience, and providing experiences that will give them confidence in the world during the first year of their life. At any given time, we have 150-200 puppies in homes.

Puppy Raising volunteers are an essential part of our training program at Guide Dogs of America.  Every successful guide dog and service dog team had a Puppy Raiser who gave them plenty of love, taught them basic skills and provided experiences to allow them to feel safe in the world.

An Abundance of Support

Guide Dogs of America provides plenty of support to our puppy raising volunteers, including group cohorts of fellow puppy raisers, structured training with our professional staff, behavioral support, and on-site veterinary care, the entire GDA team is rooting for each puppy’s success.

The Foundation

To ensure proper socialization, puppies-in-training cannot be left alone. Puppy raisers must have permission from their employers to bring the dogs to work, or committed family member who will work with the puppy during the day.  We welcome puppy raisers from all lifestyles whether they are families, couples or singles. Homes can be houses, condos or apartments, and can have well-mannered resident pets as well.

Southern California

Our puppy-raising program is primarily limited to Southern California, with active groups in the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Antelope Valley, Ventura County, West Los Angeles, South Bay, Orange County, San Gabriel Valley, Inland Empire, and San Diego areas. We are also working to develop a puppy program in Southern Oregon.  Click here for regional meeting locations and contact info.


The Benefit

yellow lab, puppy, boy

Raising a guide dog/service dog puppy is a significant commitment, but can also be a rewarding experience. And while sending the grown puppy “off to college” for their formal training can be difficult, many of our puppy raisers choose to take on the challenge again and again.

Basic Requirements Include:

  • Live within driving distance of a regional puppy group
  • Ability to safely manage and control a large-breed puppy/adolescent dog
  • Ability to teach basic obedience and proper house manners
  • Attending monthly training meetings
  • Travel to GDA campus for veterinary care, kennel acclimation and behavior evaluations
  • Cover the cost of food, flea/tick preventatives and one public obedience class
Apply To Be A Puppy Raiser» If you’re outside SOUTHERN California, click here»

Resources

Attend an Upcoming Information Session to Learn More!  Dates can be found on our event calendar here or on our Facebook page here.

The rewards of puppy raising

Lorri gda graduate with guide Carte

The Power of Independence

How a Guide Dog changed Lorri Bernson’s life. Read more »

GDA/TLC Graduates discuss their experiences and journeys with their service dog partners. »