Volunteer Puppy Raisers

  • Leader Dog puppies are raised by volunteer puppy raisers. Leader Dogs could not be provided without the assistance of volunteer puppy raisers.
  • There are nearly 400 puppy raisers in 22 states and Canada. Puppy raisers travel to Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester Hills, Michigan to pick up and return their puppies.
  • 70% of puppy raisers raise more than one puppy in their lifetime.
  • Puppy raisers receive their puppies at 7 to 8 weeks of age and return them to Leader Dogs for the Blind between 12 and 15 months of age.
  • Puppy raisers teach puppies basic obedience, house manners and good etiquette while exposing the puppies to all types of environments, such as:
    • Churches, stores, amusement parks, sporting events
    • Different types of people
    • Different types of floors and stairs
    • Different sorts of animals, including squirrels, cats, birds, other dogs and farm animals
    • Loud sirens
    • Busy sidewalks and bicycles
    • Some puppy raisers are able to take their puppy to work with them
  • Puppy raisers are responsible for meeting at least monthly with their puppy counselor. Volunteer puppy counselors are regionally placed. Counselors organize obedience lessons and exposure opportunities for the puppies.
  • Puppies that see and experience a large variety of environments during the first year of their lives will be more confident when exposed to future experiences.
  • Raisers provide health care, food and necessary supplies for the puppies.
  • Raisers have the privilege of naming the puppies.
  • Puppy raisers follow very specific guidelines, such as:
    • When puppies are in public wearing their “Future Leader Dog” bandannas or jackets, they are expected to be clean and well mannered
    • Puppies will be taught to stay off furniture
    • Puppies are expected to lay quietly at meal time and not beg
  • Each month, approximately 30 1-year-old puppies are returned to Leader Dogs for the Blind to begin formal training.