Raise a Puppy
During a puppy outing in Downtown Detroit, Puppy Raiser Carrie Krausmann and Future Leader Dog Lola share a connection that extends beyond the leash.
Many of our puppy raisers initially became involved with Leader Dog because of their love of dogs; most of them continue to raise our puppies because they enjoy making a positive difference in the life of someone who is blind or visually impaired.
The following information provides a brief overview of puppy raising. To learn more about the lifestyle and responsibilities of puppy raisers, see our answers to some frequently asked questions, visit our puppy raiser profiler or see our puppy raiser job descriptions:
If you are interested in raising a puppy, complete our puppy raiser application or call 888-777-5332 for more information.
About puppy raising
Becoming a volunteer puppy raiser is a 12 to 15 month-long commitment of time, energy and love that opens your home to a Future Leader Dog. Through daily care and training, puppy raisers provide the foundation puppies need to begin formal guide dog training.
Puppies are constantly learning during their first year of life. During this time puppy raisers are responsible for housebreaking their puppy and teaching good manners like staying off the furniture, not jumping on counters or visitors, and not begging at the table. They also practice basic obedience commands with their puppy such as sit, down, stay, heel and come. To prepare the puppies for their lives as guide dogs, puppy raisers socialize them through exposure to many different kinds of people, environments and animals.
Puppy raisers are responsible for purchasing food, toys, replacement collars, replacement leashes and veterinary care for their puppy (Leader Dog supplies the initial toys, collar and leash). Puppy raisers who live close to Leader Dog may bring their puppy to our veterinarians at no cost to them; however, raisers using a local veterinarian incur the cost of routine care.
Safety of their puppies should always be a concern for puppy raisers. Whenever a puppy is outside and not within a completely fenced area, the puppy must be on a leash. There will be times when a puppy is unable to go out with its puppy raiser. During those times, the puppy is to remain crated indoors.
Resources and support for puppy raisers
Puppy raisers receive support from puppy counselors who arrange monthly events in a variety of settings and provide tips on care, training and manners. For puppy raisers living near Leader Dog, puppy classes are offered at our facility. In addition, we recommend puppy raisers take their puppies to obedience classes, but it is important to remember that some Leader Dog guidelines differ from lessons taught at local classes.
Having raised or owned a puppy in the past is not a requirement to become a puppy raiser. The most important trait of puppy raisers is the dedication to provide daily care to a puppy and consistency in its training. If you decide to open your home to a puppy, you will receive a Puppy Raising Manual and instructional DVD to help you prepare for life with your Future Leader Dog.