Puppy love

Image shows guide dog puppy in training, Buddy (German Shepherd cross) lying on the grass, the blue puppy training rucksack next to him.

To give our guide dog puppies the best start in life, they’re homed with volunteer puppy walkers for their first year. Puppy walking plays a crucial role in the development and socialisation of a guide dog puppy, and can help lay the foundations for becoming a guide dog.

We spoke to Puppy Walkers John and Sue about what they love about their role…

So John, why do you and Sue love being puppy walkers?
We love being Puppy Walkers because we get a tremendous sense of pride and achievement in helping to give a puppy a great start towards being someone’s eyes in the future. We feel we are giving something back to our local community and know that we are helping change the life of someone living with sight loss right now!

We love having the young pups around the house, and they become very much like our own children; we want them to do well. We enjoy the social life surrounding having the pup, and get great pride walking them and receiving comments from the public as to the great job we are doing!

What are your favourite things about puppy walking?
New puppy arriving day! It’s so great to welcome a new animal into the household, and it feels a bit like the birth of a new child. We also love getting the positive responses from the puppy after trying with the training task a number of times - you feel you are doing things right; it’s really rewarding.

Of course there’s also playing with the puppy in free time off, and watching them grow into a (nearly) fully grown dog. Best of all is when you hear that they’ve fully qualified as a guide dog and that they’ve been matched with their guide dog owner.

You can change someone's life
Your dog has the power to change someone’s life. Join Dogs Unite’s National Dog Day sponsored dog walk, and the funds that you and your dog raise will help train the next generation of guide dog puppies.

Register for the event