Puppy walking frequently asked questions

How long will I have my puppy for?

Your puppy will normally be placed with you between 6 – 8 weeks of age and will leave you for one of our Dog Training Schools when it is ready and mature enough for formal training, usually between 12 – 14 months of age.



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Can I work and puppy walk for Guide Dogs?

Yes, Feeding, training and generally caring for a puppy's needs on a daily basis is time consuming and particularly when very young they cannot be left on their own for extended periods of time. Our general guideline is up to 3 hours maximum in the early days (building up from 20 minutes initially).



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Can I take my puppy to work with me?

Yes you can, providing the work environment is suitable and the necessary provisions are made for the puppy. Your supervisor can advise you on this.



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Can I also get involved with Fundraising?

Yes, we actively encourage and support puppy walkers being involved with fundraising for guide dogs, however, you MUST check with your supervisor before attending any fundraising event as they may not be suitable for young pups and there may be time restrictions to ensure your puppy is not over exposed.



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Will my puppy live with me?

Yes, all guide dogs live with their owners and integrating the puppy into your home will be no different. Ideally, the puppy should have its own bed in a quiet area in your house; your supervisor will be able to advise you on the best location for your puppy to sleep.



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How much will it cost me to have a guide dog puppy?

Guide dogs cover all feeding and veterinary costs whilst the puppy is in your care. We will also pay an optional allowance of 60p per day to off set any costs incurred. We also have working agreements with certain bus and train operating companies which will enable you to take your puppy on training journeys free of charge.



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Can I puppy walk if I have young children?

Yes you can, however, puppy walking does require a huge commitment and time as do young children, balancing the two can be very difficult. Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to walk the puppy but we encourage all families to be involved in some of the puppy’s development.



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Can I have a pet dog and puppy walk?

Yes, however, pet dogs must be of suitable temperament.



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Will I see my puppy once it leaves for formal training?

Yes, you will receive an invite at an appropriate stage in the pups training to come and see your puppy working in harness. This will take place at either the Dog Training School or at the Mobility Team prior to being trained with a client. Please be aware, in certain rare circumstances it may not be appropriate for you to see the dog again for training reasons. When this happens, the trainer will advise you of the reasons why.



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How much does it cost to train a guide dog puppy?

The costs of developing a puppy from placement to formal training vary depending on geographical location etc, however, if a puppy is sponsored for this part of its training, it costs the sponsor a minimum of £5000.



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Are guide dogs allowed to be let off the lead to free run?

Yes, all guide dog owners are taught how to free run their guide dogs safely. During its puppy development stage, the puppy walkers will also be shown how and when to free run their puppy.



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What happens to my puppy if it fails?

Of course this is something we hope will not happen as guide dogs has a very healthy success rate, but should this happen, then we assess the pups suitability for a career change, perhaps to another charity that requires specialist dogs eg Dogs for Good or even the police if the pup is suitable. If this is not an option the puppy is available for rehoming then we may offer the puppy back to the puppy walker if it is thought to be in the puppies best interests. Guide Dogs operates a very robust rehoming system and we have a long list of members of the public who have been interviewed and assessed to give one of our dogs a lovely home, at all times though, the pups best interests are always put first and foremost.



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Will I need to purchase any specific equipment?

Guide dogs will supply all the necessary equipment to enable you to puppy walk, however, you will be asked to provide feed and water bowls and a bed for your puppy. Initially this could be a cardboard box with a blanket as puppies by nature will chew. Guide dogs will also provide ID discs in case your puppy wanders off, but we will ask you to attach an ID disc of your own to help local authorities reunite you with your puppy should this happen.



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Will I be able to contact the guide dog owner who has my puppy?

No, we do not give out personal details of our clients. However, with your permission we will pass on your details and encourage the guide dog owner to make contact with you.



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What happens to my puppy when I go on holiday?

Often puppy walkers holidaying in the UK like to take their puppies with them, this is fine providing you check with your supervisor. If this is not possible then we will find the most suitable boarder, often another puppy walker to look after your puppy whilst you are away.



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What if I am unsure about whether or not I fit the essential criteria or want more information before deciding to puppy walk?

We consider all applications individually and often are able to find solutions to any areas of concern regarding the criteria.  If you wish to speak to a member of staff from your area puppy walking department then inform the staff at the People Resourcing Office and they will be able to provide you with the correct contact numbers.



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Puppy walkers wanted!

To find out if there are puppy walking roles available near you, please call us on 0845 371 7771 or register now to find out more.


black lab pup with toy in water