Sponsor a Puppy FAQs
Simply visit Sponsor a Puppy and choose one or more of the guide dog puppies available to sponsor and complete your details online! You will then get to watch them grow from a six-week-old bundle of fur to a fully-qualified guide dog. It's a great way to support Guide Dogs, and every puppy's journey is unique.
You can also sponsor a guide dog puppy as a gift for someone special. Simply fill in the online form on the Sponsor a Puppy page and select the ‘as a gift’ option. Both you and the recipient will receive a welcome pack initially, after which the recipient will receive regular ‘Pupdates’ about their guide dog puppy’s progress!
We want to make your guide dog puppy sponsorship a worthwhile experience. We'll send you regular photos and updates, which we call Pupdates, on how your guide dog puppy is progressing. Your Pupdates will be sent to you through the post and via email. You’ll also receive regular emails and be able to join your puppy’s exclusive Facebook group to see more photos from your pup’s puppy walker and trainer. Alternatively, you can opt for a paperless journey and only receive ePupdates by calling our helpful Supporter Care team on freephone 0800 953 0113.
You will receive six Pupdates about your guide dog puppy in total - one every four months, usually in February, June and October – together with a photo showing how your guide dog puppy has grown.
Plus, when you join, you'll also receive a special photo card of your guide dog puppy, a photo album, a fridge magnet and a certificate in your name as well as an exclusive calendar every year.
Your sponsorship contribution will help provide independence and freedom for people who are blind or partially sighted. Right now, we'll put your money to use where it is needed most – from paying for puppy food through to funding dog training and covering veterinary bills. You can be certain that it'll make a big difference and be very gratefully received. We rely on donations to continue our life-changing work. Every pound raised makes a difference to people in the UK living with sight loss.
Around 24 months. You will follow your puppy’s journey from their puppy walker’s home to Guide Dogs training school, with a final Pupdate introducing you to your dog’s new owner!
However, the good news is that the story doesn't need to stop there! That's because in your final Pupdate, we will introduce you to another puppy and give you the option to continue following a journey with this new pup.
When your sponsorship comes to an end, with your final Pupdate we will introduce you to another puppy and give you the option to continue following a journey with this new pup. If you sponsor by Direct Debit your monthly payments will continue on a rolling basis, and you won’t need to contact us in order to sponsor your new puppy. If you sponsored with a one-off payment, we will ask you if you would like to sponsor your new puppy with an additional payment.
It costs a great deal of money to train a guide dog puppy, so we wouldn't expect you to fund the total cost by yourself. That's why we operate a co-sponsorship scheme, giving you and other people the opportunity to fund this guide dog puppy's training as well as further areas of our vital work. It's a bit like the puppy having an extended family!
Unfortunately, no. It's important that each sponsored guide dog puppy concentrates fully on its training with minimal distractions so that it can fulfil its ambition to be a life changer. However, please remember that you'll be kept in touch every step of the way with some great photos and fascinating Pupdates.
The lifetime cost of a guide dog, from birth to retirement, is around £55,000. This covers the breeding and the training for the first two years - from birth to graduation - as well as supporting the working partnership.
The easiest way to pay for your sponsorship is by Direct Debit, or you can choose a one-off payment if you prefer. You can set up your sponsorship online by visiting the Sponsor a Puppy page.
If you choose to donate through Direct Debit, your donations will be taken on a monthly basis. When your puppy is happily matched and settled in with his or her guide dog owner, we will introduce you to a new puppy whose journey you will be able to follow. You can, of course, cancel your sponsorship at any time by emailing us at email@example.com or by calling freephone 0800 953 0113 to let us know.
We understand that circumstances can change and that you may not be able to or wish to continue sponsoring a puppy with us. So, you can of course cancel your sponsorship at any time by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling freephone 0800 953 0113 to let us know.
If you would like to update your address or contact preferences please contact our Supporter Care team at email@example.com or call us on freephone 0800 953 0113. The team are available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and are always happy to help with any queries!
Please be aware that once we have amended your record it can take up to six weeks for mail and 30 days for phone and email changes to take full effect.
Yes! If you are living outside the UK but have a UK bank account then we are able to set up a Direct Debit. If you do not have a UK bank account then you can sign up with a one-off payment for your sponsorship over the phone by selecting option 1 (enquiry regarding sponsoring a puppy) then option 2 (discuss an existing sponsorship) when you dial in on +44 (0)800 953 0113.
You can make your gifts go further, at no cost to you, through the Gift Aid scheme.
As long as you are a UK taxpayer, Guide Dogs can reclaim 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate.
For us to reclaim the tax, you must be a UK taxpayer and have paid enough income or capital gains tax in the financial year to cover the amount we’ll reclaim. If you’re retired or don’t work, you are likely to pay some form of tax on your savings or pension, so you may still be eligible. A declaration can cover the last four years’ donations and any future donations, until further notice.
- Your tiny puppy begins its life living with its mum and siblings in a Guide Dogs volunteer’s home. As well as playing, exploring and napping, the puppy will go to our state of the art breeding centre at six weeks old for health checks and immunisations.
- At seven weeks old your puppy will move into its Puppy Walker’s home. During these crucial months, they will start puppy training, learning good manners and basic commands, such as ‘sit’ and ‘down’ – as well as how to walk on the lead.
- Your puppy will live with their Puppy Walker until the age of around one year old. They will get used to the area they live in and will learn how to negotiate flights of stairs, busy shopping areas and various means of transport. They will also get used to being around people and other dogs.
- The next step for your pup is Guide Dog training school! A professional guide dog trainer will introduce your puppy to a special brown training harness. It’s also time to start learning guiding skills such as dealing with kerbs and avoiding obstacles.
- As your puppy reaches the end of their training, a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will start to pull all their training together, so that they learn to use guiding skills in everyday situations. They will also start the matching process, finding a person with sight loss whose personality and lifestyle is just right for your puppy.
- Your puppy is now a qualified guide dog! He or she will now be matched with a person with sight loss so they can get to know each other and start their partnership training.
- After partnership training is complete your puppy will begin changing the life of a person who is blind or partially sighted, forever! They will settle into their new home and practise their regular routes. A Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will keep visiting them to check how the partnership is going. Most puppies will be partnered with their owner for approximately six to eight years before retiring.
Training to become a guide dog is very hard work, so it's perfectly natural for some dogs not to meet our high standards. We take the decision to withdraw a dog from training very seriously as we must keep the welfare and safety of people with sight loss and the dogs we train at the heart of everything we do. However, our success rate is one of the highest in the world, with seven out of ten of our puppies going on to be life-changers – either as working guide dogs, or for the very best, as mums and dads to the guide dogs of the future.
If your puppy doesn't graduate, and isn't suitable to become a working dog for another charity or organisation, it will be rehomed with a loving family. Your sponsorship will then move onto another puppy at a similar stage so that you can continue to finish the journey.
No. When out of harness, your guide dog puppy will behave like a regular pet dog. After approximately six to eight years he or she will then be retired to a loving new home or stay with their guide dog owner as a pet.
No. We do use Labradors for many of our guide dogs but we also use golden retrievers and German shepherds - with our most successful breed being a Labrador cross golden retriever. We also have a few curly coated retriever and standard poodle crosses on the programme too.
As you can imagine, we've worked with a great many puppies over the years. To avoid confusion, we generally name guide dog puppies alphabetically according to litter, e.g. puppies from the first litter of the year are given names starting with the letter 'A' such as Aaron, Alvin, Amy, Annie etc.
Yes. If you make a donation or raise (with your friends and family) £5,000 or more you can give one of our guide dog puppies a name. Please call freephone 0800 953 0113 for further information or visit our Name a Puppy page.
Puppy Facebook groups are open to the puppy’s sponsors, puppy sponsorship gift recipients and supporters who purchased the puppy sponsorship as a gift for someone else. They are not open to sponsorships set up by or on behalf of organisations, societies or groups.