Puppy Raiser (formerly called a Puppy Walker)
Are you a dog lover? Do you have some spare time? Would you like to make a difference to someone's life? If you've answered yes to these questions, then this role could be perfect for you!
As a Puppy Raiser, you'll provide a puppy with the vital foundation for its future role as a guide dog. You'll be looking after a puppy for 12-16 months and will guide him or her through training, socialisation, the introduction of new environments and experiences whilst providing a loving home.
There might be the odd chewed slipper along the way, but nothing beats the rewarding feeling of loving and raising a puppy who will go on to make an enormous difference to someone living with sight loss.
What you'll be doing
- Engaging with our world-class Puppy Raising for Excellent Partnerships (PREP) training programme to prepare your puppy for the next stages of becoming a guide dog.
- Providing care and support for your puppy at home e.g., loving, grooming and feeding him or her.
- Socialising your puppy and introducing him or her to a variety of environments to increase confidence – this can be as simple as taking your puppy with you to the shops, office or park as you go about your everyday life.
- Teaching your puppy to be comfortable alone - gradually building up from a few minutes to a maximum of four hours.
- Taking your puppy to monthly puppy classes, and interacting with other puppy raisers in your community whilst refreshing your training and sharing tips.
- Meeting with your volunteer manager as frequently as needed to discuss any changes or issues with your puppy.
- Completing short questionnaires about your puppy’s development.
You'll ideally have
- A loving home with enough time to invest in raising a puppy.
- Someone at home who is physically able to handle large breed dogs (around 25-40kg).
- Access to a car, so that you can get your puppy used to travelling.
- The agreement of your landlord to have a dog in the property if you rent your home.
- A safe secure area outside for your puppy to go to the toilet.
Want to know more?
Do you get help and guidance as to what to train the puppy?
You get so much help and guidance, especially when you're just starting with your first puppy. The help, support and friendships that you make are amazing. We have puppy classes, mentors, and coffee mornings where you can find the answers to all your questions. You're never on your own.
How long on average do you look after the puppy?
As a Puppy Raiser, we have the puppy at around seven weeks old and they stay with us until they're 12-16 months. Puppies that are accepted onto the breeding programme tend to leave their Puppy Raisers at 12 months; those who are selected to be potential guide dogs will leave between 12-16 months depending on when the training centres need them.
Start your journey as a Puppy Raiser
If you think you could become a volunteer puppy raiser for Guide Dogs, then the next step is to check if there is an opportunity available near you. You can use the search option below to find all volunteering opportunities near you and if you don't see a puppy raising option - don't worry! We update our opportunities all the time, so make sure you check back in.