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!
What is a Puppy Raiser?
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.
Apply to be a Puppy Raiser now
Find out below if we have Puppy Raiser roles available in your area and apply today. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the volunteering office on 0345 1430191.
We are delighted you are considering becoming a Puppy Raiser and joining the Guide Dogs family! At this moment, we are receiving an influx in applications, so it might take a little longer than usual to start your volunteering journey. However, please rest assured we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
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.
If you’re looking for opportunities that involve dog walking, take a look at our Dog Exerciser role.
You'll ideally have
- A loving home with enough time to invest in raising a puppy and attending to their needs (e.g. toilet training). If you work from home or have hobbies, you'll need to be available to give the puppy regular attention alongside these.
- 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.
What you'll get
- The satisfaction of knowing you're supporting people with sight loss to live actively, independently, and well.
- The rewarding feeling of watching a mischievous puppy learn new training techniques to help them develop into a guide dog.
- The opportunity to participate in our bespoke world-class training programme – this can help you train your own dogs or advance a future career in dog handling.
- The opportunity to have a loveable, canine companion, proven to reduce feelings of stress and improve fitness – you’ll be out walking rain or shine!
- The chance to be part of the inspirational Guide Dogs Family, meeting like-minded people and interacting with a community of puppy raisers in your area.
- A dedicated volunteer manager and fellow peers who will help support you throughout your role.
Puppy training classes and regular support
As a volunteer you'll have access to our world-class training programme, Puppy Raising for Excellent Partnerships (PREP), to implement with your puppy in training, a great bonus for any dog owner! This is delivered in an interactive and engaging manner, using a mixture of different learning techniques virtually e.g., videos, documents and e-learning modules. Examples of the modules you'll have access to include:
- Food manners
- Greeting new visitors
- Being home alone
- Settling in new environments
You'll receive plenty of support from your volunteer manager who will help you work through these training modules with your puppy. We also offer puppy classes for puppy raisers in the local area to get together, share stories and provide refreshers on training techniques.
Volunteering for Guide Dogs should never leave you out of pocket. We’ll make sure we pay any expenses related to volunteering with us, including veterinary costs, food costs for the puppy and other materials needed for the puppy’s training.
If you have questions about the training requirements, we'll be very happy to answer these at your interview along with addressing any other support or accessibility needs you may have.
What we need from you
We ask that volunteers for this role are aged 18 or over.