Volunteer Puppy Raiser
WE NEED VOLUNTEER PUPPY RAISERS! Volunteer Puppy Raisers are critical to our producing the free Service Dogs, including hearing alert dogs, we provide to people with physical disabilities other than blindness.
We adopt mixed breed lab, golden retriever, and shepherd mix puppies from rescue organizations. Our volunteer puppy raisers are taught how to socialize the puppies to new situations and people, train the puppies, and nurture the puppies to build trusting, loving dogs.
Raising a service dog puppy is a lot more work than raising a pet dog puppy. You will need to be committed to spending at least an hour/day caring for and training your puppy. You are helping to creating a superb dog that will change their recipient's life. This volunteer opportunity is for those who truly love dogs, want to make an impact, and support a great cause. The first 6 months you have the puppy are the most time and effort. You're forming a close bond with the puppy, house training it, attending the weekly classes under the direction of our Trainers, teaching your puppy obedience and beginning Service Dog Skills, and socializing it. It takes someone who really LOVES dogs, wants to learn more about dogs, is a hard worker, and is dedicated to helping others. It takes someone who is physically able to exercise a boundless energy puppy (walk 1 mile a day by 6 months of age, and run the puppy daily 5-10 minutes as well in a safe place.) This volunteer opportunity is intensive learning and spending time with a GREAT puppy.
We organize our volunteer puppy raisers into classes, generally 3-4 raisers a class, so the puppies learn to work under distraction. Classes are scheduled after polling the class members for what works with their schedules.
Volunteer puppy raisers will be taught how to train their puppies to achieve a high level of obedience and beginning service dog commands.
Classes, led by our Trainers, are held once a week the first 6 months you have the puppy. After that, classes are held once a month, but you are expected to continue training the puppy daily, and socializing the puppy weekly.
The puppies begin Formal Training at about 16 months of age, when their training will be taken over by our Trainers. They'll be taught the specific tasks they'll use to help the recipient they've been matched to, such as retrieving dropped items, assisting with dressing, turning lights on and off, opening and closing drawers and doors, etc. You'll be expected to continue caring for the puppy until it is placed with the recipient at 22-24 months of age, and to maintain its obedience skills (15 minutes daily) as well as exercising the puppy, and socializing it some (under direction from our trainers).
Not every puppy will graduate, since it's asking a LOT of a dog to become a service dog. If you want to keep your puppy if it's released from our program, and you've been raising it more than 6 months, it's free. If it's been less than 6 months, the adoption fee is $550. If you don't want to keep the puppy after it's been released, we'll carefully adopt it out.
There is more information about this on our website, putnamservicedogs.org, a blog article on being a puppy raiser for us, and the application (under applications on the Home Page).
Or, you may express interest below.