Our PAWsome community of Puppy Raisers support our pups in their initial stages of training
Want to learn more about Puppy Raising?
Join our webinar on Thursday, September 29th.
Email Erin@GuideDogs.ie to sign up to a webinar.
Puppy Raisers foster one of our puppies from age 8 weeks until approximately 12-14 months.
At eight weeks old our puppies begin their journey to becoming a Guide Dog for a person who is vision impaired, or an Assistance Dog for a family of a child with autism. This journey starts in the homes of our Puppy Raising Volunteers.
The puppy will live with your family in your home. Under the direction of our Puppy Raising Supervisors, puppies learn basic rules and obedience. At approximately 14 months they move into our National Training Centre with our highly skilled trainers and the hard work towards graduating as a Guide or Assistance Dog begins.
What are the benefits of being a Puppy Raiser?
The challenge and reward of seeing a puppy develop in your home.
The satisfaction that you have had a pivotal role in providing Guide and Assistance Dogs that enable people with a vision impairment or families of a child with autism to enjoy the same freedom and independence as everyone else.
The opportunity to learn new dog training skills from our Puppy Raising Supervisors.
"I know I have benefited from the diligence of the Puppy Raisers that instilled such excellent social skills that gave Hattie the expertise to be the excellent Guide Dog that she is and I will be eternally grateful to them." - Guide Dog Owner Betty
This is a full-time volunteering role. Living in a Volunteer’s home is crucial to the development of the puppy. Experience with obedience training dogs would be an advantage.
You will have a designated a Puppy Raising Supervisor who will provide you with the training and support necessary to educate your puppy. Your goal is to raise your puppy to become well-mannered and socialised. The training you give your puppy is an essential foundation for their future success.
Where does the Puppy Raising Programme operate?
(must be no more than 2 hours from our headquarters on Model Farm Road, Cork):
Kildare (Maynooth, Naas, Sallins, Newbridge, Leixlip only)
Wicklow (Blessington, Bray, Delgany, Greystones only)
Meath (Ratoath and Dunboyne only)
How do we support our Puppy Raisers?
We provide training at home and online for Puppy Raisers to aid their knowledge and assist them with dog handling skills.
Our Puppy Raising Supervisors work closely with each Puppy Raiser, keeping in regular contact and visiting to monitor the puppy’s progress – all to enable our volunteer Puppy Raiser to successfully socialise their puppy.
All veterinary fees and feeding costs are covered by Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. You will receive a create, leads etc. etc. and when you go on holidays we’ll find a nice home for your pup.
What are the requirements?
Up to 2 dogs in the home is fine once they are sociable and neutered.
The puppy must not be left alone for more than four hours.
You must have access to a secured outdoor area.
Children in the home must be over five years of age.
You must be 18 years or older, but the whole family can get involved.
What kind of people make ideal Puppy Raisers?
Retired people and families with children generally make good Puppy Raisers, but anyone can apply, and having pets doesn’t necessarily exclude people. The important thing is that the person is able to spend time caring for and teaching the puppy.
"You meet so many people through the organisation and walking with the dog. You have the fun and joy of a puppy in the house, but you know when you say goodbye that someone who needs a dog will be so happy to get them. It really gives your life purpose.” Zita O’Brien, Puppy Raiser