Puppy Raising

Our PAWsome community of Puppy Raisers support our pups in their initial stages of training

Puppy Raising is an essential foundation for a pup’s future success as a Guide or Assistance Dog. This full-time volunteer role involves a pup living in your home from 9 weeks up to 14 months old.

Your role will be to help them with their first steps of training, so they are well-mannered and socialised.

Experience with obedience training dogs would be an advantage. However, a designated Puppy Raising Supervisor will provide you with the training and support necessary to educate your puppy.

On-going support and training are provided with veterinary fees and food covered by IGDB.

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.

Find out what is involved in puppy raising by following the journey of Pup Keano and his Puppy Raiser Clare. Click here.

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

What’s involved?

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 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?


(No more than 2 hours from our headquarters on Model Farm Road, Cork): 

  • Cork

  • Clare

  • Kerry

  • Limerick

  • Tipperary

  • Waterford


  • Dublin

  • Kildare (Maynooth, Naas, Sallins, Newbridge, Leixlip)

  • Wicklow (Blessington, Bray, Delgany, Greystones)

  • Meath (Ratoath and Dunboyne)

  • Wexford (within 1.5hrs of New Ross)

  • Westmeath (Athlone, Mullingar)

  • Offaly (Tullamore)


  • Galway (Oranmore, Tuam, Athenry, Gort, Loughrea, Ballinasloe, Craughwell)


  • Donegal

  • Letterkenny

How do we support our Puppy Raisers?

We provide training in public environments 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 to support and 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 crate, leads etc. etc. and when you go on holidays we’ll find a volunteer Temporary Boarder for your pup.

What are the requirements?
  • There should be no more than two dogs in the home. All dogs should be over 12 months old, neutered/spayed, up to date on all vaccinations, and well-behaved around other dogs.

  • The puppy must not be left alone for more than four hours.

  • You have a fully enclosed garden with walls or fences minimum 5ft high.

  • Puppy will live inside, day and night.

  • 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.

What is the application process?

Complete the online application form below and attend one of our scheduled webinars. These webinars provide detailed information about this volunteer role. Your application will be reviewed, and we will then invite you to a short 20-minute phone call to get to know you better. We then provide you with e-learning material to complete. The final stage is getting your home approved and this is done by means of a virtual home visit. Once your home has been approved and you sign the agreements, we then place you on the waitlist for your puppy.

Upcoming FREE Information Webinar
  • Wednesday 1 May at 7pm

  • Wednesday 15 May at 7pm

  • Wednesday 19 June at 7pm

  • Wednesday 26 June at 7pm

To register, please email

"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

Before proceeding with your online application, please read our eligibility criteria here. 

Our PAWsome community of Puppy Raisers are a critical part of the initial stages of Training for pups.

Have any questions? Contact us today at: 0818 506300 or email:

Do you have an enclosed garden?*

By submitting this form, your information will be shared with us in line with our privacy policy

Luke & Kain

Luke is still non-verbal but when I see him smiling down at Kain it shows me he doesn’t need words to express how happy he is.

Kim & Jango

Meeting Jango was one of the best moments of my life. He’s a beautiful big cuddly dog with the personality to match. From the moment I met him I knew we were going to be best buddies.

Shauna & Esme

When I needed a hand, I found a paw.

Conor & Quelda

When Conor is with Quelda he smiles and is comfortable being out and about which is such an amazing gift – we never leave home without her. She has changed all of our lives.

Aran & Buttons

Being a Guide Dog Owner is such a privilege and positive experience. Buttons has enhanced my life in so many ways and I will always be grateful for that.

Get in touch with us

Get in touch with us to find out more information.

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