At seven weeks of age, puppies bred at Guide Dogs Victoria are placed for one year with families known as Puppy Raisers. Puppy Raisers are dedicated volunteers who commit themselves to socialise the pup in all aspects of social behaviour. At the end of this period they face the difficult task of returning their much loved pup to Guide Dogs Victoria for assessment and training.
With the support of our highly trained staff, volunteer Puppy Raisers socialise the young pups until they are approx 12-14 months of age. While living with the puppy raising family, the pups will be house trained and learn how to walk correctly on a leash. Puppy Raisers provide the young pups with a wide range of social experiences they are likely to encounter during training and subsequent work as a Guide Dog. Socialisation includes visiting shopping centres, train stations and city centres.
Puppy Raisers wanted
Puppy Raisers make an extraordinary commitment to the pup and its future potential - as they are well conditioned and socialised with every day events and occurrences during this time.
Puppy Raisers must have a positive attitude and a true commitment to this voluntary activity. The criteria for selection as a Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs Victoria is very strict - and includes:
- The pup should not be left alone for more than three hours a day.
- Applicants should have a fully enclosed safe garden and their own transport.
- Any children in the family should be of school age.
- The pup needs to sleep indoors and be house trained.
- The pup needs to be walked daily on a lead without pulling, ignoring distractions such as other animals and scents.
- We prefer puppy raising families to live in Metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong & Ballarat to facilitate supervision and provide assistance as required.
Puppy Raising supervisors make visits every six to eight weeks to assess the pup's development, address any behavioural problems and advise what is now required for the pup's progression.
If you feel you meet the necessary criteria and are committed to helping us provide Guide Dogs for people who are vision impaired, we would be delighted to hear from you. In the first instance, please complete the online form on this page. Alternatively, you can contact Guide Dogs Victoria on 9854 4444 and ask to leave your details on our Puppy Raising Enquiry line.
Your online application or phone message will be reviewed by the Puppy Raising Department within 5-7 business days. Successful applications will receive an information kit and an invitation to an Information Session to learn more about this challenging and rewarding commitment.
If you feel you meet the above criteria, please register your interest in becoming a Puppy Raiser by completing the form below. This should be completed by the intended primary carer to accurately assess your suitability.