A Guide Dog puppy requires anywhere from 12 to 18 months of development in a raiser’s home before it is ready to return to Guide Dogs for its formal guidework training. A puppy raiser is responsible for teaching a Guide Dog pup good behavior both at home and in public, and what to expect and accept in this busy world. The initial socialization, basic obedience, praise and attention that a dog receives in its puppy raising home prepare a pup for the diverse situations it will encounter as a guide.
The Waco/Robinson Club is part of Lone Star Puppy Raisers, which is the over-arching name for all puppy clubs in Texas. Our club meets locally and provides training and support for all of our raisers and volunteers. Our goal is to develop an energetic and curious pup into a mature, dependable dog that has the following characteristics:
- Good house manners. The puppy is well-behaved and will not relieve in the house, is quiet and calm, eats only his own food and is not destructive.
- Socialized to the world. The puppy has been exposed to a wide variety of people, things and places and accepts new situations in a calm and thoughtful manner.
- Well-traveled. The puppy is relaxed and comfortable when traveling in all modes of transportation.
- People-friendly. The puppy bonds well with people, enjoys receiving verbal praise and is eager to please.
- Animal-friendly. The puppy is calm and appropriate around all sorts of animals.
- Responsive. The puppy obeys basic commands and is cooperative during various training exercises.
The Puppy Raising Commitment
Local representatives interview potential puppy raisers in their homes. Potential raisers submit completed applications for approval and attend preliminary club meetings and training sessions. In addition:
- All members of the household must be committed to raising a puppy.
- Raisers can be adults or youth, 11 years and older with parental participation and supervision
- Raisers must provide a safe and secure living environment. Young puppies need to be supervised throughout the day. All puppies must be on leash when not in a secure area.
- There must be a compatible relationship with other pets in the home.
- Puppies must sleep indoors
- Raisers must provide daily exercise and socialization for the puppies
- Raisers and puppies are required to attend regularly scheduled club meetings and outings
- Raisers are responsible for some expenses, including food and incidental expenses.
- Raisers must use only Guide Dog approved training and management techniques
- Raisers must be positive representatives of Guide Dogs for the Blind within their communities
- Raisers are required to release the puppy back to Guide Dogs for the Blind at GDB’s request
Although there is a lot of work involved in raising a Guide Dog puppy, the rewards are very great. By raising a Guide Dog puppy, you have the ability to make a difference in the life of someone who is visually impaired.