Guiding Eyes for the Blind is an internationally accredited nonprofit that provides guide dogs to people with vision loss, as well as service dogs to children with autism.
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Key Components

BECOME A PUPPY RAISER

  1. Commitment of time:
    • Can you devote adequate time to exercise, train, and attend regular puppy classes during the evenings and weekends? Puppy classes are held weekly at first, and then progress to every two weeks.
    • For the first 4 months, can someone get home every three to four hours to feed and let the pup out of the crate to eliminate?
    • Are you able and willing to get up a bit earlier in the morning to train and exercise your pup before work?
    • When you are home, are you willing and able to keep the pup in the same room with you, so that you can monitor its activities and provide teaching lessons and praise for appropriate behavior? You will be asking the pup for politeness in all your daily interactions, including going out the door, exiting the crate, greeting people and other dogs, etc.
    • andreCan you get the pup out for socialization opportunities at least 5 times a week? Making the pup part of your life and normal routine is ideal for older pups, but when the pup is very young you may need to make a special effort to take the pup to appropriate places (e.g. until pups are fully vaccinated they cannot visit areas where other dogs have eliminated; also, pups of any age cannot be left crated in a vehicle unless the temperature is appropriate). Multiple 5 to 15 minute exposure sessions can usually be worked into your errands and activities, by making sure the pup is around various noises, animals, stairs, grates and other flooring surfaces, people, and objects of all kinds.
    • Can you swap puppies with another raiser for a period of one-two weeks? All pups in the program are required to stay at another raiser’s house at least once quarterly unless otherwise instructed by your Region Manager at W&T assessments.
  2. Ability to keep yourself and the pup safe:
    • Can you physically handle a 60-80 pound dog on leash?
    • Are you able to bend down to puppy height?
    • Are you able and willing to remove all rodenticides from your property?
    • Are you willing to keep the pup on leash or in a secure fenced area whenever it is outdoors? Are you willing to stay outside with the dog to supervise its activities?
    • Are all family members willing to accept the responsibility of keeping the pup safe? This includes taking care that doors are securely shut, and making sure that items that could be harmful if chewed or eaten are out of the puppy’s reach?
    • If you raise a female pup, you will likely have her during her heat cycles. Dog panties can be worn to keep your house clean, but you will need to be especially careful for the three weeks of the heat cycle to avoid contact with intact male dogs.
  3. Household unity:
    • Is everyone in the family willing to raise a puppy and utilize the Guiding Eyes training methods and philosophy? Although there will be a primary raiser, all family members will need to understand the basic Guiding Eyes training methods and be consistent in the handling of the puppy.
    • Is anyone allergic to dogs?
    • Are other dogs and cats in the family agreeable to having a new dog in the house?
    • To ensure that the raiser can focus on the Guiding Eyes puppy, any other puppies brought into the household must be at least six months older or younger than the Guiding Eyes puppy.
  4. Focus on the mission:
    • Whether it is your first or 20th puppy, when the pup returns to Guiding Eyes, it leaves an empty space in your heart, but also pride in knowing you have done something very few people can do. You have given a part of yourself to help another person.
    • Are you open and willing to raise the pup using Guiding Eyes techniques? Our methods may be different from those you have used to raise your own dogs.
    • Guiding Eyes believes that raising a puppy is a collaborative effort – much has been put into the puppies by other volunteers before they are even placed with raisers. Successfully raising a puppy requires working together with your region manager, region team and other puppy raising volunteers.  Are you willing and able to work as part of a team including treating all members with mutual respect and kindness and communicating as needed in a timely fashion?
    • Please Note:  in most regions, email is the primary mode of communicating important information. Being able to check and respond to email on a regular basis is key!
  5. Enjoyment of dogs:
    • You don’t need to know how to train a dog, as we will teach you, but do you feel comfortable around larger dogs?
    • Do you mind dog hair, cleaning up after the puppy, lots of sloppy kisses, and the other aspects of having a dog around?