Completing our pre-placement classes and puppy-sitting will give you a glimpse into what is involved in being a puppy raiser. Below is an overview of your responsibilities to us and our responsibilities to you as we raise a puppy together.
There are times when a raiser can’t accomplish every aspect of puppy raising, but could partner with a secondary raiser to share some of the responsibility. Please review our secondary raiser conditions and agreement to see if this may be the right fit for you.
Make the puppy part of your family.
The puppy will live in your home and be a part of your daily activities. If you have an un-neutered dog at home, you will need to raise a pup of the same sex.
Teach good social skills and house manners.
The puppy will need daily instruction and monitoring to learn the basics of being mannerly and attentive to humans. Proper house manners (e.g., staying off furniture and counters, ignoring items that are not dog toys, etc.) are critical because the dog will eventually live with a visually impaired person who will be unable to see what the dog is doing. The techniques we will teach you must be applied consistently, requiring your persistence, patience, and perseverance. You must keep the puppy in the same room with you and constantly monitor the puppy’s activities to provide appropriate instruction and direction.
Attend all classes and Walk and Talk Evaluations.
Classes are usually held weekly at first, then progress to every other week as you and the puppy become more skilled. W&T evaluations are scheduled periodically. Raisers are provided the dates in advance.
Fill out reports.
- C-BARQ – Raisers fill out C-BARQ online when the puppy is 6 months old, and again when the puppy is 12 months old. (The Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire, developed by Dr. James Serpell, Professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, is designed to help define dog temperament.)
- Walk and Talk Evaluations – Raisers optimize their Walk and Talk experience by filling out the online form two weeks prior to their appointment.
- Puppy Sitter form – Each time raisers send the puppy to a sitter, or puppy sit for another Guiding Eyes dog, they fill out the Puppy Sitter Form.
- Raiser Final Evaluation – When the pup comes to Guiding Eyes for its In-For-Training (IFT) test, raisers fill out a final report.
Coordinate all health care with our veterinary staff.
Veterinary care for the pup will occur at a local veterinarian or at the Guiding Eyes veterinary facilities, as appropriate. Preauthorization is always required for non-routine care, except in the case of a life-threatening emergency.
Expose the puppy to a variety of experiences.
One of the most critical contributions you will make is to help a puppy become confident, relaxed, and well-mannered in all settings. Confidence is a major factor in a dog’s success as a guide. In addition, excellent house manners are critical. Raisers expose pups to age-appropriate environments and teach pups to become polite citizens.
Daily socialization experiences should be enjoyable, educational, and appropriate for the pup’s age and personality. Region Teams guide raisers in determining which experiences are appropriate and supportive of the pup’s confidence.
Be prepared to give the puppy up when ready for training.
Puppies are usually ready to come in for guide dog training between 14 and 18 months of age. Guiding Eyes provides transportation to the Guiding Eyes Training Center if you are not able to deliver the puppy.
(Occasionally, raisers find that they are unable to continue their puppy raising commitment due to health, family situations, job changes, etc. In such situations, Guiding Eyes will make arrangements for the pup to go to another raiser to complete the raising process.)
We are committed to supporting you in all areas of your puppy raising experience. We will strive to meet your needs, and we welcome suggestions for program improvement. If you have ideas for improvement, let us know!
The right puppy is chosen for you.
We do our best to get to know you at pre-placement classes, and we use puppy temperament tests to help us match the right pup to your skills and situation.
We provide support throughout your puppy raising experience.
We will teach you the skills you need to raise a guide dog puppy and work with you to help problem-solve if you need extra guidance. Guiding Eyes is constantly evaluating new techniques to improve the puppy raising process and will provide instruction and guidance on how to use these techniques.
We provide all veterinary care.
We will provide you with preventive heartworm medication, all vaccinations, and flea and tick preventative, and will cover all expenses for authorized veterinary care.
We assist in arranging for the puppy’s transportation to and from Guiding Eyes.
Regional van pickups are used for dog deliveries. Raisers are asked to travel to regional meeting points to drop off and pick up their pups. Raisers living within a two-hour drive of Guiding Eyes are asked to provide transportation to and from Guiding Eyes.
You will be notified when it is time for training.
We will notify you approximately one month in advance of the dog’s In-For-Training (IFT) date.
We will provide regular updates when your dog is in training.
We will let you know of the dog’s progress by sending you training reports periodically.
You will be invited to the pup’s graduation.
Guiding Eyes is one of the few schools that provide an opportunity for you to meet the blind recipient of the dog you have raised. You will be invited to a graduation ceremony celebrating the new graduate/guide team and the people who helped to make it possible.
If the dog is placed with a blind person through our Home Training Program your RM can arrange for you to visit the dog in the kennel, based on the dog’s availability, prior to placement. During the home training, instructors encourage a future phone meeting between the graduate and the dog’s puppy raiser. After graduation, we respect the individual preferences of our graduates to either maintain or not maintain contact with their dog’s puppy raiser.
Either way, you can contact your Regional Manager for an update on how the dog you raised is doing.
For details about placement of retired guide dogs, please see policies for retired dogs.