Puppy Raising

Nurturing puppies as they grow into Guide Dogs.
A six week old yellow labrador puppy walking through some shallow water.

About our Puppy Raisers

Introduction to Puppy Raising.

At eight weeks of age, our Guide Dog pups are placed in the community with volunteer Puppy Raisers. These families or individuals ensure that our new puppy recruits get the best possible care, in a loving home environment while receiving necessary training.

These special, dedicated Puppy Raisers all have one thing in common – they embrace the opportunity to help change people’s lives forever.

Raising and training a puppy is an amazing experience that is incredibly rewarding for the whole family.

An eight week old black labrador puppy looking at the camera whilst its front paws are perched on a ledge. The puppy is outside and a person is supporting the puppy.

What is involved in being a Puppy Raiser?

Be part of an incredibly rewarding experience.

A good Puppy Raiser is someone who is caring, patient, and responsible.

Puppy Raising is a 12 month commitment. During that time, Raisers are responsible for:

  • Making the pup part of your family and keeping them safe. Allow the pup to interact with household members.
  • Attending weekly training sessions in your area.
A black 16 week old labrador puppy sitting on the ground of a shop wearing its Guide Dog in Training jacket. The puppy is looking at the camera.
  • Teaching the pup some basics skills, including sitting nicely when being groomed, walking nicely on a lead, good house manners, and providing regular socialisation experiences.
  • Establishing good toileting, feeding, sleeping, and walking routines.

There are more detailed expectations for Puppy Raisers. Learn more about the details and responsibilities.

A good Puppy Raiser is someone who is caring, patient, responsible, and loves giving pats and cuddles!

To become a Puppy Raiser, ideally you will:

  • Live in the areas of Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Newcastle, South Coast, Southern Highlands or Canberra/Queanbeyan. This is to ensure your pup can attend regular training sessions with the Puppy Development Team.
  • Be home for most of the day: your pup must not be left alone for more than four hours at a time without supervision and human company.
  • Be available to walk your pup each day.
  • Allow your pup to sleep and spend time indoors.
  • Have a yard with dog-proof fencing unless you live in a flat or unit.
  • Have access to a car to transport your pup.
  • Be available to attend training sessions.

Guide Dogs will support you with what you need through the process including most of the equipment you need to make your pup feel at home and covering veterinary costs through one of our approved vets in your local area.

Become a Temporary Carer for Guide Dog Puppies

If you cannot commit to the full 12 months, we completely understand.

You can still help us by registering as a Temporary Carer!

Temporary Carers are on-hand to provide a loving home for when our Puppy Raisers go on holidays, or if they cannot look after their pup for a short period of time.

Apply now

Puppy Raiser and Temporary Carer Application

Register your interest in becoming a Puppy Raiser or Temporary Carer by filling in the form below.

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    Puppy Raiser and Temporary Carer Application

    Fields marked with * requiredare required.

    If you would like to support Guide Dogs in another way, you could donate today, become a Puppy Pal, or learn more about other volunteering opportunities.

    Contact Information

    Street Address

    Postal Address

    Not eligible at this time

    Thank you for taking the time to apply, at this time you do not meet the criteria to proceed with this application.

    In line with Government requirements and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT policy, all Puppy Raisers are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to undertake volunteer duties.

    Not eligible at this time

    Thank you for taking the time to apply, at this time you do not meet the criteria to proceed with this application.

    In line with Government requirements and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT policy, all Puppy Raisers are required to provide evidence of vaccination against COVID-19.

    Home Information

    Please note that the role of a Puppy Raiser is physical and involves lifting, twisting, stretching, bending, kneeling and squatting on a repetitive basis, as well as managing unpredictable pulling on the lead.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! We need to ensure permission is received before we place a puppy in a Puppy Raiser's home.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! You will need to have a fully fenced puppy-proof yard to ensure the safety of our puppies.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! For the safety of our puppies, pools must be fully fenced

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! For the safety of our puppies, shelter from the elements must be provided.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! To ensure the puppy is successfully placed into your home it is important that all family members agree on a puppy living with your family for the 12-month period.

    Please include species, breed, age, sex and desexed status.

    Previous Experience and Commitment

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! It is essential that the puppy is socialised daily to ensure it is given the best chance of success in the program.

    Please note: these sessions run for typically 1-2 hours, and are generally weekly for the first 2 months, and then fortnightly thereafter.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! It is essential that the puppies attend weekly or fortnightly training sessions during their Puppy Raising period.

    Please note if working more than 4 hours per day, the pup must be allowed to attend work with you. Work hours must also be flexible to allow the pup to attend regular meetings regardless of work status.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! Guide Dogs NSW/ACT will need to have approval for a puppy to attend the workplace prior to your application.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! It is essential for the puppy's socialisation that it attends structured training sessions for the Puppy Raising period.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! It is essential that the puppies are not left for more than 4 hours per day

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! It is essential that a car is available for the pup to travel in to training sessions and to vet visits as required.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! It is essential for the development of the puppy that they are taken to training sessions as required.

    The expectation of Guide Dogs is that you would travel to the Guide Dog Centre at Glossodia for occasional scheduled events, new pup placement, intake for training, necessary veterinary visits (beyond regular veterinary health checks), and for other dog transport as required.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! Puppy Raisers will need to travel to the GDC at various times during the Puppy Raising time for dog pick up and drop off, vet visits etc.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! It is essential that our puppies are allowed inside to learn home behaviours and socialisation.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! It is a requirement that our puppies sleep inside the house.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! For the puppy's development and socialization, it is important that they are exercised daily.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! Puppy Raisers must supply Guide Dogs approved toys and bedding for the puppy. Guide Dogs will provide most of the equipment you will need, including food, medications, collars and leashes.

    Not eligible at this time

    We're sorry! All Guide Dog NSW/ACT policies and recommendations must be followed by our Puppy Raisers to ensure our puppies' safety.

    Guide Dogs NSW/ACT respects your privacy. Your details are protected by us under the Privacy Act. Our privacy policy is online.

    What if I don't meet the criteria?

    There are many other ways to get involved.

    If for some reason you do not fit these criteria, there are many other ways in which you can help:

    • Explore other volunteering opportunities in your area.
    • Become a Puppy Pal, where you can follow the journey of a litter of puppies and donate to help them become life-changing Guide Dogs.
    • You can also assist at our Guide Dogs Centre, sell merchandise at events, or support us with administration duties.
    • Kickstart your own fundraiser for Guide Dogs.

    If you hope to get involved, contact us for more information!

    Two people seated on a couch with a yellow labrador dog seated on the floor in front of them. The people are looking at the dog and the dog is looking at the camera.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Find the answers to common questions.

    Having your own pet dog does not exclude you from being a part of our Puppy Raising, or Temporary Care Program.

    As long as your pet is “dog-friendly”, and you meet our other criteria, we are happy to place a pup with you!

    We provide most of the equipment you need to make your pup feel at home.

    This includes:

    • dog food
    • preventative medications (fleas, worms and heartworm)
    • collars
    • leash
    • grooming equipment
    • a food bowl.

    We also cover all veterinary costs through one of our approved vets in your local area.

    It’s essential that you are able to commit to the time involved in raising a Guide Dog puppy, including daily exercise, attending regular training sessions and outings during weekday business hours, ensuring the pup is not left by itself for any longer than four hours per day and devote adequate time to socialise the pup in a variety of environments, at least 3-5 times a week.

    Learn more about Puppy Raiser Responsibilities.

    Bring joy to Clients like Melissa.

    Donate before June 30