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.

What is required to become a Puppy Raiser?

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

Puppy Raiser and Temporary Carer applications are now open for the South Coast (between Wollongong and Kiama) and Southern Highlands areas including Mittagong, Bowral and Kangaroo Valley.

If you live in these areas and are interested in becoming a Puppy Raiser, please contact our Guide Dogs team directly by emailing guidedogscentre@guidedogs.com.au.

Puppy Raising and Temporary Carer applications for all other areas are currently closed but there are lots of other ways for you to get involved with Guide Dogs.

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.

Join PAWGUST, Guide Dog’s Biggest Online Challenge

Walk or run every day this August to raise funds for Guide Dogs.