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Puppy Raising

What is puppy raising?

Puppy raising is a foster program for young Guide Dogs. It provides the puppy with the opportunity to grow up in a home environment and be well socialised.

A puppy raiser cares for a puppy in his or her own home and provides all the attention it needs. This includes feeding, grooming, exercising, house training and teaching some simple obedience. The puppy raiser is also required to take the pup for regular vet check ups. A puppy raiser also socialises the puppy to the different types of environments and experiences it may encounter as a Guide Dog.

Selecting Puppy Raisers

When we choose puppy raisers, we ask that they meet a number of criteria, so we can ensure that our puppies are well cared for and have the best chance of meeting the high standards we required for Guide Dogs. Applicants who meet the above criteria would be assessed further by the Association’s Guide Dog Instructor before being accepted for the puppy-walking program. When the puppy is about 12 months old, it is assessed for its suitability for training as a Guide Dog. For the successful dogs, a rigorous and intensive five month training program commences. The puppies are Labradors.

Would you like to apply?

If you would like to apply to be a Puppy Raiser, please contact the Association on (08) 9311 8202 or

Overview for Puppy Raisers

  • The primary goal of the Puppy Raising Program is to produce healthy, well-behaved and well-socialised dogs that can be trained as Guide Dogs.

  • Puppies are placed with Puppy Raising families at seven to eight weeks of age. They remain there until they are approximately twelve months old. The dogs are then assessed for their suitability for training as a Guide Dog. If accepted the dog may stay another five to six months or be moved to another foster family.

  • Dogs are social animals. When puppies leave their littermates they naturally want to join another family or pack, the Puppy Raising family becomes their new pack. As the newly appointed "pack leader" the puppy will look to you for everything including affection, support, encouragement, guidance and some loving discipline.

  • The Association will provide everything required to care for and train your puppy including its food. Cottesloe Animal Hospital provides all Veterinary Consultations, vaccinations and treatments at no charge to you.

  • Applicants must have their own private vehicle to convey the puppy to and from the veterinary appointments and the Association for the Blind.

  • It is essential your yard have a good dog-proof fence to prevent the puppy from straying. If you have a swimming pool access should be able to be restricted. Having a small outside area that can be penned off separately for the puppy is useful. If you are not able to provide direct supervision it can be used to keep your puppy safe and out of mischief for a short period. The pen is never used as a punishment.

  • To teach the puppy appropriate indoor behaviour including housetraining it must sleep and spend most of its time indoors.

  • Puppies mustn't be left on their own for periods longer than three hours. If necessary, applicants could have someone else care for it.

  • As part of the Puppy Raising Program the puppy will be required to attend obedience training. This phase of the puppy's training and development begins when the pup is approximately 20 weeks old and may last until its 12 months old. The Association's Guide Dog Instructors run the 40-minute classes at a local recreational park in Victoria Park.

  • Puppies should be walked at least once a day. They will need to be taught to walk correctly on the leash (on the left-hand side) and be discouraged from pulling and sniffing.

  • The puppy's socialising begins in a quiet residential area and progressively develops as the puppy matures to include busy commercial areas such as the city. As soon as the puppy is trustworthy (where its toileting is concerned) we encourage you to take it into shops and other public buildings. Exposure to traffic should begin in quiet streets and progress to busy roads as the puppy's confidence develops. The puppy should also have opportunities to mix with friendly cats and dogs. 

  • Children should be four years old and over.  If there are no children in your home, it is important that you introduce your puppy to other people's children. Taking the puppy once a week to your local primary school is a good way of achieving this. We sometimes find dogs that haven't been brought up with children become uncertain or afraid of their behaviour (noise and quick movements) which makes them unsuitable for training. 

  • Puppies are visited every month to check on their progress. These visits are opportunities to answer any of your questions and advise you on how you should proceed to the next stage in the puppy's development. 

  • If you go away on holiday or for a long weekend and are unable to take the puppy with you, your puppy will be boarded at our kennels or with another Puppy Raising family.

Puppy Club Guide Dog Shop