Who can raise a Guide Dog Pup?
Raising a Guide Dog puppy is a very special commitment, and requires enormous dedication. The below is the initial criteria for full time Puppy Raising with Guide Dogs Tasmania. If you answer YES to most of the questions, feel free to forward an Application Form to be considered for our Puppy Raising Program. If you do not meet all the criteria, there may still be an opportunity for participating in the program in a shorter-term Boarder role.
Puppy Raising Criteria
Do you have more than one adult in your home?
Caring for a Guide Dog puppy is a very time consuming, 24 hours a day, 7 day a week job. We seek Puppy Raising placements where there are a minimum of two adult carers in the household. Our experience has shown us that, where we have placed Guide Dog pups with individuals, it is rarely successful and has often resulted in rehoming of the puppy, which is far from optimal. Having only one adult in the household also tends to create too strong an attachment between the dog and the individual handler. This is not suitable in the raising of a Guide Dog pup, and often results in overdependent behaviours and separation anxiety. Guide Dog Pups must be adaptable and confident in order to deal effectively with the challenges of training and working.
Don’t worry – if you are a single adult household you can still support our Puppy Development Program. Short term boarding is another important role, where you look after our pups for shorter periods when Puppy Raisers, trainers or clients are away or need some assistance.
Do you live within 30km of Hobart or Launceston metropolitan area?
We seek Puppy Raising and short term boarding homes that are close to our offices in either Hobart or Launceston to ensure excellent socialisation of our pups. It is important that your home is situated not just within a reasonable proximity of our offices (ie approximately 30kms), but also that it is readily and easily accessible. This ensures that we can effectively provide appropriate levels of supervision and support for Puppy Raisers and their pups. It also ensures that pups are getting exposed to the right environments needed for later Guide Dog work.
If you have children – are they all of school age, or older?
Due to the demands of raising a young pup, and the extensive time involved both in the home care and socialisation, we find that it is very stressful on parents with young infant children. It is very difficult to walk a young puppy when there are infant children to attend to when trying to walk with a pram. It is important that the handler is able to concentrate primarily on their pup when walking. This ensures the pup learns appropriate behaviours necessary for Guide Dog work. There is also a requirement to walk your pup in different areas each day. Due to the demands and time constraints that are associated with very young children and babies, it can be difficult for those with young children to appropriate socialise a Guide Dog pup.
Is your property adequately fenced to ensure a pup cannot stray and other dogs cannot enter your property?
We are 100% committed to the safety and welfare of all our Guide Dog pups. That’s why it’s vital that the properties we place our pups in are adequately fenced. Upon application, our Puppy Raising supervisor will do a routine visit to assess the safety of your property to make sure that a pup could not stray and that other dogs cannot enter your property.
Does at least one adult in your home work part time or less?
Raising a Guide Dog pup is very time consuming, and our pups require a significant time commitment both in the home and out and about, including toilet training, feeding, training socialising and general care. That’s why it’s important that at least one adult in your home works part time or less. It also means that the pup in your care is socialised in a wide variety of environments, and not just the one work place.
In addition to the sleepless nights in the first weeks, there are additional aspects that can impact on your working life. For example, young pups need toileting on leash every half hour or so in an appropriate area. A young pup cannot be left alone during the first months or so, until toileting patterns are well established. Due to this, it is virtually impossible for our young pups to be in workplaces where they are likely to disrupt both the handler’s work, and that of colleagues and other staff around them. An additional requirement is to attend weekly, and later monthly, training sessions with Guide Dog staff. These are all held during work hours.
You can still assist our program in a boarding capacity if your workplace is accommodating and you are able to attend training sessions during work hours.
Are you prepared to cope with puppy behaviours such as chewing and digging?
Like all young pups, our Guide Dog pups are not always little angels. They are still excitable pups that are learning and exploring the world around them, and will do this through behaviours like chewing (and sometimes digging!). While we can offer advice and techniques on how to best handle the pup as it’s going through different developmental stages of adolescence, unfortunately we cannot cover costs associated with any damage the pup has caused. Just like young children, puppies do need constant supervision and guidance, so it’s important you understand this when considering Puppy Raising.
Are you prepared to socialise the pup daily, exposing it to a variety of environments?
Our Guide Dog pups are different to pet dogs in that they are not left at home for long periods of time. They need to be socialised from a young age to become comfortable and adaptable to a wide range of environments to ensure the best outcomes once they enter formal training. Environments include shopping centres, city, bus travel, dog areas, café strips, supermarkets, playgrounds, rural, residential, so that when it comes time for their formal training at 18 months of age.
Find out what it’s really like raising a Guide Dog Pup:
Head to our Case Studies page, where you can read, watch and listen to profiles on current and past Puppy Raisers, to get a better idea of what it’s really like raising a Guide Dog Pup.