It might seem like a big leap from “sit” and “stay” to Service Dog. But the volunteers who raise our puppies know that a well-trained and well-cared-for puppy forms the foundation of a lifetime of companionship for people in need greater safety, independence, and connection to the world around them.

What makes being a puppy raiser special is you witness the fruits of your time and attention every day. From potty training to public acclimation, basic commands to obedience schooling, you’re instrumental in the development of a companion dog who will make a world of difference in someone’s life.

Their milestones matter.

Every milestone your puppy reaches is a reason to celebrate — and a reward for your work. Our Puppy Raisers aim for these goals:

8-12 weeks of age

  • Name recognition
  • Crate training
  • Potty training
  • Good manners
  • Polite greetings
  • Commands including sit, down, stay, come, heel and drop

12-24 weeks of age

  • Commands including under and place
  • Extended ability to stay
  • Successful public outings with medium foot/dog traffic
  • Graduates puppy/beginner obedience class
  • Graduates intermediate obedience class

6-12 months of age

  • Successful public outings with heavy traffic
  • Good play manners

14-16 months of age

  • Graduates Dogs for Better Lives puppy program

Let’s make milestones together.

Learn more about being a Dog for Better Lives Puppy Raiser. It’s a way to give of your time that pays back doubly: You nurture a happy, healthy dog and, as a result, bring mobility, independence, companionship and joy to an individual who needs it. We hope you’ll get involved.