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Raise a Puppy: Changing Lives One Puppy at a Time!

By November 20, 2019July 9th, 20202 Comments

There are a lot of great ways to support our Dogs For Better Lives mission. But we have to say, one of the most fun ways is to raise a puppy!

Maybe you’ve been considering becoming a puppy raiser and wondering what it would be like to raise a puppy: we are here to answer the most frequently asked questions, help you gain an understanding of how our Puppy Raiser Volunteer program works, and to give you a picture of the beautiful, life-changing rewards of raising a puppy. 


Why Do We Need Puppy Raisers?

Dogs For Better Lives is a life-changing organization that provides dogs completely free of cost to individuals who are deaf or who have hearing loss;  children who are on the autism spectrum; and professionals such as teachers, physicians, and licensed therapists whose students and clients can benefit from a trained dog’s calming presence.

We are passionate about what we do, and find so much joy in changing lives for the better!

Our programs are unique in that many of our dogs are rescued from local shelters. We have special Canine Recruiters who have been specially trained to assist our staff and identify rescue dogs at shelters that meet the age and personality standards that make for great Assistance Dogs.

We also raise puppies that have been specially bred to make great Assistance Dogs (for instance, larger breeds that can act as “anchors” for children with autism). From 8 weeks to 14 months, these special pups need loving homes with people willing and able to invest their time and dedication, and make sure they grow up to be the very best Assistance Dogs they can be! 

We are always in need of homes and families to raise our puppies. The more puppies we raise, the more dogs we are able to train, and the more lives we can change for the better. 


What Is Required To Raise A Puppy?

The Puppy Raiser program brings together a community of people of all ages, who are willing to work hard and care for these special furry friends. Our community of puppy raisers is vital to the work we do at Dogs For Better Lives, because it helps us build a foundation for future assistance dogs.

The most crucial requirement for someone who wants to raise a puppy is time.

As a Puppy Raiser, you are required to attend basic obedience courses with your puppy and go on public outings to expose the puppies to a multitude of different environments. We ask our Puppy Raisers to spend time training their puppies on appropriate behaviors and obedience, and reinforcing what their puppy is learning in class when they are at home. With puppies, consistency is key.

A Puppy Raiser also needs to have patience and understanding. Raising a puppy can be challenging, but oh-so rewarding as they go through their stages of “puppiness” it can be very much like taking care of a baby— raisers need to be able to devote time to knowing where their puppy is, what he’s doing, and how he’s behaving. In order for these little fur-balls to become successful future Assistance Dogs, Puppy Raisers work with our trainers set the groundwork for a strong foundation before coming back into the program.

If you have experience raising dogs and are familiar with common puppy behaviors and traits, this will be helpful as you consistently apply what you learn in class to everyday life with the puppy. This will also give you a greater understanding of how to work with common behavioral quirks in your puppy, like when you are missing one of your slippers, or notice that the remote controller has become the new favorite chew toy. Our puppy raiser team is here to help you every step of the way to ensure you will have the tools you need to be successful.


How Do I Apply To Raise A Puppy?

As we continue to grow our programs, our need for Puppy Raisers with keep growing, too! The more dogs we rescue, and puppies we raise, the more people we can serve. If you’re interested in helping us to change lives and raise a puppy, it’s simple: all you have to do is fill out an application today!


  • Cynthia Vegnone says:

    I am interested in your program. My name is Cynthia Vegnone and I live in Bradenton, FL. Before I moved to Florida I lived in MA where I was a weekend puppy raiser for NEADS. Our dogs were raised within the prison system so the weekend puppy raisers had to go the the prison every Friday and pickup our dog. We took them to NEADS every weekend for training with the dog and took the dogs home where we tried to introduce them to as many new situations as possible. We took our dogs to restaurants, outdoor events, meetings, and every situation we could expose them to on a weekend as well as training at NEADS on the weekends.

    I would love to work with a puppy again. Please reply with any information you have in reference to this program.

    Cynthia Vegnone

    • Harvey Potts says:

      Cynthia, thank you for your interest in becoming a puppy raiser. Unfortunatley, at this time we are only accepting volunteer raisers, living on the west coast in OR, WA, and CA.

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