Becoming a Guide Dog Puppy Raiser

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Becoming a Guide Dog puppy raiser with Guide Dogs Australia plays a really important role in helping people with blindness or low vision. If you have ever wondered what it takes to become a Guide Dog Puppy Raiser though, you are not alone.

To find out more about what it takes, and how it feels when you have to say goodbye to your little buddy, I spoke with Kerry who has helped raise six Guide Dog Puppies to date, who brought along her current Guide Dog puppy, Nikita.

Why did you become a puppy raiser with Guide Dogs?

I originally took on my first Guide Dog puppy as we had two dogs pass away from old age within six months of each other. The connection actually came about because one of my daughters works for Guide Dogs.  She thought it would be really rewarding for us.

How does it make you feel?

It’s wonderful. It’s very rewarding. They’re very loving dogs. And it’s wonderful just helping out a charity like Guide Dogs because they do rely a lot on volunteer work and community support.

And what does it involve being a Guide Dog puppy raiser?

We get everything we need to take care of the puppies supplied from Guide Dogs. We must go on a couple of training sessions and incorporate them into our family life and home life. It is our role to help teach the dogs general manners and how to behave such as not to jumping on the furniture and things like that, going shopping, just getting used to loud noises, kids, and all the different things that they will be exposed to in later life as part of their socialisation.

How does Guide Dogs support you?

Guide Dogs support us in both the training and in general. They’re just wonderful! We have training sessions and we socialise the puppies together. If there’s any issues that you have at all with with your pup, any problem that you’ve come across, they will help us out with that. We get the food, the bedding, their collars leads, bowls. They supply NexGard Spectra every month.

One of the things people wonder about the most of course…is how do you give them up?

It is hard. However, you do know that when you raise a Guide Dog puppy they’re going on to make a difference in somebody else’s life which is very, very important and that’s why we do it for. But we do all shed a tear. Whenever we have to bring them back there’s always the box of tissues here.

There’s always the staff to give you a little bit of a hug and a bit of support. The dogs love coming here as well. They love coming back in and playing with their friends.

And what are the rewards?

The rewards are just wonderful. The dogs are so loving. They are so full of love and loyal and the community actually gets behind you as well.  I know when we’re out training or in public, everybody always stops and looks and wants to chat with the dogs and find out about them. It’s such a rewarding experience and I would urge anyone who is considering getting a puppy, but isn’t sure they can commit for the 10+ years that you need to be able to commit to when you have a dog, to consider helping Guide Dogs Australia by becoming a Guide Dogs puppy raiser.

More about Guide Dogs and their service

Guide Dogs provides a range of services to help Australian’s living with low vision or blindness find their confidence and independence. This includes:

  • Adult Mobility – training that offers adults everyday skills, such as catching public transport or navigating new environments, to keep them moving with confidence.
  • Children Mobility – training that enhances a child’s independence through safe play and exploring new surroundings with confidence.
  • Guide Dogs Mobility – training that helps someone navigate their daily life thanks to a Guide Dog’s unique skills.
About Guide Dog training
  • It takes almost two years and more than $50,000 to breed, raise, train and place one Guide Dog.
How you can help

If you’d like to support raising a Guide Dog puppy, PETstock runs an annual campaign through it’s Petspiration Foundation, supported by NexGard Spectra.

For more information on raising a Guide Dog puppy, sponsoring a Guide Dog, or volunteering, visit their website HERE
Guide Dogs in public – what you need to know
  • A person with a Guide Dog in harness is legally allowed access in all public places and can go anywhere.
  • When working in harness, a Guide Dog should not be touched, fed or distracted from guiding its handler – remember, they’re hard at work! Interacting with a Guide Dog can detract from their work.
  • Avoid grabbing a person with a Guide Dog or the dog’s harness. First, ask the person if they need assistance.

About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love Your Dog


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