Early Education – The Puppy Training Program
The Cornerstone of Success
Puppy Raising is the cornerstone to the success of BC & Alberta Guide Dogs. Raising a pup is a volunteer job like no other. It requires dedication and commitment from the Puppy Raiser and an entire team of individuals to have the pup grow and mature into a working dog. The end result gives you a feeling of accomplishment and pride that no other job would.
Puppy Raisers can be individuals, couples or families with school-age children. Some Puppy Raisers live in apartments, town-homes and single-family homes. Our programs are offered in the GVRD, Victoria, and Calgary. Our requirement is that the primary Puppy Raiser is available during the day for meetings and obedience classes.
Teaching the puppy house manners is as important as all other aspects of our program. The Puppy Raiser will provide the foundation necessary to raise a dog that will change someone’s life. This journey will last until the dog is approximately two years old and will then be handed over to our professional Instructors for their advanced training.
The end result of knowing that your pup will change the life of a visually impaired client, a child with autism, or a veteran or a First Responder living with OSI–PTSD.
Things to Consider
• Do you have the time to provide adequate exercise and the commitment to teaching and praising appropriate behaviours daily, every day?
• Are you able to clear your schedule for the first one to two weeks to establish bonding and house training?
• Are you able to commit to the program for the 1.5 -2 year time frame?
• Do you have experience interacting with and handling dogs?
• Will you take the pup out for socialization exposure 4-5 times a week? This requires special effort at the beginning when they are not fully vaccinated and cannot go where other dogs go. You can take them to local coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.
• Are you willing to go through a heat cycle if you have a female dog to raise?
• Can you physically handle a large dog? Our dogs will reach a weight of 60-75 pounds.
• Do you have a schedule that allows the puppy never to be left alone for more than a couple of hours on occasion?
• Are all family members willing to follow the guidelines of BC & Alberta Guide Dogs training protocols?
• Are you willing to undergo a Vulnerable Sector’s Check?
• Does your schedule allow for all meetings to occur during the day at scheduled times Mon-Fri?
• Do you have access to email and are committed to checking it regularly? This is how we communicate with our puppy trainers.
• Do you have a vehicle?
• Are you prepared for dog hair, cleaning up after the pup, wet noses, puppy kisses, and all that goes with a puppy?
Volunteers receive ongoing training and support from the Puppy Raising Supervisor and our established network of existing volunteer Puppy Raisers.
There are weekly obedience classes held until the pup is 4-5 months, and then obedience will be bi-weekly. The Puppy Supervisor will arrange monthly meetings in different areas throughout the city to see how your dog responds to various stimuli and situations.
The Puppy Supervisor is there to help you with any problems you may be having. Both obedience and individual meetings are mandatory, and failure to attend regularly may result in rehoming of the pup.
If you are interested in applying to become a Puppy Raiser, you should contact the supervisor in your area as listed below. They will answer any questions that you may have and send you an online application for you to complete.
It is generally suggested that you attend at least one obedience class and have a chance to talk with other Puppy Raisers about the time commitment and ups and downs of raising a pup.
The Puppy Training Supervisor will go through the program with you in more detail and conduct a home interview.
If you are accepted, you will be put on our waiting list, and your supervisor will inform you when a pup is available.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Toll-free (Canada): 1-877-940-4504
Victoria, British Columbia
Toll-free (Canada): 1-877-940-4504
Toll-free (Alberta): 1-877-258-0819