Puppy Rasier FAQs

What breeds of dogs do you use in your Lead Dog Service Dog puppy raiser program?

All dogs in our program are generally, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers or on the rare occasion a German Shepherd.

Where does Lead Dog Service Dogs get their puppies? 

We utilize breeders that we have a strong relationship with in Alaska and in Colorado. Puppies are picked out by us for temperament and a genetic history that has proven working lines.

I am in high school, can I be a puppy raiser?

You must be at least 18 years old to be a volunteer puppy raiser on your own. Those under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian living in the same household and who is also the co-applicant on the puppy raiser application.

Do I need a fenced yard?

We strongly recommend that our puppy raisers have a fenced yard. Puppy raisers must follow our supervision and leash requirements.

What type of training will I do with the puppy? 

Puppy raisers must set aside time for daily training and attend obedience classes for the duration of the project. In our local area, we provide classes free of charge. However, if you live in an area without a class available, you must find and attend an approved public obedience class at your expense.

How much exercise does the puppy need? 

Puppies need a lot of stimulation and exercise! Puppy raisers should expect to provide at least 30-45 minutes of exercise per day.

I work (or attend college classes) outside of the home, can I still be a puppy raiser? 

Absolutely! Most puppy raisers gain approval to take the puppy to work. We recommend speaking to your employer prior to applying. The puppy will need regular toileting breaks throughout the day.

Can the puppy stay at home while I am at work? 

It’s imperative to the puppy’s development that supervision and socialization are provided throughout every day. Puppy raisers must either have prior approval to bring the puppy to the workplace or provide an alternative for the socialization and care of the puppy during the day. When left unsupervised, puppies should always be in an appropriate size crate.

Who takes care of the puppy when I am on vacation? 

In most cases, the puppy can accompany the puppy raiser on vacation, or can be placed with a puppy sitter that is in our program. We offer guidelines for age appropriate travel outings and activities.

How does your program prepare new puppy raisers for their role? 

Each puppy raiser goes through an orientation process and is given plenty of reading material. We also provide ongoing staff support to each puppy raiser via phone, e-mail, or in-person follow-up. We are always there when you have questions!

Where do the puppy raisers take the puppy in public? 

Puppies must be exposed or “socialized” to activities of daily life. This can include accompanying the puppy raiser to the work place, shopping center or other public places. When in public, the puppies wear a cape identifying the fact that they are being socialized for special purposes. However, we rely upon the goodwill of merchants and business owners rather than the legal system for gaining public access.

What type of training philosophy does Lead Dog Service Dogs endorse?

We have developed our training program over years of training dogs for service work. We utilize a combination of positive reinforcement and a balanced approach to the dogs in our program.

What happens if my living situation changes or I can no longer care for the puppy?

We maintain ownership of all the puppies in our program and if needed we will find a new puppy raiser for the puppy in need.

How can I possibly give up the puppy when it comes time? 

This is one of the hardest parts of being a puppy raiser. First, know that you are doing something very special for a person in need. You and the puppy you raise will take a long journey together! It’s only natural that you will become very attached to the dog. The ability to give up a dog comes from knowing that you’re raising this puppy for a purpose — that the puppy will go on to help someone with a disability lead a more social and independent lifestyle.

Will I get to meet the individual who receive the dog that I raised?

Yes, our program is like no other in the country and most often you will work right along with the new owner as your puppy progresses through the program. In some cases, if the individual is out of state, meeting and working with them may not be possible.

What type of financial commitment is required? 

Puppy raisers agree to provide food, supplies, routine vet care, transportation and related expenses while the puppy is in their care.  We will often able to provide assistance for catastrophic veterinary expenses.

What happens if the puppy is not placed as a service dog? 

We do our best to pick the best puppy for the job, but occasionally the dog is unable to be placed as a service dog. Should the dog not be able to be placed we may allow the puppy raiser may adopt the dog as their pet or we will place the dog in an approved home from our release dog wait list. A $500 adoption fee applies to everyone other than the puppy raiser of the dog.