Full-Time Puppy Raisers
NEADS World Class Service Dogs change lives every day, and you can be part of this life-changing story when you join NEADS as a volunteer Puppy Raiser.
Updates to our Full-Time Puppy Raiser Program
NEADS is actively recruiting Full-Time Puppy Raisers. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, and in order to ensure a safe experience for volunteers and NEADS staff, please note the following changes to our program:
ORIENTATIONS, ON-BOARDING & HOME VISITS are conducted virtually.
Most WEEKLY/BI-WEEKLY training sessions are conducted virtually, but we do occasionally hold one-on-one or small group in-person sessions with a NEADS trainer, following all safety protocols related to social distancing, hand sanitizing, and mask wearing.
What is a Full-Time Puppy Raiser?
Full-time Puppy Raisers are dedicated volunteers who take our Service Dogs in Training into their homes and look after them for 12 to 16 months, working on critical socialization and basic obedience. The dog is then moved into a prison facility to finish its Service Dog training or is chosen as a Breeder Dog.
As a Full-Time Puppy Raiser:
- You will attend 1 weekly training session with a NEADS trainer, both on and off campus.
- You will care for the NEADS dog 24/7, providing a safe, healthy, and loving environment.
- You will practice training and socialization exercises, as well as daily exercise, as directed by the NEADS trainer.
- You will be given a "Service Dog in Training" vest for the puppy to wear, as well as all food, veterinary care, and flea, tick, and heartworm medications for the duration of the dog's training, at no cost.
- You are financially responsible for a crate, chew toys, dog bowls, appropriate training treats, and a long leash line.
Who Makes a Good Full-Time Puppy Raiser?
The ideal candidate is just about anyone who is able to devote the time, energy, and love necessary to successfully socialize and train a NEADS Service Dog in Training We are looking for young families, couples, retirees, and individuals.
Are You Ready?
Before you apply to become a Full-Time Puppy Raiser for one of our adorable, energetic puppies, it's helpful to understand what we need from you. If you can answer "yes" to these questions, then please consider applying!
- Are you physically able to manage a young and energetic dog?
- Are you able to attend weekly training sessions with NEADS trainers?
- Are you available to socialize* a puppy every day under NEADS guidelines?
- If you have any other pets at home, are they happy, relaxed and friendly towards people and other animals?
- Are you prepared to handle the puppy and teach them crate training, house training, and other appropriate behaviors in the home?
** Socializing consists of following NEADS outlined field trip levels which expose the dog to everyday life in public. For example libraries, malls, grocery stores, crowds, meeting all different kinds of people, etc.
Good to Know
The dog can be left alone for short periods of time as a puppy. As the puppy gets older, the time they are left alone can gradually increase to a maximum of 3-4 hours.
The NEADS dog may go to work with you, with your company's and NEADS approval.
Questions about becoming a Full-Time Puppy Raiser?
Contact the NEADS Volunteer Manager here.
The Places They Go
One of the most important jobs a Puppy Raiser has is to help the NEADS dogs feel comfortable in many different situations, around many people. They do this by making sure they have plenty of real-world exposure to different sights, sounds, and people.
But what does that look like day to day? Dana, who has raised two puppies for NEADS and is currently raising her third puppy, shares a few highlights of her puppy raising experience with the two pups she’s raised. What a journey!