Puppy raisers are volunteers who take in and foster a service dog in training until that dog is ready to move on to advanced task training with one of our staff trainers. Our service dogs in training live in the homes of puppy raisers and accompany them everywhere they go, including to stores, restaurants, and school or work. Puppy raisers allow our dogs to get lots of one-on-one socialization and training time to practice the basic commands and good behavior in a wide variety of public settings.
-Be at least 18 years old, or at least 10 years old with the support of their family or guardian
-Be willing to attend at least one group training session a month or make accommodations with one of our trainers to meet once a month for training guidance if living within 2hrs of San Luis Obispo County.
-Be willing to follow training video instructions and do zoom check-ins if you live over 2hrs away from San Luis Obispo County..
-Be willing and able to follow SDC training guidelines and reinforce training of the service dog.
-Be willing to give the service dog in training regular exercise and grooming.
-Be able to commit to a minimum of three months of fostering if within 5hours of us, or a minimum of eight months of fostering if over 5hours from us.
Here at The Service Dog Connection we try our best to make sure our Puppy Raisers feel as supported as possible! We offer group training sessions at least twice a month to teach handling skills to all of our fosters. We are also available for one-on-one training sessions if more individualized support is needed. The Service Dog Connection provides dog food, a kennel, leash, gentle leader, vest, and dog toys, and also covers all Veterinary expenses for the service dog in training. We also give puppy raisers access to our training tutorial videos to help learn our handling techniques.
Puppy raising is a great way to give back to the community by helping someone get an incredible service dog, but it is also a lot of fun! Puppy raising is an amazing option for people who want to enjoy the company of a dog but are not necessarily able or wanting to commit to a pet for 12-14 years, or able to have a pet for financial or housing situations. Since service dogs in training are exempt from no pet policies, and we cover all of the financial costs. It is also a great thing if you are just wanting to learn more about dog training and handling.
If you are interested in being one of our puppy raisers, please fill out our Puppy Raiser application found further down on this page. All applications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we receive your application we will review it and set up a time to meet and do training with you to figure out what type of training dog would be best for your situation.
Even if you aren't able to be a full-time puppy raiser there are several ways you can get involved and help out. We frequently need temporary fosters for our dogs (1-4 weeks) if our puppy raisers go out of town or our trainers are gone on placements. We can also use the help of people with photography and videography skills, volunteer dog groomers, and people helping at our group training sessions. Anyone interested in helping out in these ways are encouraged to send us an email!