Choosing a Puppy Raising Organization
There are tons of organizations to choose from all with different benefits.
Starting your puppy raising journey begins with choosing an organization! With so many great organizations to choose from, it can be difficult to know which is the best fit for you. Pawsible has volunteers from a bunch of different assistance dog organizations and together we have compiled a few tips to help guide you to your decision.
Determine the local groups in your area
Pawsible’s Group Locator Map is designed to help potential puppy raisers identify the local groups in their area. It is not a comprehensive list, but is a great starting point and is constantly being updated.
Finding a local group is awesome because they typically have puppy sitters and a wonderful community of like-minded people, but for some Assistance Dog Organizations you may be able to raise remotely. If this sounds interesting to you, we have a resource on that!
Research Assistance Dog Organizations
Make a list of organizations that offer puppy raising programs
We're working on this we promise but for now you'll have to make your own!
Determine what mission you feel the most passionate about
Does providing independence for the visually impaired speak to you?
Helping veterans with PTSD?
Maybe helping provide a sense of comfort to families with autistic children is what peaks your interest.
Do they provide assistance dogs to their clients for free?
Is the organization accredited?
This is important because it tells you whether you're working with a trusted organization.
Assistance Dog International (ADI) is one of the most frequent accreditors you'll see - learn more about them here!
International Guide Dog Federation is another
Use your favorite search engine to see what people are saying about the organization
Look at both google reviews left by clients or volunteers AND whether they have any bad press like legal issues.
Learn about the puppy raising program
No two organizations are alike when it comes to their puppy raising programs. This allows for many different people to find a program that works best for their lifestyle and needs.
Factors that you should consider are:
What is the application process in becoming a puppy raiser?
What is the length of time you will have your dog?
If you can't raise full time is there a part-time program like weekend puppy raising?
Time commitment required for puppy training meetings/classes and any other obligations.
How much experience do you have training puppies? What training do you receive before receiving your first puppy?
What kind of financial obligation will you be responsible for while the puppy is in your care?
Not every dog is meant to be a service dog, sometimes they are best suited to be a beloved pet. In that case, will you be able to adopt them if you are interested?
Some other things you can do:
Speak to the organizations! Reach out and ask questions that weren’t covered on their website.
Find puppy raisers associated with the organizations you are interested in via social media or the Pawsible community to learn about their experience firsthand.
Attend a local meeting to understand how they are run and what training methods are used. This is another great opportunity to ask questions and meet the puppy raisers who you will be working with!
Become a puppy sitter before committing to raising. This will give you first-hand experience with the organization.
Remember the first assistance dog organization that you come across might not be the right one for you! Taking the time to do good research could really pay off in the long run.