It takes a lot of dedication and patience' to raise a Seeing Eye Dog Puppy. Additional to the experience of looking after one of our very special puppies, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are assisting someone who is blind, to live the life they choose.
The Puppy Carer Program requires volunteers to care for a puppy in their home, from the age of 8 weeks, for approximately 12-15 months. The puppy will then enter our advanced Seeing Eye Dog training program.
Your puppy is being trained as an elite working dog for a person who is blind, so you must provide firm, consistent training for your puppy under the direction of your Puppy Supervisor who will provide the specific rules to follow, these must be strictly adhered to as this not only helps your puppy, but will make the whole experience more rewarding for you, as well.
Your puppy requires regular socialisation experiences that you will provide, these include traveling in cars and on public transport, exposure to traffic, shops, cafés, restaurants, crowds and animals, as well as walking in city and country/suburban areas.
Your puppy should have one adult carer, 18 years and over which we term the “nominated handler”, who is responsible for all aspects of the puppy’s care, socialisation and training. This helps with consistency of training, which is very important. Other members of your household can help with the training, of course – but must maintain the consistency intraining.
Your puppy must be with you for most of the day and must not be left alone for more than 3 hours at a time. If you have regular commitments that mean you cannot take your puppy with you, a puppy sitter can be used and this could be a friend or neighbour who will need follow the guidelines. We have many carers who are teachers and take their pup to school with them or into the workplace.