What's involved?

Our puppies begin training from 8-10 weeks of age and spend up to 12+ months in the care of their new family.

You can play an essential role in their development, integrating the puppy into your daily routines and introducing them to a range of new experiences and environments as they prepare for their important career.

When you become a Puppy Raiser, you will be partnered with a staff member of Guide Dogs who will be your Puppy Raising Advisor.  Your advisor will provide ongoing training and support to mentor you through the puppy’s training period. The goal is to nurture each puppy so they become well socialised, confident and focused before they embark on their formal training program.

Without the efforts of our amazing volunteer Puppy Raisers, we could not train the Guide Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs and Therapy Dogs who provide essential companionship and independence for so many people in our community.


Who can be a Puppy Raiser?

Raising a puppy is a very special commitment and requires immense dedication. Our volunteers need to:

  • Live in the Adelaide metropolitan area or surrounding areas.
  • Be over 18 years old with a full driver’s licence and a car.
  • Have adequate strength and physical fitness to handle a dog that will grow to be in excess of 30 kg.
  • Accommodate the puppy’s training and socialisation into their daily routine, including regular training sessions at different locations around Adelaide during business hours.
  • Ensure puppies are not left alone for more than four hours. This may mean developing flexible work or study arrangements so the puppy can attend your workplace.

Workplace requirements

If you intend to take the puppy into your workplace, please seek approval from your employer to ensure they understand the following:

  • Puppies need to be toileted regularly, as often as every 30 minutes when toilet-training.
  • Puppies may whine intermittently while they’re developing appropriate workplace behaviour.
  • You must commit to attending weekly puppy training sessions with your Puppy Raising Advisor.
  • You will need to enforce consistent behavioural guidelines for the puppy, including educating your co-workers about the appropriate way to engage with a puppy-in-training.
A small yellow Labrador puppy sitting in an oversized Guide Dog harness.

Household requirements

Your home will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have a secure yard with fencing a minimum height of 1.5 m.
  • Pools, spas, ponds, and any other bodies of water are fully enclosed.
  • All potentially dangerous plants and poisons have been removed.
  • The puppy is permitted to live and sleep inside the house, and you accept that there may be occasional toileting accidents, dog hair, or chewing.

Additionally, if you live in a rental property or body corporate, you must have written approval from your Landlord or Body Corporate Management to allow the puppy on the premises.

Other members of the household

Our puppies benefit from being socialised with children and family pets. Families with children and pets are encouraged to apply, but please ensure:

  • You have adequate time to walk, train, and care for the puppy.
  • Any family pets are fully vaccinated, wormed, and are of a suitable temperament.
  • All household members over 18 years of age agree to participate in a National Police Clearance.

A life-changing role

Puppy Raising is a commitment of up to 12+ months, but our puppies may be moved from time to time to best support their learning and development.

Once they’re ready for the next stage of their journey, our puppies return to Guide Dogs to begin assessment and training for their potential careers as Guide Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs or Therapy Dogs.

While it’s never easy to say goodbye to the puppy, it’s a wonderful feeling to know that you have contributed to the training of a Guide Dog that will one day make a positive difference to somebody’s life – and there’s always the opportunity to continue Puppy Raising!

A young woman with low vision sits side by side with her golden Guide Dog.

I want to raise a puppy

If you meet the criteria listed above, you might be a perfect Puppy Raiser! For more information on Puppy Raising, you can download our information sheet or contact our HR team at hr.volunteer@guidedogs.org.au or (08) 8115 6050.

You can also submit an expression of interest via our Puppy Raiser Enquiry form

Please note:

  • Only applicants who meet our eligibility criteria will be considered for the role.
  • All volunteers require a National Police Clearance before participating, and renewal checks every three years thereafter. This includes all members of the household over the age of 18.
  • If your application is successful, your clearance will be arranged through Guide Dogs prior to commencing your role.

Puppy Raiser Enquiry Form

If you’d like to register your interest as a volunteer Puppy Raiser, please review our eligibility criteria and complete the form below to submit your enquiry.

Fields marked with * are required.

Your availability

Our puppies can't be left alone for more than 4 hours. If you work more than part-time, this may mean developing flexible work/study arrangements so the puppy can attend your workplace with the permission of your manager.

We also hold regular puppy training sessions at different locations around Adelaide, including during business hours. It is a requirement of the role that Puppy Raisers attend these sessions as requested.

Your home

Applicants' homes must be safe and secure for our puppies in training. This includes a minimum fencing height of 1.5m, pools and ponds that are fully enclosed, dangerous plants have been removed, and your landlord or body corporate has granted permission (if applicable).

Our puppies need homes where they can live and sleep inside the house. This means Puppy Raisers must be prepared for occasional accidents during toilet training, plus everyday occurrences like dog hair.

Your household

Our puppies benefit from being socialised with children and other animals. Families with children and pets are encouraged to apply, but pets must be of suitable temperament and families must have the time to walk, train, and care for the puppy.

Your contact details

If you answered 'yes' to the above questions, you might make a PAWfect Puppy Raiser!

Please provide your contact details to learn more:

Please note:

How else can I get involved?

If you don’t meet the criteria required to raise a puppy, you can still support the program and our valuable services by becoming a Puppy Sponsor.

Puppy Sponsors make a monthly donation to Guide Dogs to help us transform adorable puppies into highly trained Guide Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs or Therapy Dogs.

Throughout the journey, you’ll share their joys and triumphs through regular updates. You’ll even get an exclusive invite to their graduation celebration at the end of your litter’s Puppy Development program.

Learn more about becoming a Puppy Sponsor

Other way to support Guide Dogs

For a short-term volunteering commitment, you might like to consider becoming a Home Boarder.

There’s also the opportunity to adopt a career-change dog if you’re looking for a permanent addition to your household.

Whichever way you choose to support Guide Dogs, please know that your contribution makes a vital difference to people living with vision impairment, children with autism, and their families.

A young yellow Labrador puppy in climbing onto a ledge in an outdoor garden.