Puppy Petting

Puppy Petters – WE HAVE PUPPIES! Puppy petting is great way to help with our puppies’ socialization. Before puppies become 12 weeks old, they have a window of opportunity called a “socialization period” where early experiences will heavily shape the puppy’s future. Because of this, we take careful precaution to ensure that most experiences are positive. Our puppies need to be comfortable with diversity in the outside human world to work as a service dog, so proper socialization can help prevent problems such as fear of children or men, for example. Petting from community members help better acclimate our pups to all types of sights, sounds, and smells and the puppies will likely be comfortable with people and animals of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, etc. later if they have a positive experiences with them while growing up. Involvement with puppies is fun and a therapeutic way to interact and educate our local Phoenicians, and is also beneficial to our puppies’ future at the same time. Puppy Petting sessions will be held every week and details can be seen on our calendar. Everyone is welcome to come. All participants must have an application in and a RSVP is greatly appreciated. We ask that all people please remove their shoes, sanitize their hands, and not visit with shelter or sick animals the same day prior to coming to avoid spreading zoonotic diseases.

Puppy Raisers

Puppy Raisers are volunteers responsible for Phase I training which is composed of housing, vetting, training in basic obedience, socialization to all environments and individuals, and proper service dog etiquette, public access manners and lasts roughly 12-18 months. Puppy Raisers attend weekly classes, as-needed private lessons, and public outings. Puppy Raisers take their assistance dog in training on outings often which makes for wonderful practice for the puppy’s public access skills which also brings awareness to service dogs in our community. Through these volunteers, we are able guide them to raise the puppies keep progressing towards Phase II advanced training where the Puppy Raiser passes off the leash to Staff. Later during advanced training, Staff will match this dog to clients and the Raiser will reunite with their dog and meet the new handler at our graduation ceremony. Our assistance dogs can begin training in our program as early as 8 weeks old and up to two years old. No prior experience is necessary to become a Puppy Raiser as we train the volunteer in force-free, clicker training methods.

Our assistance dogs can begin training in our program as early as 8 weeks old and up to two years old. No prior experience is necessary to become a Puppy Raiser as we train the volunteer in force-free, clicker training methods.


Duties of a NADI Puppy Raiser:

House the assistance dog puppy and providing a safe and loving environment

Care for the assistance dog’s physical and mental needs by

  • Financially caring for veterinary and nutritional needs

  • Attend weekly obedience classes with Staff or an approved local training facility (Puppy obedience up to AKC Canine Good Citizen)

  • Write reports every other week on training, outings, successes and areas needing improvement, and commands currently working on

  • Attend scheduled events and/or evaluations

  • Remain in close contact with Staff

  • Represent NADI and the service dog community as positive ambassadors


Our assistance dogs’ training is achieved through positive reinforcement clicker training to teach our dogs basic obedience, advanced task training, matching, all the way on to the two-week intensive training course called Team Training for placement with the clients. We are able to reduce waiting time and fees to those in need of an assistance dog because of our selfless Puppy Raisers.

Puppy Sitters

If someone only temporarily has room for some furry companions, we use volunteer Pet Sitters to house our dogs from time-to-time when our Puppy Raisers have other commitments in which their assistance dog in training cannot attend. We also use overnight pet sitters for dogs staying at our facilities or that are needing furlough days.


For those interested that are not sure if they are ready for a new puppy or taking on training an assistance dog, there are ways to help dogs staying at our facilities. Volunteer Walkers can come to our facility, help us get the dogs out and about, and get their puppy fix! NADI is always in need of people to exercise/walk and bathe dogs, help with adoption processes of released dogs, reinforce training, cleaning the rooms and lots of other jobs necessary to keep the operations going. All and any help is appreciated.

Events and Fundraising

Volunteers may choose to set up benefits or lend a helping hand at other events or fundraisers. These supporters organize happy hours, social outings, dog walks, profit-shares, and other gatherings. Other opportunities for volunteers is designing announcements, newsletters, collect items for auctions and promote awareness on social media.