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
Puppy Sitters are volunteers who help watch our puppies in training while their Puppy Raiser is out of town. Commitment varies depending, but typically is 2-4 days. Puppy Sitters must complete a sitter application and go through an orientation before sitting. 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.
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.