Puppy Raising Program

Puppy Raising Program

Our mission is to provide professionally trained service dogs for residents of North & South Carolina. Finding suitable dogs for service work is one of the most challenging aspects of any service dog program. We need to find puppies with suitable temperaments as well as good health and conformation. Our puppy raising program is designed to raise puppies with proper training and socialization so that they can one day become service dogs. 

In order to properly raise a future service dog, we need volunteers that can help us with the general care, training and socialization of our puppies. We need individuals or families that can provide a loving home, continue practicing the puppy’s obedience commands that they learn through our program, and take the puppy out 3-5x per week to continue the socialization process. During a dog’s first year of life, they go through several phases of development. These critical periods will shape a dog’s behavior for the rest of its life. Since service dogs have to work in a variety of environments, we need to expose each puppy to a variety of places, people, sounds, smells, other animals, etc. Our goal is to raise happy, healthy, obedient and well socialized puppies so that these puppies can potentially become service dogs. 

Puppy Raising Options:

Primary Puppy Raiser:

These are individuals or families that can foster a dog from 3 months of age through 12 months of age. The total time commitment is 7-10 months. Healing Canines will provide all the necessary equipment to house and train the dog, and will cover all costs associated with the healthcare of the dog (vet care, food, toys, medication, etc). 

 

 

Finishing Puppy Raiser:

These are individuals or families that can foster a puppy from 6 months of age through 12 months of age. The total time commitment is 6 months. These dogs are fully on and off-leash trained, fully crate trained and housebroken, and are obedient and calm around distractions. These dogs are considered “started service dogs” since they have completed the first two phases of our service dog program. Healing Canines will provide all the necessary equipment to house and train the dog, and will cover all costs associated with the healthcare of the dog (vet care, food, toys, medication, etc). 

Co-Raisers:

These are individuals or families that act as helpers for primary raisers. They are available to help puppy sit, take the puppy out on socialization adventures, and help with the general care and training of the puppy. This is more of a part-time or “as needed” volunteer position.

Support & Responsibilities:

Healing Canines provides phone, email, and in-person support for all puppy raisers. We will be there to help if any problems should occur and we also board the puppy for short periods of time if the raisers are unable to care for the dog (i.e. raise goes on a vacation and can't take the puppy). 

We require puppy raisers to attend bi-monthly meetings with a Healing Canine’s trainer to ensure the puppy is on the right track. We require that puppy raisers fill out a formal volunteer contract and adhere to the rules and expectations of our puppy raising program. A detailed 150+ page puppy raising manual will be given to each puppy raiser. This manual has detailed information on puppy training, grooming, general care, socialization, and public access protocols. It is designed to provide valuable information and answer common questions relating to raising a future service dog puppy. We also ask that puppy raisers take weekly photos and videos of the puppy for the future owners and for social media purposes.

Application Process:

Volunteer puppy raisers must go through a screening process prior to being accepted into our puppy raising program. We require a formal application, phone consultation and in-home visit prior to taking one of our puppies. This is to ensure that the program is a good fit for the raiser’s lifestyle and that the home (and other pet animals) are safe for the puppy. Prior dog training or raising experience is not required, but those without any dog training or raising experience will need to participate in additional lessons with Healing Canines prior to bringing a puppy home. 

Waiting List:

As our program continues to grow, we will be in need of more volunteer puppy raisers. We have an open waitlist of prospective applicants that are interested in raising a puppy. As soon as puppies are available, prospective applicants will be contacted, and a drop-off/transfer session will be scheduled. If you would like to apply to be a volunteer puppy raiser, please click here

Frequently Asked Questions: