Become a Co-Pilot

How to Become a Co-Pilot

Pilot Dogs is in a revitalizing phase. One of the most important areas of focus moving forward will be our puppy developers (that we now call Co-Pilots). What this means is that should you volunteer to raise and help shape, mold, and develop a puppy for us, you’ll potentially be impacting the life of a person with a visual impairment, who is totally blind, or is a Veteran. We now ask our Co-Pilots to commit to housing, feeding, training, modifying behaviors, and loving one of our adorable puppies for 16 months. That means that from 2-18 months old, you will receive free vet care, free assistance with behavioral issues, free boarding, and most of all, free training at our world-class training facility in Columbus, Ohio. We proudly commit to providing you with the most comprehensive guide dog development experience that is far beyond mere “puppy raising.” We realize that the dog’s most important and impressionable periods are the early months and we intend to capitalize on that with your help.

Regardless of the quality of breeding, a pup has little chance of becoming a guide dog unless it is raised in a home and accustomed to playing with children, meeting strangers, having the opportunity to be near traffic, and go through an obedience course.

Pups are placed into homes at 8 to 10 weeks of age. They will be kept in the home until they are 12 to 14 months of age or until requested back by Pilot Dogs, Inc. We will supply a leash, martingale collar, and a Nylabone. We provide a Puppy Raiser Manual and a Health Card for each pup, require progress reports to be kept updated while the Puppy Raiser has the pup.

Pilot Dogs provides on-campus obedience and veterinary care. If you are unable to use our on-campus services, Pilot Dogs Inc. will pay for all veterinary expenses and up to $100 for a pre-approved force-free obedience course.

The pup is raised in the home as a pet, much as you would your own dog. This will have a very important effect on its future as a guide dog. Housebreaking is normally an easy job at this age. We ask that the pup become accustomed to walking on a leash at an early age and that it has frequent opportunities to take walks.
The pup should be socialized and exposed as much as possible. To help expose the pup to traffic (large and small), it can be walked around busy streets, neighborhoods, and parking lots. Socializing the pup with men, women, and children can be done by walking around parks and neighborhoods. The pup should be exposed to other animals in the area, even on a farm, whenever possible. We want the pup to become accustomed to seeing these animals so that they will be comfortable working around them.