Become a Puppy Raiser

How to Become a Puppy Raiser

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.

1 Step 1
Pupper Raiser/Sitter Application

This application is for people interested in becoming a Full-Time Puppy Raiser, Co-Raiser, or a Puppy Sitter.

Type of Residence
Yardpick one!
I am interested in

*This opportunity will be On-Call. Volunteers must be within a 1-hour drive of campus and be able to pick-up and drop-off the dog. Pick-up and drop-off times are M-F 8 am-5 pm.

Are you able to take the dog to work/school with you?
What breed are you willing to house?Please pick all that apply
Would you be able to bring the dog to obedience class on Pilot Dogs Campus?Usually offered on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays


I understand Pilot Dogs, Inc. will provide a puppy, a martingale collar, a leash, and veterinarian expenses.  Pilot Dogs, Inc. will pay the veterinarian directly for reasonable expenses incurred upon the veterinarian forwarding the bills to Pilot Dogs, Inc.  I will agree to notify Pilot Dogs, Inc. PRIOR to the event of serious illness, injury or extensive treatment exceeding $100 (one hundred dollars).  Pilot Dogs, Inc. will then reimburse me upon receipt of the bill. 
I wish to raise a puppy for Pilot Dogs, Inc.  I agree to give the puppy love and attention.  I will raise the puppy in the house and when convenient, take it with me on short car trips.  I will try to familiarize the puppy with people of all ages and in varied situations.  In addition to walking the puppy regularly on a leash, I will participate with the puppy in a formal obedience course when the puppy is six months of age.  The cost for the obedience course must be pre-approved by Pilot Dogs, Inc.  I will keep accurate records of the puppy’s rate of growth, personality traits, medical expenses, and training received.  These records will be available for review and analysis by a 4-H Advisor, Extension Staff, and Pilot Dogs, Inc. during the year and at the time the puppy is returned to Pilot Dogs, Inc.

When the puppy is approximately 12-14 months of age or as requested by Pilot Dogs, Inc., I will return the animal to Pilot Dogs, Inc. to begin extensive training as a dog guide.  Pilot dogs, Inc. will notify me of the successful completion of the training of the puppy.  Puppy raisers will be provided a photograph of the new handler and the dog.  In the event the puppy does not successfully qualify as a dog guide, it is the policy of Pilot Dogs, Inc. to return the dog to its original donor.  It is further agreed by myself and Pilot Dogs, Inc. that I shall be responsible for accidents that may occur to the dog.