Urgent Need for Volunteer Puppy Raisers at 4 Paws for Ability

4 Paws for Ability, Inc, a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that places service dogs for children and veterans around the globe, has an urgent need for puppy raisers.

Overview of Puppy Raising

Our Puppy Raiser program puts service puppies in training into homes for basic socialization, house manners, and obedience training until they are ready to return for advance training (between the ages of 9-12 months old). The greatest need is for puppy raisers interested in the complete volunteer experience, picking up a puppy between ages 8-12 weeks and raising that puppy until advanced training; however, we also have short-term options as well. We also have opportunities for weekend, evening, and short-term puppy sitters ranging from caring for a dog for a couple of days to a number of months for those who are unable to make the full-time commitment. In addition to our huge need for homes for young puppies, we also have a big need for the dogs that are in advanced training to spend their evenings and weekends with a family or individual. They come to 4 Paws School while one is at work.


After our puppies are born, they spend time together with their mom at our facility getting basic exposure to people, sights, and sounds. Even with the level of great care that our staff take in preparing the pups for their future careers, 4 Paws needs community partnerships with local families and individuals to make placing service dogs a success. 4 Paws utilizes homes in the community who volunteer to take care of a puppy, teach them basic obedience, house manners and socialize them in public.

Our Puppy Raisers are volunteers; however, there is minimal/no expense to the family to become a puppy raiser. 4 Paws provides all veterinary care through our facility vet staff, dog food from 4 Paws, and a startup set of supplies including: crate, leash, collar, tags, vest, and preventative care such as monthly heartworm and flea control. Grooming care for doodles and poodles can be provided as well. Most families do spoil their puppy charges with 4 Paws approved treats and toys, and 4 Paws always appreciates families who are willing to provide supplies themselves at their cost.

The most important aspect of puppy raising is socialization! Our volunteers introduce their 4 Paws puppy to at least one new experience or place every single week. Puppies need to experience a wide variety of places, including: grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, and more on their quest to become a service dog. They need to meet a wide variety of people, including: tall people, short people, people with special needs, people in uniforms, and most importantly LOTS OF KIDDOS! They need to hear a wide variety of sounds, including: an emergency siren, a voice over an intercom, musical instruments, etc. They need to see a wide variety of new experiences, including: a forklift, kids on a playground, a parade with costumed characters, etc. All of these new and unique experiences build a foundation of comfort and confidence for a growing service puppy and are necessary to their development.

Puppy raisers are also vital to helping puppies learn in home manners. While the dog is in the foster home the family will begin the housebreaking process and help the puppy understand where and when to potty. They also help the puppy to learn how to be quiet in a kennel, what are appropriate items to chew, how to nicely greet people, etc.

Puppy Raisers provide 4 Paws with an assessment each month of the dog's personality, willingness to learn, and any potential problems/concerns they might see in the dog along with the dog's strengths. While the puppy is with their Puppy Raiser, the family works hard to help discover the skills and character of the puppy by constantly evaluating strengths and weaknesses, socialization experiences (through weekly reports), personality, housebreaking success, and the mastery of basic obedience. Each Puppy Raiser attends lessons once a month provided through 4 Paws and taught by our experienced staff who are prepared to provide you with support and direction!

Would one of our adorable puppies fit perfectly in your home? Would you love make a difference in the life of a child or veteran? Perhaps becoming a 4 Paws Puppy Raiser is right for you! Email puppyraiser@4pawsforability.org or check out http://4pawsforability.org/puppy-raiser/