Puppy Raisers

Well-raised puppies are the lifeblood of our organization and it can start with you!

Our Puppy Raisers not only love dogs, but more importantly, they want to give someone in need the gift of independence.

How does it work?

As a volunteer “foster family” you will be teaching the puppy about love, trust, bravery, basic obedience, and socialization. You’ll take your pup just about everywhere you go: to movies, church, theme parks, bowling, restaurants, stores and malls. You’ll use public transportation like buses, trains, and airplanes. They can go with you on vacations. You’ll expose them to all the things they could encounter as a working service dog, so they become confident and comfortable in any situation.

Puppies are constantly learning during their first year of life! You’ll enjoy attending our specialized training classes and outings along with other Puppy Raisers in order to learn to teach your puppy basic obedience commands like sit, down, stay, heel, and come.

Becoming a volunteer Puppy Raiser for a future service dog is a 15 to 18 month-long commitment of time, energy, and love. Every day through care and training, Puppy Raisers provide the critical foundation that puppies need to begin formal service dog training. There are few things in this world more heart-warming than seeing your puppy work seamlessly with its disabled handler knowing that you’ve given someone a level of independence that she or he did not have before.

Additional Details

  • Da2pp & Bordetella
  • Reimbursement of spay/neuter up to a certain amount (To be discussed upon placement)
  • Training equipment
  • Provide tools for raisers to be successful
  • Provide monthly flea medications
  • Provide microchip
  • Provide routine vet care at your expense
  • Have dog spayed/neutered and given rabies vaccine when instructed
  • Get approval before taking puppy to vet or on trips
  • Attend at least 6 outings per year
  • Attend at least 2 group classes a month
  • Notify CST if you are unable to take the puppy where you are going and need to board it 
  • Feed high quality food
  • Administer monthly flea medications
  • Send monthly reports
  • Turn in the dog at estimated due date with all vaccinations up to date and all paperwork
  • Take puppy into public weekly, and report behavioral concerns IMMEDIATELY

As a volunteer Puppy Raiser most, if not all, of your expenses are tax deductible. CST is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, please refer to your tax consultant for detailed information about deductions.

Puppy Raisers are supported by our Canine Support Teams Dog Training staff who arrange monthly events in a variety of settings and provide tips on care, grooming, training and manners. In addition, we offer specialized obedience classes at the CST facility.

All first-time applicants are asked to fill out a Puppy Raiser Application and will be interviewed before a puppy is placed in the home. We prefer that our raisers live in the Southern California area, but exceptions might be made under special circumstances. Children and pets in the household are a plus!

The most important trait of puppy raisers is the dedication to provide daily care to a puppy and consistency in its socializing and training. If you decide to open your home to a puppy, you will receive a Puppy Raising Manual to help you prepare for life with your future service dog.

Puppy Raiser Application

If after submitting your application you do not get a response within one week, please Contact us: 951-301-3625, or cstmain@caninesupportteams.org.

Volunteer Puppy Raisers are the foundation of Canine Support Teams. The Puppy Raiser prepares puppies to become future Service Dogs by establishing positive experiences during early learning. We offer different types of raiser opportunities to best align with your ability to commit to one of our dogs.

  • Traditional Puppy Raiser - Has dog in home from 17 weeks to 12/18 months.
  • Puppy Starter - raising a puppy from 17 weeks to 4/6 months.
  • Canine Socializer - Take a puppy or adult dog for a limited time commitment to provide house manners and socialization.
  • Puppy Sitter - Occasional watching of a puppy or adult dog.
  • Canine Flings - Take a puppy or adult dog out on weekend/vacation adventures with you and yours.

Participation and communication:

  • Local raisers must attend a minimum of 1 group training class per month at our Murrieta facility
  • Non-local raisers must attend a minimum of 1 group virtual training session per month.
  • Raisers must be prepared to attend group socialization outings.
  • Raisers must communicate training & socialization progress and immediately report any issues you may be having during the raising process.

Socialization: Expose the dog to age-appropriate social situations. Raisers agree to ensure the dog is acting appropriately and practicing safe handling in public.

Requirements: Volunteer raisers must commit to the outlined responsibilities. They must house and care for the puppy until the required turn-in date. Raisers must be willing and able to devote time each today to oversee the complete care of the puppy; feeding, grooming, socialization, and exercise as recommended by Canine Support Teams.

Training: Puppy Classes are offered through Canine Support Teams at our Murrieta Facility for local raisers. Non-local raisers will be asked to attend a pre-approved local basic training class.

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