Puppy Raisers: Who Are They and What Do They Do?

Puppy Raisers: Who Are They and What Do They Do?

How does a cute, nine-week-old puppy go from just learning their name to being ready to learn specialized tasks for their future partner? Puppy raisers are the key.

Susquehanna Service Dogs relies on a network of volunteer puppy raisers to prepare its assistance dogs in training for their first 15-18 months. That first year and a half is where a lot of learning takes place.

Jamie Leese and SSD Marshal

What do puppy raisers do?

From the time a raiser brings a soft, snuggly little puppy home, they’re teaching them valuable skills to become an assistance dog. Using clicker training, a positive reinforcement training method, raisers teach the puppies good house manners and over twenty different cues, as well as take the puppies out in public to experience different environments.

Raisers take the puppies to class and specially organized outings, where SSD provides guidance in training various cues and behaviors.

While raisers are responsible for providing food, treats, and toys, SSD covers the cost of all veterinary care

Jamie Leese and SSD Marshal
VIP Kasha and raisers

Who can be a puppy raiser?

Anyone with the desire to make a difference can be a puppy raiser! No experience is necessary because SSD teaches raisers everything they need to know. Anyone living within an hour of Grantville, Malvern, or State College in Pennsylvania can apply.

Do you have pets or other animals? Great! Being around other animals is a wonderful experience for SSD’s dogs in training.

Don’t have a fenced-in yard? No worries! A fence is not required, although SSD dogs must be leashed when not in a fenced-in area.

Do you live in an apartment/single family home/townhouse? Do you live in the city, suburbs, or on a farm? Fantastic! All these living situations provide SSD’s dogs in training with valuable experiences.

VIP Armstrong, VIP Luther, and raisers

Why raise a puppy?

Raising a puppy is life changing. During the entire process, every time a raiser takes an assistance dog in training out in public, they’re helping to educate the community about assistance dog etiquette, accessibility, and inclusion.

And perhaps most importantly, assistance dogs give their partners the confidence to do things they didn’t think were possible.

Susquehanna Service Dogs’ puppy raisers are amazing! We appreciate everything they do to help puppies become life-changing assistance dogs. Thank you for opening your homes. Thank you for raising our puppies. Thank you for embracing our mission and making a difference!

Join the SSD puppy raiser community!

VIP Armstrong, VIP Luther, and raisers