Volunteer Puppy Raiser FAQs

K9s For Warriors is dedicated to providing service canines to our Warriors suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and/or Military Sexual Trauma as a result of military service post-9/11.

Volunteer puppy raisers provide K9s For Warriors puppies a safe home, take them to puppy training classes, give a healthy diet, provide socialization opportunities and give tons of love. You can raise a dog and change a warrior’s life by empowering them to return to civilian life with dignity and independence.

We are the nation's largest provider of Service Dogs for disabled American veterans.­

General Questions

We have puppy raisers, campers/sitters and fosters: A puppy ‘raiser’ will usually raise the puppy until s/he is about 16 months. A raiser is the primary care-giver for the puppy and ensures that training, socializing, and medical needs are met. A puppy ‘camper’ or ‘sitter’ is a volunteer who babysits a puppy for a raiser when the raiser needs some personal time that does not include the puppy. For example, if a raiser is going on vacation and can’t take the puppy, a camper will be called to step in for a short period of time to temporarily raise the puppy. A ‘foster’ is a volunteer who may raise a puppy for a few weeks to a few months. A foster usually gets an older puppy under 3 years old. A foster puppy may need socialization, medical care, or some final training. All volunteer raisers, campers, and fosters will be trained by K9FW and must attend at least 4 human classes to ensure that all puppies are trained in a consistent manner. In this manual, any reference to ‘raiser’ includes ‘campers’ and ‘fosters’.
The Dog qualifications are no shorter than 24” tall from the floor to the top of the shoulders while standing and must be 50+ lbs and no older than 3 years of age. We do not accept any pure-bred dogs of the following breeds: Doberman Pinchers, Dalmatians, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Chow Chows, Giant breeds (such as Great Danes, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, Great Pyrenese, and Cane Corsos) Huskies or Hounds.
We obtain puppies from shelters, rescue organizations, private donors and area breeders.
We strongly prefer that our puppy raiser homes have a fenced yard. Puppy raisers must agree to follow our supervision and leash requirements. Puppies must not be off leash at any time unless in an enclosed area. We don’t allow use of electric fencing.
You will be required to attend one puppy raiser class per month at Camp K9 with our K9 Trainers. There are also additional training exercises at public places. You are expected to practice what you learn in class at home with your puppy.
It is important that puppies are permitted to play. The puppy should be provided with a daily schedule that includes an appropriate amount of time for exercise and leisure. Dogs should not be exercised prior to meals or drinking water. And we recommend waiting at least 45 minutes to an hour after eating before letting puppy exercise.
You must be at least 18-years-old.
You must be able to take the puppy to your workplace in an air-conditioned, office environment. The puppy must remain with you at all times either in a crate, play pen or leash on and/or tethered to you. If you cannot take the puppy to work with you, there must be someone above 18 years of age, who will raise/supervise the puppy while you are at work.
This is not permitted. The puppy must be under your supervision at all times.
A puppy ‘camper’ or ‘sitter’ is a volunteer who babysits a puppy for a raiser when the raiser needs some personal time that does not include the puppy. For example, if a raiser is going on vacation and can’t take the puppy, a camper will be called to step in for a short period of time to temporarily raise the puppy.
Always supervise children and puppies when they are interacting, whether inside or out; Teach children to pet the puppy gently, especially around the puppy’s head and face.
Introducing the puppy to other pets in your home is very important. We want the first association with your pets to be a positive one. We will provide you with detailed techniques on how to introduce the puppy to family dogs and/or cats.
All volunteer raisers, campers, and fosters will be trained by K9FW and must attend at least 4 human classes to ensure that all puppies are trained in a consistent manner. There are monthly group training classes where you train with the puppy. Puppy raisers also receive a printed manual and starter kit.
Raisers socialize the puppy by taking it to a variety of public places every week, training the puppy a little bit every day, and communicating any concerns to your K9FW puppy program advisor. These puppies need to be people-oriented, and they need to see as many real-world situations as possible during the first 16 months of their life.
Positive reinforcement: our puppies are rewarded for good behavior and learning the cues.
If you can no longer care for the puppy the puppy will go to an available puppy raiser to finish out the training.
If you focus on the mission, that you are training a puppy to become an elite service dog for a veteran in need, it puts things into perspective. Volunteer puppy raising is an incredible way to help give our military veterans A New Leash on Life. Puppy raised dogs save lives! And without you, we couldn’t do it.
Puppy raisers will be informed when their puppy will be in a graduating class just before graduation. Puppy raisers and their families are invited to attend, and usually, the raisers get an opportunity to meet their Warrior and say their final good-byes to the puppy they worked so hard to raise.
Training, veterinary care, puppy food, and training equipment is at no cost to you.
K9s For Warriors will make the final decision for the placement of the dog.

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