Guide Dogs is looking for people across Yorkshire to become Puppy Raisers to care for and train guide dog puppies

With more than 100 guide dog puppies to choose from, Guide Dogs is looking for Puppy Raisers in Yorkshire to join its team.

A Black Labrador guide dog pup. (Pic credit: Guide Dogs)

Guide Dogs is eagerly looking for Yorkshire locals to sign up as Puppy Raisers and join its team of volunteers.

Puppy Raisers are needed to take care of and train guide dog puppies through their first 12 to 16 months in 2022.

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What does a Puppy Raiser do?

Volunteers help to improve the lives of people with sight loss.

Responsibilities include:

- Following Guide Dogs Puppy Raising for Excellent Partnerships (PREP) programme, to raise and prepare a puppy to become a guide dog.

- Using the Guide Dogs guidelines to care for your puppy, for example providing the puppy with adequate exercise.

- Exposing a puppy to a variety of environments.

- Teaching a puppy to be alone by gradually transitioning from a few minutes to a maximum of four hours.

- Attending regular puppy classes.

- Meeting regularly with Guide Dogs representatives to discuss your pup’s progress.

- Completing regular online questionnaires to help Guide Dogs monitor puppy progress.

Requirements for this role include having the time, good communication skills, a suitable home to bring up a puppy and being physically capable of handling a puppy which will grow quite quickly.

This is a very important role as it is a crucial part of dog socialisation and training and you will provide the puppy with a vital foundation for its future as a life-changing guide dog.

Guide Dogs is specifically looking for people across the region including Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Barnsley, Sheffield, York, Howden and West Hull and the roles can be found on the Guide Dogs website by typing in your postcode.

Anne Proctor became a Guide Dogs Puppy Raiser in 2020 during lockdown. Puch was her first puppy.

“It’s been a real eye opener being a Puppy Raiser. We really enjoy it as we’ve always had our own dogs and have previously been boarders,” she said.

“While it was initially quite hard work due to lockdown and not being able to take him out as much as he was only 16 weeks, we eventually got into the swing of things with training thanks to our Guide Dogs supervisor.

“We trained Puch to go into supermarkets and not be distracted, took him on buses and trains so he got used to public transport and other people around him, and also taught him how to go up and down stairs in shopping centres.

“Puch is a beautiful dog with a lovely temperament. He knows he is handsome too! We will miss him but we know that we are helping Guide Dogs.”

Linda Conway, volunteering co-ordinator at Guide Dogs, said: “Many people look for new challenges at the start of a new year, so why not think about doing something amazing for people with sight loss?

“Being a Puppy Raiser is such a rewarding role and you really will be making a huge impact in getting our dogs well on their way to becoming life-changers.

“Yes it can be a challenge but it’s also lots of fun and just like Anne, many of our Puppy Raiser volunteers go on to look after several puppies as they love it so much.

“You’ll get the reward of seeing a puppy develop in your home, and the satisfaction that you have had a pivotal role in providing guide dogs that enable people with sight loss to enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else.

“Volunteering is a two-way street, so in return for your time you will get a dedicated Guide Dogs volunteer manager who will help you settle in and support you during your time with us.”