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Open Your Heart & Home to An IHDI Puppy


Raise a Puppy and Change a Life

Have you ever seen a service dog working studiously alongside their handler in public and wonder how they learned to be so confident in any situation, reliable in their work, and keep their tail wagging, all at the same time? 

Well what if we told you that it was because of someone just like you that raised that service dog since they were a puppy. 

Puppy raisers open their homes and their hearts to teach a puppy the fundamentals of basic manners and house breaking, expose the puppy to positive interactions and give them a loving and enriching home during their puppy life. Being a puppy raiser is a long and challenging project but the reward of giving someone their independence, confidence and life back with a service dog that you raised will be priceless.

Check out the process and apply to see if you could raise the next generation of service dogs!

Process to become a Puppy Raiser:

  • Read the Puppy Raiser job description and FAQs
  • Fill out a Puppy Raiser application
  • Interview with IHDI's Pup Raiser Coordinator
  • Have a home visit, conducted by IHDI staff, with people and pets living in the home
  • Do a background check (for serious crimes; $20 paid by the volunteer)
  • Participate in our orientation and once weekly pup-raising classes to learn our positive reinforcement approach from our highly skilled trainers; we strive to accommodate schedules and locations of raisers
Expecations of a Puppy Raiser

To maximize the potential of successfully entering advanced training, the volunteer Puppy Raiser teaches the puppy basic skills, house manners, and crucial socialization by providing a nurturing and enriched upbringing. Get the full volunteer job description here.

  • Provide love, support, training, socialization and an invaluable in-home experience for an IHDI puppy for 9 to 12 months.
  • Provide a safe, secure, loving home with appropriate food, toys, and crate.
  • Keep the puppy well-groomed and healthy.
  • Teach the puppy basic skills and appropriate behavior using IHDI’s cues and techniques.
  • Promote confidence in the puppy and an eagerness to work through positive reinforcement.
  • Follow International Hearing Dog’s procedures and guidelines.
  • Attend puppy classes once a week.
  • Provide age appropriate outings and experiences for socialization.


What does being a Puppy Raiser mean to you?

IHDI Puppy Raiser, Isabella gave us the scoop on what it means to her to be a Puppy Raiser for hearing dog hopeful Enzo. “Being a puppy raiser means a lot of things to me. To start out with, I get a sense of fulfillment that I can give back to the community. I know that providing Enzo with a safe, loving, and caring home will create a space for someone in the future with a hearing disability to be able to live the life they want. Next, I get to bring awareness to the community about service dogs through Instagram and by talking to my peers. Lastly, being a puppy raiser also lets me fill the void of not having a dog around. Dogs bring me a lot of happiness and it is always a good feeling that whatever is happening, one can always rely on a dog to cheer them up. For those reasons, being a puppy raiser has been the best thing to happen to me this year!”