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Become a Guide Dogs Puppy Raiser.

Nurturing puppies as they grow into Guide Dogs.
Two eight week old puppies, one yellow and one carmel, sitting outside next to each other on a path. They are both looking at the camera.

What is involved in raising a puppy?

We could not complete our valuable work without you, our existing and potential Puppy Raisers. You undertake a vital commitment and your contribution is invaluable. Without the efforts of Puppy Raisers, we would not be able to train the Guide Dogs who provide essential companionship and independence for so many people.

When you raise a puppy, you’ll receive ongoing support and instructions. We’ll regularly provide direction and support via telephone conversations and visits every four to six weeks.

The main goal of the program is to nurture puppies so they become well socialised, confident and not readily distracted. If they meet assessment criteria when they return to us, they will join a five month training program before being matched with a person with low vision.

We are now offering six-month Puppy Raising volunteer opportunities.

If you are unable to commit to raising a puppy for the whole 12 months, you may like to opt for a six-month commitment. You have the option to care for an 8-week-old puppy until they are 8 months of age, or take an 8-month-old puppy until their assessment at approximately 14-16 months of age.

Those who live regionally or who are home throughout the day may be more suited to raising an 8-week-old puppy, while those who live in the inner-Melbourne area and who work in an office or use public transport may be a good match for an older puppy. You will be able to find out more at an information session after submitting your application.

An eight week old black labrador puppy looking at the camera whilst its front paws are perched on a ledge. The puppy is outside and a person is supporting the puppy.

Do I meet the Puppy Raising Criteria?

It requires enormous dedication. Volunteers need to:

  • Live in metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo or Ballarat.
  • Have written approval from your estate agent that you are able to have a dog if you live in a rental property.
  • Dedicate time. Puppies should not be left alone for more than three hours a day.
  • If you need to take your puppy to work, get written approval from your employer that you have permission to do so.
  • Provide care. Puppies need lots of attention to enable successful house training and socialisation.
  • Have a moderate fitness level and be physically healthy enough to manage the physical, emotional and cognitive demands of the role. Read more.
  • Visit our campus for vet appointments and Puppy Raising classes on weekdays during business hours.
  • Meet during business hours with our Puppy Development Advisors as required.
  • Provide a safe environment for the puppy. This includes appropriate fencing around gardens and pools.
  • Have the use of a registered and insured passenger vehicle, and be licensed to drive in Victoria.
  • Allow the puppy to sleep indoors.
A mother and young child outside smiling at the camera. The young child is standing behind the mother with their hands on her back.

Any children in the household should be of school age (five years) or older. Any family pets need to be fully vaccinated and wormed, and be compatible with a Guide Dog puppy.

If you already have two dogs living on your property, please check with your local council regarding multiple pet permits.

If you do not meet the criteria required to raise a puppy, there are other ways you can get involved, including:


Apply to raise a puppy


Volunteer and Puppy Raiser Application Form

Page 1

Personal Information
I understand that I will be required:
- To participate in an interview, selection process, reference check and complete an induction program
To undertake a background check which consists of a police check and working with children check

In line with Government requirements and Guide Dogs Victoria policy, all registered, active volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to undertake volunteer duties.
Areas of Interest and Availability

Page 2

Apply to be a Puppy Raiser

Please ensure you read and understand the requirements of becoming a Puppy Raiser before proceeding with your application.

Your Home Environment

If you have a dog, it must be friendly, fully vaccinated and interact well with other dogs and no more than 2 pet dogs.

Page 3

Personal Information

Please call us to

Contact Details

Emergency Contact Information


Page 4


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Become a Temp Carer

Temp Carers are generally needed during times when many of our Puppy Raising families and staff take holidays – such as school holidays – and we need extra support from the community.

The requirements of a Temp Carer are similar to that of a Puppy Raiser, but it will depend on the age of the pup you are matched with. Our pups range from 8 weeks to 16 months.

It is a great way for you to test out if Puppy Raising (for a full 12 month period) is for you. This temporary arrangement will give you a taste of what it’s like having a pup around your house, and what it involved in Puppy Raising! Our puppies requiring temporary care range in age from 8 weeks to 16 months.

Temp Carers are required for periods ranging from 1 week to 3 months.

Temp Carers play a huge part in a puppy’s life as it’s important for them to get to know and trust many different people. This will be a big part of their future job!

Complete the form above to apply.

An eight week old caramel puppy being held by a person whilst outside. The puppy's mouth is wide open and looking at the camera.


Every Puppy Raiser is partnered with a Puppy Raising Development Advisor.

The Advisor’s role is to provide professional puppy training advice and ongoing support for Puppy Raisers throughout the raising experience.

Our Advisors are experts in the field of puppy behaviour and personal interactions. They have helped thousands of puppies ‘grow up’ over the years. As a result, you can be confident of receiving expert professional advice from the team, and the highest quality support in every situation.

Peer-to-peer support is also available for first-time Puppy Raisers, with insight and collaboration from current Puppy Raisers who are specially recruited and trained for this purpose. Peer-support-trained Raisers are able to offer a friendly ear to first-time Raisers when they need somebody to talk to.

Additionally, our large network can provide a temporary home for your puppy should you need to go on a short holiday or leave your home briefly for other reasons.  

We cannot thank Puppy Raisers enough for your commitment of love, time and effort. Every Raiser makes an enormous contribution by raising a puppy that will change someone’s life.

We understand that returning puppies to Guide Dogs Victoria for training can be a difficult and emotional experience. It’s natural to get attached to your puppy as they become an important part of your family. Remember that while your puppy might be important to you, he or she is essential to a person with low vision or blindness.

When your puppy returns to Guide Dogs Victoria they are welcomed by a special group of volunteers. The team provides a week of intensive love and care to every returning puppy to help them transition from your home to this new environment. This program ensures every puppy is happy, well-adjusted and ready for Guide Dog training.

By giving each puppy the best possible start at life, you give them an incredible gift: the opportunity to partner with a person and change their life for the better.

Still, it’s always hard to say goodbye. For this reason, some people choose to get another puppy straight away. We can make reservations to ensure you have another puppy ready for placement and to partake in their exciting journey towards becoming a Guide Dog.

If you feel you meet the necessary criteria and are committed to helping us raise a Guide Dog puppy, we would love to hear from you.

Please complete the Puppy Raiser form above.

All volunteers will be required to undergo a police check prior to starting with Guide Dogs Victoria, and a renewal police check every three years thereafter. This will be undertaken by Guide Dogs Victoria personnel. We also require volunteers to hold a current Working with Children’s check.

Your online application will be reviewed by the Puppy Development Department within seven business days.

Successful applicants will be invited to an information session to learn more about this challenging and rewarding commitment.

Remember, if we do not have any Puppy Raiser spots available, you can always support Guide Dog puppies by making a tax-deductible donation. Donations are used to buy play kits, comfy beds, puppy vaccination packs, and more.

Other ways to get involved

There are so many ways to get involved and support the Guide Dogs community. If Puppy Raising isn’t right for you, you could consider:

A yellow eight week old labrador puppy sitting with two dog toys next to it.

Become a Puppy Pal today

Donate monthly to follow the newest litter of pups, name future Guide Dog puppies and more!