Puppy Walking Program

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind places puppies with foster families at approximately 8 weeks of age.  The volunteers are called puppy walkers, but are also sometimes referred to as puppy raisers.  Puppy walkers commit to 12-18 months of volunteering.  Their role is to socialize the puppies and introduce them to as many different everyday environments as possible.  Socialization begins in the home, slowly advances to quiet residential areas, and gradually works up to other places including restaurants, shopping areas, public transit, and elevators.  The program is supervised by staff of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.

The first formative year is of vital importance in the temperamental and physical growth of a young dog and all activities with a puppy should be directed to the development of habits and characteristics that form the basis of a guide dog.

The puppy stays with the family for 12 to 18 months before entering into formal training to become a guide dog at the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.

An image of a yellow lab puppys face looking up to the left

Puppy Walking Program

an image of a golden retriever, yellow labrador puppy laying in the grass with its tongue out

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind places puppies with foster families at approximately 8 weeks of age.  The volunteers are called puppy walkers, but are also sometimes referred to as puppy raisers.  Puppy walkers commit to 12-18 months of volunteering.  Their role is to socialize the puppies and introduce them to as many different everyday environments as possible.  Socialization begins in the home, slowly advances to quiet residential areas, and gradually works up to other places including restaurants, shopping areas, public transit, and elevators.  The program is supervised by staff of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.

The first formative year is of vital importance in the temperamental and physical growth of a young dog and all activities with a puppy should be directed to the development of habits and characteristics that form the basis of a guide dog.

The puppy stays with the family for 12 to 18 months before entering into formal training to become a guide dog at the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Do You Want to Raise a Puppy?

If you are interested in the Puppy Walking Program you must meet the following criteria:

Do You Want to Raise a Puppy?

If you are interested in the Puppy Walking Program you must meet the following criteria:

Commitment

You must be willing to make a 12 to 18 month commitment, with the understanding that you are encouraged to take the dog with you nearly everywhere you go.

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Homecare

One adult in the home is assigned as the volunteer. This person has to be home most of the day or have permission to take the dog to work or a post-secondary school.

Applicants for puppy walking must be 18+

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An image of a yellow labrador puppy wearing a red guide dog training jacket
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Meetings

The volunteer must have the ability to attend monthly meetings with a program supervisor. These meetings are at a mutually scheduled time, but during business hours.

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Transportation

You must have your own means of transportation to attend meetings, veterinary appointments, and obedience classes.

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Location

Our active areas are:
Ottawa, Ontario (2 hour radius)
Toronto, Ontario (east end only)
Trenton, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario

Commitment

You must be willing to make a 12 to 18 month commitment, with the understanding that you are encouraged to take the dog with you nearly everywhere you go.

Homecare

One adult in the home is assigned as the volunteer.  This person has to be home most of the day or have permission to take the dog to work or a post-secondary school.

Meetings

The volunteer must have the ability to attend monthly meetings with a program supervisor. These meetings are at a mutually scheduled time, but during business hours.

Transportation

You must have your own means of transportation to attend meetings, veterinary appointments, and obedience classes.

Location

Our active areas are:
Ottawa, Ontario (2 hour radius)
Toronto, Ontario (east end only)
Trenton, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario

An image of a yellow labrador puppy wearing a red guide dog training jacket

If you meet the basic criteria, as above, and would like to apply for the Puppy Walking Program, you are requested to attend a 60-minute virtual Puppy Walking Information Session. Sign up below or phone (613) 692-7777.

Puppy Walking Information Sessions take place virtually on Zoom. Select and submit your session. We’ll send you an invitation for the Zoom session by email prior to the selected date. (Remember to check your junk or spam folder).

    Select and submit your session.  Puppy Walking Information Sessions take place at the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind at 4120 Rideau Valley Drive North, Manotick, Ontario.  If circumstances change and you need to cancel your attendance, please phone (613) 692-7777.