"When I grow up I will be a Hero. Can you help me?”

We need kind families who are willing to foster an Irish Guide Dogs puppy from age 7-8 weeks to 12-15 months.

What is a Puppy Raiser?

Puppy Raisers foster one of our puppies from age 7-8 weeks until approximately 12-15 months.

At seven weeks old our puppies begin their journey to becoming a Guide Dog for a person who is vision impaired, or an Assistance Dog for a family of a child with autism. This journey starts in the homes of our Puppy Raising Volunteers.

The puppy will live with your family in your home. Under the direction of our Early Training Team puppies learn basic rules and obedience. At approximately 14 months they move into our Training Centre with our highly skilled trainers and the hard work towards graduating as a Guide Dog begins.

What’s involved?

Experience with obedience training dogs would be an advantage. This is a full-time volunteering role. Living in a Volunteer’s home is crucial to the development of the puppy.

You will have a designated person to advise you from our Early Training Team who will provide you with the training and support necessary to educate your puppy. Your goal is to raise your puppy to become well-mannered and socialised. The training you give your puppy is an essential foundation for their future success.

Where does the Puppy Raising Programme operate?

Our Puppy Raising Programme is currently available in the following areas: Cork, Limerick, Tralee, Killarney, Waterford, Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, Athlone.

How do we support our Puppy Raisers?

We host a variety of practical workshops for Puppy Raisers to aid their    knowledge and assist them with dog handling skills.

Our Early Training Team work closely with each Puppy Raiser, keeping in regular contact and visiting to monitor the puppy’s progress – all to enable our volunteer Puppy Raiser to successfully socialise their puppy.

All veterinary fees and feeding costs are covered by Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.

What are the benefits of being a Puppy Raiser?

  • The challenge and reward of seeing a puppy develop in your home
  • The satisfaction that you have had a pivotal role in providing Guide and Assistance Dogs that enable people with a vision impairment or families of a child with autism to enjoy the same freedom and independence as everyone else
  • Opportunity to learn new dog training skills from our Early Training Team.

What are the requirements?

  • Other dogs in the home are fine once they are sociable and neutered.
  • The puppy must not be left alone for more than four hours.
  • You must have access to a secured outdoor area.
  • Children in the home must be over five years of age.
  • You must be 18 years or older, but the whole family can get involved.

Which kinds of people make ideal Puppy Raisers?

Retired people and families with children generally make good Puppy Raisers, but anyone can apply, and having pets doesn’t necessarily exclude people.  The important thing is that the person is able to spend time caring for and teaching the puppy.

How do I apply?

Please complete the Volunteer Application Form and a member of our Early Training Team will contact you shortly to discuss the role in more detail. If you would like to talk to one of our team please call 1850 506 300 or email volunteer@guidedogs.ie

Puppy Raiser Zita O’Brien

After years of her son begging for a puppy, Zita O’Brien from Dublin compromised and took on a Guide Dog-in-training “just for a year” to see if they could commit to a family pet.

Read more

Puppy Raiser Jackie Austin

“Knowing that Jerry is going to change someone’s life makes it all worth it.”

Read more

Volunteer Application Form










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