Become a Volunteer Puppy Raiser

Service dogs aren’t just born, they’re raised.

family of four holding canine companions puppy

>> Get a jump start on your puppy raising application by completing the puppy raising application request.

Canine Companions volunteer puppy raisers provide specially-bred puppies a safe home, take them to obedience classes, serve up a healthy diet, provide socialization opportunities and give lots of love.

Each hour spent caring for a Canine Companions puppy is vital to its development as a future service dog. The puppy raising program provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to assist with our very important mission.

If you are under the age of 18, you must have a parent or legal guardian fill out the application and you can sign on as a co-applicant.

Raise a puppy, change a life.

As a volunteer puppy raiser, we ask you to meet the following requirements:

  • Provide a safe environment for a puppy who will be the only dog under 12 months old in the house.
  • Work closely with Canine Companions to monitor the puppy’s progress and submit monthly reports.
  • Attend an average of two Canine Companions approved classes per month.
  • Teach the puppy manners and basic skills.
  • Provide for the puppy’s food, veterinary expenses and puppy classes.
  • Transport the dog to the regional training center at the projected turn-in time.
  • Feed the puppy a diet recommended by Canine Companions.
  • Acquire and utilize a kennel or crate for sleeping indoors.
  • Provide the puppy with age-appropriate socialization opportunities, such as public outings and veterinary appointments.
  • Keep the puppy on a leash at all times, unless supervised in a securely fenced area.
  • Supervise the young puppy throughout the day.
easy step infographic to become a volunteer

Apply to Volunteer

Volunteer in the North Central Region
(West of Pittsburgh, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota)

Volunteer in the Northeast Region
(New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine)

Volunteer in the Northwest Region
(Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska)

Volunteer in the South Central Region
(Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana)

Volunteer in the Southeast Region
(Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama)

Volunteer in the Southwest Region
(Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Southern California, Southern Nevada, Hawaii)

black labrador puppy sitting in grass

Volunteer Puppy Raiser FAQs

Get a jump start on your puppy raising application by completing the puppy raising application request.

Canine Companions has been providing service dogs to people with disabilities since 1975. You can help us unite people with trained service dogs in a powerful program that leads to greater independence. Every service dog starts as a puppy that needs a loving home. You can raise a dog and change a life. Volunteer puppy raising is an incredible way to help adults, children and veterans with disabilities as well as professionals working in a health care, visitation, criminal justice or education settings live more independent lives.

Check out our Puppy Raiser FAQs >>

Canine Companions puppy in the grass

Prison Puppy Raising Program

The Canine Companions prison puppy raising program has made great strides since its inception in 1995 at the Coffee Creek Correctional Center in Wilsonville, Oregon. It has expanded to include 13 facilities throughout the United States, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Learn More About the Prison Puppy Raising Program >>

Group of Collegiate Puppy Raisers and the Canine Companions puppies they are raising

Collegiate Puppy Raising

There are currently over 18 colleges and universities involved in the Canine Companions collegiate puppy raising program. Volunteer puppy raisers gain valuable skills including puppy handling, canine care, early socialization and much more.

The dedication of our collegiate puppy raisers helps Canine Companions provide life-changing assistance dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities free of charge.

Raise a puppy, change a life!

Want to start a club at your college? Learn more >>