For specific questions about puppy raising, we recommend the Puppy Raising FAQ from Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Do guide dog puppies ever get to play?

Portola and Nylabone

Portola at home with a Nylabone

Yes! Guide dog puppies have a work life and a play life. During the day our puppies are trained to be calm and well-behaved in a variety of environments. At home the work jacket and head collar come off and a puppy plays with his or her favorite toys as well as his or her raiser.

Is a guide dog puppy considered a service animal?

A guide dog puppy is not a service animal. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as a dog specially trained for a specific service paired with a person in need of that service. A guide dog puppy is not specially trained until he or she completes training with a California board-certified guide dog instructor.

Will my landlord or office allow a guide dog puppy?

Reann at the office

Reann under the desk at the office.

Some rental agreements and homeowners association allow pets up to a specific size or weight. Labrador retriever puppies used by Guide Dogs for the Blind typically weigh about 50 pounds at maturity for a female, 60 pounds at maturity for a male. Check your rental agreement or home owners association documents for specifics related to your living situation.

Guide Dogs for the Blind breeds its labrador retrievers for a calm and pleasant demeanor. Raisers are trained in the proper handling of their puppy in a variety of environments including excitable situations. Our puppies are generally well-behaved and paired with a responsible handler, which sometimes helps with both living and work situations. Puppy raisers prepare their puppies for a long career as an active guide including comfort in a home and work environment. Some landlords and office managers are more comfortable with a puppy in training than a typical pet and supportive of the puppy’s career aspirations. Talk to members of our group for more information specific to your situation.

I have a pet dog at home, can I still raise a puppy?

Well-behaved pet dogs can often co-exist with a guide dog puppy in training. A group leader will assess your home environment and suggest possible changes for guide dog consideration during your home visit.

I can’t raise a puppy right now, but how can I be involved?

If you are interested in raising a puppy with us at a later date or are available to puppy-sit for a shorter periods of time we encourage you to start attending meetings. By attending you’ll gain knowledge about our training procedures, practice handling dogs, and get to know the other members of the group.