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Puppy Raiser: good idea or am I insane?

June 27th, 2006, 05:46 PM

I've always wanted to "do my part" and help raise/train guide dogs for the blind. Now that I'm old enough and established enough (in my own house with a yard for one, and have my own dog for another), I started looking into this in more detail. I'm unlucky (??) to not live in an area where guide dogs for the blind are trained. However, there are service dogs for people with disabilities and "hearing ear" dogs being raised/trained in this area. I haven't personally seen any, but they must be out there, as this site has people in Calgary.

Anyone else done this? If so, am I insane? Or will it be as rewarding and fun as I think it will be? I know I'll cry when they leave, but I'm hoping it'll be happy tears, knowing that I did a good thing.
I've worked through a lot of major issues with my own dog, as a result of him being abused. I think I got thrown into the deep end of the "difficult dog-training" pool, and having another dog around (even for a little while) will be so good for my dog.

Comments, opinion, thoughts? Anyone who *has* a PADS dog? Share a story?


June 27th, 2006, 06:08 PM
I think it sounds like a great idea and a lot of fun! :D

June 27th, 2006, 06:27 PM
I know a family that fostered a dog for the CNIB.. They did one for a year, and then got a second one not much later. It was so heartbreaking to see them leave after being with them for a year each that they can't do it anymore. I met a new family in the neighbourhood with a 6 month old pup for the CNIB. They are new at it though and haven't been at it long yet.

June 27th, 2006, 07:31 PM
i think it's a big commitment and a huge responsabilty that i would never do with my own pets in the house.imo , i think they need 100% with no major distractions from other pets....not too mention your own pets need your time also....i think that when someone is fostering/training a persons eventual lifeline, imo the best suited are early retirees with the time to devote.

June 28th, 2006, 04:52 PM
I'm worried about "falling" for the dogs, too, but I did work at the Humane Society for 3 years and fell for *lots* of animals. Some I had to watch die, which was really horrible, but lots I got to see going to new homes, and that made me feel really good. It was a little bittersweet, but more sweet--good to know that they were going to make someone's life happier and have a happier life in return. I think I can do the same thing with these puppies, too--I have the advantage of not having kids in the house, so it's only adults' hearts getting involved, not kids. I don't think I could do it to kids--take away their friend, even for a good cause.

They actually recommend that there be other pets in the house. They say no more than 3 other dogs, but no mention of number of cats. They say cats are welcome as they are great for socializing the puppies.

I agree that it's a big responsibility, but the training that the puppies go through when they're with the foster family is just basic training. The "specialized" stuff they learn after, when they go to stay at the kennels and have special, certified trainers teach them vital stuff. My only job would be to socialize, keep them healthy, let them grow and teach them a few basic things (sit, down, stay, leave it, off, etc). Requirements for the blind guide dogs are different--they say that you can't work outside the home, but the PADS dogs allow you to work outside the home, as long as the dog can go with you.

My animals (well, cats mostly) are already well-trained. The only time they *need* during the day is a few minutes to play, a few minutes for grooming and then the time I spend cleaning their boxes and feeding. Wonderful thing about puppies is that they take naps... during which time I can spend quality time with my cats. My dog wouldn't be affected, because all the things I do with him--walks, playtime, grooming, I'd be doing with him and another doggy, so he wouldn't be missing out on anything. Plus I'd have help--my bf helps cuddle and brush the cats when they let him or want him to, and does the litter if I forget or get busy. And I know he'd *love* to go play with a puppy. My dog doesn't play very much, especially not with men, as he was abused by a man so is usually too afraid of getting hurt to let loose and play, even though he knows bf won't hurt him.

Anyhow... keep it coming! I wanna hear all sides of it. I'm not convinced yet either way, and the timing isn't good right now anyhow, so I have time to figure this out.


June 29th, 2006, 12:24 AM
My neice did this.It does ake time and patience training these dogs.Not only do you have the basic commands to teach them,you also need to get them used to so many noises.This means thunder storms,screaming kids,loud cars and motorcycles.You also need to teach them absalutely no jumping up,no chasing birds,squirrels,cats,or whatever else moves.When walking,they cannot pull.They need to be taught the heel command.They also need to be around a tons of things and people.This means shopping malls and restaurants.Yes the pups are allowed in these places.Once they hit a year old,they will be x-rayed to see if there are any hip issues.Yes they do have their trainers,but it makes it much easier on them if the dog knows all this before their training takes place.This is everything my neice had to do.It is hard work,but does pay off in the end.Her guy did pass.But mind you,not all do.

Are you prepared for all this?

June 30th, 2006, 12:27 PM
Somethings, like thunder storms, I can't really do anything about. If they happen, they happen. I can't say "this week I want to expose this dog to thunder" cause it's not that predictible. We do have enough thunder storms that I don't think that'll be an issue. However, I do know some dogs who have developed an irrational fear of hot air balloons... and I can't really do much about that either, as there aren't nearly as many of those around as there used to be. I can try, but no guarantees.

As for teaching a dog to heel, and not jump up, no problem. Taught my dog those things... he actually taught himself to heel. I don't enforce it, because he's little and I don't see the use in having him be "at heel" when we're out walking around. He does jump up sometimes, but I forgive him cause it's only when his separation anxiety kicks in and then I return. He's better about it... knows to sit when he sees me, he just gets too excited sometimes. Now when he does jump up, it's 99% of the time not *on* me, but more like "dancing".

Screaming problem. I have a gf who has 2 kids (7 & 8) and a different friend who has a new baby (5 months old now) and I can make sure the puppies get exposure to both groups, not to mention while we're out shopping or for dinner or at the movies or just walking down the street, there's always kids around... so it won't be an issue. There's also lots of kids on my street, including an 11 yr old (with tons of friends) who lives right next door. I'm sure her and her friends would be more than willing to scream and yell to expose the puppy to noise. Not to mention there's a wonderful huge park in the city that's always full of screaming kids, and it's not far from my house!

Motorcycles, no problem. Two across the street and enough in the community.

Traffic, no problem. I do live in a city of nearly 1 million people, and there's lots of places to find heavy traffic to walk through. I'd even climb down off my suburban pedestal to be a non-driver and expose the doggy to the transit system (nothing more stressful to me than a packed bus!).

Restaurants... no problem. We don't eat out a lot now, but I'd be willing to make that "sacrifice" for a doggy. :)

Movies, malls, grocery stores... all things we do regularly and it's not an issue.

Can you tell I've researched this, know what goes into it and already figured out that I'm prepared to do these things?
Yes I'm prepared to do all these things. I'm prepared to give up my sleep for a few months to take the puppy outside every couple hours to get them house trained. I'm prepared to take a doggy to work (I have a dog-friendly environment), I'm prepared to have another kennel in my bedroom (already have one for my dog), I'm prepared to take them to training sessions, for vet checkups, and on "field trips". I'm prepared to take them camping with me, for hikes in the forest, for walks outside when it's -30 with a windchill. I'm prepared to take them to the vet should they get hurt or sick.

I can do this and I think you just talked me into it (not that I needed much convincing).


June 30th, 2006, 04:00 PM
Yes you seem prepare.Yes it must be so rewarding.But are you prepare to let him go? I know I couldn't do it.I have a hard time letting go of some of my fosters,and this is after a couple of weeks/months.You will have this dog for at least a year right?It must be so hard letting them go after all that bonding.

June 30th, 2006, 06:52 PM
I looked into this a while back, and found it to be a good idea, except I'm hesitant about a couple things. Because you have to take the dogs into buildings, restaurants etc, that means you'll be spending a lot of time with this dog while leaving yours at home. I don't know if you work, or for how long, or even if this is true in Alberta, but I know that the group in quebec forbids you to leave the dog for longer than 4 hours a day. Also, they must sleep on the floor, no couches, beds, furniture, nothing. No table scraps ever. So if you allow your dog on furniture or give scraps, you're going to have issues about giving one dog something but not the other.

I have a question for anyone in the know. If you do the MIRA program, you are not allowed to take the dog to any sort of training class, is there a reason for this? I thought it would be a good way to 1) socialize and 2) get some basic commands down pat.

edited to say: just read about the dog-friendly work environment, so nm about the work q above.

July 1st, 2006, 09:21 AM
dogmelissa.Just a question.You have a small dog right?Have you had big dogs?

These dogs are Labs that are mostly used.So training must be done day one when you recieve the pup.You also need to research this breed.And do a ton of it.Many people say how high energy they are.Yes that's true.And yes it's in the breed.BUT I also compare this breed when I talk about the ones used for the blind.They are very very calm.This is because of the training.

I don't enforce it, because he's little and I don't see the use in having him be "at heel" when we're out walking around.

See,this will need to be enforced.Heel is a very very important comman for these dogs as they need to be by the owners side at ALL times when they are out.You don't see the use of it in your dog,but you need to have it in these dogs.

I went though about the same training with my dog.He is a retired Police Dog who went to work with my brother.And I couldn't slack with the training.He had to listen and do every command I gave him.And this was all in German.I have always had big dogs,so I knew how to handle them.And yes,it's very hard to let them go.I had Tron for 18 months,then I had to give him to my brother.But I also had his cousin Yukon.I raised and trained 2-3 month old pups.Man what a chore that was....But I had two very well trained dogs.:)