Seeing Eye puppy raisers are individuals and families who raise puppies from the time their 7- or 8-weeks old until they are 13-to-16 months old. The Seeing Eye typically works with four types of dogs: German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden/Labrador crosses. The puppies primarily come to us from The Seeing Eye’s own breeding program.
While we have them, we we teach the puppies basic obedience, socialize them by introducing the pups to a wide variety of real-world experiences, and give them a lifetime’s worth of love.
After their time with us the puppies return to The Seeing Eye, where they receive their advanced training. That training lasts about four months and is followed by another three weeks of intensive training once they are assigned their human partner. If everything goes well, the puppies can be working by the time they are two years old.
People often ask us if it’s hard to give the puppies up at the end of the process, and the answer is inevitably “yes!” However, we pack a lifetime’s worth of experiences into the one year we have with the pups and we send them back knowing they’re going on to help people and do great things.
How it Works
The puppy raising process begins by joining us for our monthly puppy club meetings. At the meetings you’ll meet our current group of puppies and start to learn how to raise a pup yourself. You’ll then need to apply to be a puppy raiser; once approved you’ll enter the queue to get a puppy. This can take some time as we need to wait for the next litters of puppies to be born.
Puppy raisers receive a manual from The Seeing Eye containing puppy raising rules and advice, but that’s only the beginning. Puppy raisers attend monthly club meetings, which are critical for practicing their basic skills and socializing the puppies with both dogs and people. In addition the club usually has at least one special activity a month to give the puppies additional exposure to the real world. These activities include going to farmers markets, tours of Lehigh Valley International Airport, rides on LANTA buses, and trips to New York and Philadelphia.
The monthly meetings and occasional excursions aren’t enough to train a puppy though. They also need practice working … and lots of it!
Work, Work, Work
Seeing Eye puppies love to work and we give them as many opportunities to do so as possible. All puppy raisers are expected to regularly train their puppies on basic obedience commands at home.
Depending on their work environments, many puppy raisers bring their wards with them to their day jobs so they can get used to attending meetings, meeting people, and experiencing strange sounds and smells they might not encounter at home.
Puppy raisers are also encouraged to take their puppies with them when they go about their daily lives. Visits to book stores, hardware stores, farmers markets, and other busy places are useful for socializing the puppies and letting them practice their skills in real-world situations.