• 5 people are interested

Puppy Raiser for Service Dogs in Training

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ORGANIZATION: Summit Assistance Dogs

  • 5 people are interested

Long-term puppy raisers are crucial to our mission. They provide a solid foundation for our puppies to grow into valuable life-changing service dogs for people living with disabilities. Our puppy raisers care for the dogs’ routine needs while teaching house training, basic manners, and socialization.

What are the requirements of puppy raising?

  • Attend foster home orientation, a series of fundamentals classes, and regular training classes, either in person or on Zoom (held weekly)
  • Have a strong interest in developing positive reinforcement dog training skills
  • Devote 15-20 minutes each day to training sessions
  • Provide appropriate socialization (as instructed by the Puppy Raising Program Coordinator)
  • Care for the dog’s routine needs in a safe home environment

What is the difference between puppy raising and puppy sitting?

Puppy raising is a long-term commitment, often lasting around 8-14 months. Puppy raisers need to have extensive dog training and behavior education, as well as a home environment that is conducive to longer term raising. Puppy sitting is a more flexible, shorter-term, yet equally valuable opportunity to help care for our dogs in training and develop positive reinforcement dog training skills. Puppy raisers and sitters fall under the umbrella of foster homes.

How long would we have the dog and how old will he/she be?

On average, the dog would remain in your home approximately 8-14 months. The majority of puppies will receive their start at our training campus. When we have staff capacity to do so, puppies will be raised by Summit until at least 12 weeks old before going out to puppy raisers.

What are the steps to become a puppy raiser?

  • Complete a foster home application, liability waiver, and media release form
  • Attend a foster home orientation and fundamentals classes
  • Have a home visit with our Puppy Raising Program Coordinator
  • Attend training classes on a regular basis (via Zoom and/or in person)
  • Gain experience puppy sitting in preparation for puppy raising

Where are the classes held?

We are operating with reduced classes and class sizes due to COVID-19 precautions. Classes are currently being held at the following locations:

  • *Online via Zoom
  • Whidbey Island (Summit property) - Monday evenings
  • Seattle (Various locations) - Monday and Thursday evenings

Note: Attending classes is beneficial as it allows you to learn our fundamental handling requirements and allows our trainers to assess your dog handling/training skills. We will prioritize getting dogs to puppy raisers who consistently attend online or in-person classes, as they will be the most up to date on Summit training and care information.

Do I need dog training skills to be a puppy raiser?

Yes, you need dog training skills to be a puppy raiser, which you can obtain by attending our classes regularly and puppy sitting. You must have a high level of interest in and commitment to learning about positive reinforcement training.

Will I have access to support outside of the weekly classes?

Absolutely! Summit provides lots of support to our puppy raisers through our trainers, Puppy Raising Program Coordinator, dedicated Facebook page, and secure foster home website.

What costs will I be responsible for while I have the dog?

We ask our puppy raisers to provide the dog with a high-quality food (approximately $45/month) and monthly flea treatments (approximately $10/month). Summit will provide dog gear (collar, leash, harness, cape, etc.) and home management supplies (crate, ex-pen, tether, etc.), but some things that you may consider purchasing yourself are: Dog beds, food/water bowls, treats, toys, and grooming supplies.

Is a fenced yard a requirement?

A fully fenced yard is required for puppy raising. Exceptions may be made if the raiser has reliable access to a safe, fenced area for a dog to utilize near the home, but fenced yards are highly preferred. We rarely place puppies and dogs in high-rise buildings and high-trafficked, urban environments such as downtown Seattle due to the high level of risk associated with dense conditions.

Can my children be involved with puppy raising?

While being socialized to children is beneficial to the dogs in training, we must remember to always prioritize safe and respectful handling of the dogs. If you have very young children (under 5 years old), it may be better to wait to apply until they are a bit older. We encourage older children (over 13 years old) with an interest in helping to attend orientation and classes with you. The parent/guardian in the household will remain the primary responsible party for the dog’s health, safety, and training.

What if I have pet dogs in the home?

Puppy raisers may have pet dogs of their own, as long as the pet dog is healthy, not aggressive, doesn’t engage in behaviors that we wouldn’t want modeled to a puppy, and the raiser abides by Summit’s dog separation policy. Summit dogs are not permitted to play with other dogs as it can interfere with their ability to succeed as service dogs. Summit dogs and pet dogs may coexist in the home through proper home management including crates, ex-pens, baby gates, and separate yards or rotations in the yard.

What if puppy raising doesn’t seem like a good fit for me, but I still want to help?

If you have concerns about the requirements of puppy raising, please reach out to us to see if there are other ways you can help. We often have a need for volunteers in other areas including: Transportation, puppy sitting, puppy socialization, kennel assistance, photography/videography, sewing, or fundraising.

We hope you will consider becoming part of our foster home community. To request an application or ask any other questions, please send an email to info@summitdogs.org.

More opportunities with Summit Assistance Dogs

No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.

About Summit Assistance Dogs


PO Box 699, Anacortes, WA 98221, US

Mission Statement

Summit Assistance Dogs is a nonprofit organization that creates life-changing partnerships by providing highly-skilled mobility service dogs for people living with disabilities in the Pacific Northwest.


By assisting with tasks such as retrieving items, opening and closing doors, and turning switches on and off, our dogs help their partners live with greater independence and confidence. These companions can also help diminish depression, anxiety, and loneliness.


People with Disabilities
Animals, People with Disabilities


We'll work with your schedule.


Multiple locations Stanwood, WA 98292



  • Veterinary
  • Animal Care / Handling
  • Animal Therapy
  • Community Outreach


  • People 55+


  • Must be at least 18
  • Orientation or Training
  • Full time care for puppies, weekly training classes, and 15-20 minutes a day working on training.

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