All About Puppy Raiser Meetings
Our 300+ volunteer puppy raisers are a committed group of people who work hard to give our puppies the foundational training they need to become outstanding working dogs before returning them to us for formal harness training. Puppy raisers are grouped together geographically, with each group led by a volunteer area coordinator who plans two meetings each month.
Puppy raiser meetings are designed to benefit both the puppy and the puppy raiser. These mandatory meetings provide an opportunity for raisers to meet each other, discuss issues, raise questions, and have fun! The area coordinator runs the meeting which lasts an average of one and a half to two hours.
Meetings may focus on puppy obedience or may combine obedience training with an outing, called an “exposure” in puppy-raiser lingo. Meetings are usually held the same days each month, such as the first Saturday and third Tuesday, for example. The area coordinator sends puppy raisers a meeting notice with an agenda and directions. Most meetings will be centrally located to the group, but some meetings may require more travel time than others. Meetings may be held at malls, airports, downtown locations, restaurants, with unique exposures such as a visit to see farm animals, ride a golf cart, or perhaps even a boat ride.
Puppy raisers arrive prepared, bringing along the puppy, puppy coat, busy bags, paper towels, water, and a bowl to keep in their car. Puppies arrive to the meeting in coat and ready to work.
Puppy raisers practice skills such as proper car unloading and teaching the puppy to remain calm as the other dogs arrive. Raisers practice commands such as SIT/STAY and DOWN/STAY to help settle the pup as other puppies arrive. Raisers practice leash management skills and teach proper response, all the while teaching puppies good behavior while socializing with other dogs.
Depending on the meeting agenda, puppy raisers practice specific obedience skills, navigation skills, relaxation protocols, and leash manners, and puppies learn to remain calm and focused despite distractions from other dogs and distractions in the environment. Public outings expose the puppies to the sights, sounds, smells, and activity found in the exciting world of humans.
Puppy raiser meetings help growing puppies to become more skilled, and many puppy raisers build new friendships by spending time together with other committed raisers. We are always looking for dedicated individuals who would like to contribute to our mission by raising a puppy. Puppy raising is a win-win for our dogs and the humans who love them! Find out more here.