How to be a Puppy Raiser!

Puppy Raisers' Information

If you would like to become a Puppy Raiser...

Below is an introduction of what Mobility Service Dogs West Coast Project’s

expectations are from 8 weeks until SDiT is 6-9 months old working as a Puppy Raiser!

Puppy Raisers provide the gentle energy for SDiT creating the sweetest puppies’ during their growth and development,

if you like who we are and want to be a raiser, please submit request at bottom of page!

At Mobility Service Dogs West Coast Project (MSD-WCP), we raise dogs for the mobility-disabled community to improve their quality of life through functional independence, giving them confidence and a voice in the community at large.  

Puppyhood is important to develop a well-adjusted and well-rounded dog. Each puppy is assigned to one Puppy Raiser who takes full charge of the puppy’s training.  The Puppy Raiser commitment involves being with your puppy 24/7. The Puppy Raiser and the puppy will be together with full access to all public venues as a Mobility Service Dog in Training Team for about 3-5 months, at which time the MSDiT puppy will be 6-7 months of age. Raisers must be willing to work with puppies using the guidelines set forth by MSD-WCP. From the time of your puppy’s arrival, every day, you will teach them their basic manners, obedience training, and encourage their willingness to learn at home and on the street. We ask that your home has no other dogs under 2 years of age, but older dogs and a cat or two are positive exposure. As the Puppy Raiser, you must be respectful of the balance of training, exploring, exposure, and activities each day. Each week, you will need to tweak the puppy’s explorations as their brain, body, and fun grow.  The first month with you, the puppy needs to sleep, grow, rest, and learn to be independent, sociable, confident and well-behaved at home and in many differing public situations. At 3 months of age, they are learning potty training, crate time, sit, deck, manners and puppy adventures! At 4 months, the puppy will be dressed in their vest, living your daily routine at your side. Exposure to all of life is vital for your Mobility Service Dog in Training. Your SD in Training should to be focused on you while they are out and about, confident and relaxed, as they eventually will be with their Forever Handler. During this puppy raising time, you are part of an amazing team, using a new exploration out in the world each day and having your puppy by your side as you live your basic routines, in order to prepare this young puppy for the world of a working service dog.

It is our sincere goal to create a community of Puppy Raisers— both new and seasoned— providing support and material to make this a positive experience for the raisers and the puppies, all working towards the goal of healthy, well-mannered puppies, ready to serve. Puppy raisers must be at least 15 years of age.  No prior experience is required but must commit to attending a monthly 3rd Tuesday of the month meeting 12:15-1:15, post weekly on FaceBook Secret Group, and turn in the monthly progress reports completed on time. (*Please contact to talk about the 3rd Tuesday Online Monthly Meeting to work through if that is an impossible for your work schedule.) The puppy raiser needs to make arrangements to have their puppy with them each day at work and at play. MSD-WCP will cover the following costs for Puppy Raisers: dog food, training classes, veterinary care (pre-approved), crates, and dog bed.  Puppy Raisers are responsible for expenses such as treats, toys, grooming supplies, and in some cases grooming.

We provide on-the-job training and will guide each Puppy Raiser, teaching them how to be the best puppy raisers in the galaxy!  All Puppy Raisers attend on the third Tuesday of each month 12:15-1:15 online Blue Jean Conferencing (SD Trainer, SD Handler, SDiT Handler all lead out the meetings sharing valuable helpful information and training tips), post weekly in the Puppy Raiser Closed Group on FaceBook and fill out a monthly questionnaire due on the 3rd of each month. Puppy Raisers Evaluations and check-ins will be 15 and 30 weeks; it is the puppy raiser’s and MSD-WCP’s responsibility to calendar time for these assessments. If you are willing to show up and be part of the community, you will have a positive experience. If you are not going to attend the monthly meetup or be able to be an active part of our online community, then puppy raising for MSD-WCP is not for you. We are a small organization and growing quickly; we need Puppy Raisers with an understanding of our mission and vision who will proudly represent us out in the world.

We count on Puppy Raisers to teach the puppies manners, socialization, basic obedience and etiquette (how to behave in public). It is up to you to research the options for Puppy Basic Obedience- which culminates in the Canine Good Citizenship test- in your community in the Los Angeles area, and share these options with MSD-WCP. You need to find these classes before you even pickup your puppy, because the 4 months that you will work with your puppy goes by extremely fast! During the time you have your puppy, you will also be responsible for spaying or neutering the puppy at a low-cost clinic (6 months for spaying and 6 for neutering).  You will be responsible for getting your puppy to pass the Canine Good Citizenship test.

PUPPY RAISER GOALS  By the time the Puppy Raiser has readied the puppy for the transition to the Mobility Team, MSD-WCP wants to see all our dogs behave with the following characteristics:

1) Well-behaved- The pups have good house manners and will not relieve in the house. They are quiet and calm, eat only their own food, and are not destructive. They have received their Canine Good Citizenship. (MSD-WCP will cover these expenses.)

2) Socialized to the world- The pups have been exposed to a wide variety of people, places, and things and accept new situations in a calm manner.  Puppies are comfortable and well-behaved in restaurants, grocery stores, parks, schools, libraries, malls, museums, concerts, plays, parties, weddings, volunteering situations and loud, quiet situations, and among children, adults— essentially all day-to-day life.  They are expected to have full access to all activities, 24/7, with their puppy raisers.

3) Well-traveled- The puppies are relaxed and comfortable when traveling in all modes of transportation: cars, vans, buses, trains, airplanes, ferries, etc.  

4) People friendly- The pups bond well with people, enjoy receiving verbal praise, and are eager to please.

5) Animal-friendly- The pups are calm and appropriate around all animals they might come in contact with, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, and livestock. 

6) Responsive- The pups obey basic commands and are cooperative during various training exercises. They have great manners, never barking or drawing attention to themselves.

7) Etiquette trained- The pups have been exposed to proper manners in public for dining under the table, sidewalk relieving, shopping in all kinds of shops and grocery stores.

This first 6 months of a puppy’s life just living, loving, learning, and basic training must be taken very seriously so that each dog is prepared to be transferred to their Mobility Handler straight from the Puppy Raiser. Once the ADA Mobility Team is intact, a Service Dog or Task Trainer will step in, allowing for each Mobility Team to train together for the needs of the individual Mobility Handler.  Should the Puppy Raiser not key in to all four levels of training – manners, socialization, basic obedience commands, and etiquette, all to culminate in the Canine Good Citizenship – the dog will not be ready for the transition to their Mobility Team.  

When it is time for a puppy to be called in for final training and placement with ADA Disabled Handlers, it is the Puppy Raiser’s responsibility to return the MSDiT back to Pasadena, California. Though we understand that you will have become attached to your wonderful Service Dog in Training, we know that you will be eager to pass your puppy on to its Handler with a great deal of heart, knowing that you will have given your puppy a solid foundation toward allowing a disabled person to move about the world with new freedom and companionship.

Once the puppy moves to the Handler and Service Dog Trainer Team, they will completing Obedience and Etiquette classes, with the goal of having the Mobility Team successfully complete the Public Access Test by the time the dog is 9 months old. Thus, the preparation work must be done by the Puppy Raiser, while the puppy is in their care. Assistance Dogs International has established standards for service dog behavior in the Public Access Test including, but not limited to

  • Controlled loading into and unloading out of a vehicle

  • Controlled approach to a building

  • Controlled entry and exit through a doorway

  • Heeling through a building

  • Six-foot recall on a lead

  • Sit on command in various situations

  • Deck on command in various situations,

  • Control in a restaurant

  • Control when the leash is dropped

MSD-WCP requires that this testing occur in public locations where normal distractions are present (lots of people and other animals, cars, bikes, etc.), basically the real life situations that a disabled handler will encounter being out in the world.


Mobility Service Dogs WCP has chosen to work exclusively with poodles.  Why poodles?  Poodles make excellent Service Dogs as they are generally strong, agile, and intelligent, so they can be trained faster and are known to have an even temperament, particularly suitable for Service Dog work.  A bonus of having a Poodle Service Dog?  They are a truly hypoallergenic breed-with hair instead of fur and extremely low dander- and they don’t shed!   

We consider puppy raising to be not only an individual endeavor but also a group project.  Each volunteer is considered an important part of every graduating team, whether they were the puppy raiser or not.  Everyone is invited to attend graduation and celebrate the teams that complete their training.  We practice in group classes, and puppy raisers are encouraged to enjoy the company and assistance of other raisers by practicing in teams or in small groups.   

Puppy raising can be one of the most fulfilling volunteer opportunities available.  You are getting a puppy ready to learn all the basics.  Seeing how the life of a disabled individual can be changed by a service dog is an amazing experience.  Watching our dogs work with humans, giving the gift of functional independence, is heartwarming.  In addition to the joy that is seen in the end-product, puppy raisers grow in their dog training skills.  They create new and often long-lasting friendships.  They meet and work with some wonderful dogs.  And finally, there is that feeling that can only come from giving of yourself and your time to others.

For a PUPPY RAISER APPLICATION- Please send us your basic contact information, application you are requesting, and 10 words to share your reason for requesting application. Please SUBMIT request online OR you can email: Thank you!

Be sure to read Puppy Raiser Commitment below:



If you are approved to become a Puppy Raiser, we will expect you to do the following:

  1. Email any questions to

  2. Read and understand the Puppy Raiser manual cover to cover.

  3. Actively participate in the FACEBOOK Puppy Raiser Group, posting weekly diary type posts that share your activities, challenges, successes, and highlights. This will also act as an interactive blog that will be available for sharing, brainstorming, and mingling.

  4. Keep a calendarfor the puppy’s future Mobility Handler of favorite places your puppy likes to go and outings you enjoy together.

  5. Complete Puppy Basic Puppy Obedience Class and successfully pass with your puppy the Puppy Canine Citizenship Test.

  6. We want to support our Puppy Raisers by covering the expenses for your tools such as crates, leashes, harnesses, dog food, vaccines, veterinarian charges (must be pre-approved by MSD-WCP), heartworm, and other needs as they arrive. You will supply bed, bowls, treats, toys, and grooming.

  7. Please ask in your circle of shops and neighborhood for donations of any of these items and or discounts.

  8. Be present for the weekly 3rd Tuesday meet-up online call for sharing and learning, using BlueJean Video Conferencing or in person at MSD-WCP Pasadena. Denise, Service Dog Trainer; Janie, SD Handler; Healthy Happy Dogs and Laws will be heading up the conference calls.

  9. All puppy raisers will be asked to attend a yearly Late Winter Nongala Poodle Party with recipients and raisers.