Puppy Raiser F.A.Q.

How long will it take to get a puppy once I submit my application?

The time it takes to place a puppy with a new foster family depends on the volume of fostering applicants and the number of puppies available. In general, the wait is usually three or four months for Labradors and six months to a year for Poodles.

Is there an age requirement for raising a puppy?

If you are interested in raising a puppy and under the age of 18, please ask a parent or guardian to complete the application. A parent or guardian must also be present to sign a contract when you pick up the puppy.

Will I get to name my puppy?

Occasionally, but most often they have already been named.

Will the puppy be spayed or neutered?

No. The breeders, who provide our puppies and our veterinarian recommend that young puppies be left intact until they are a year old.

Can I raise a puppy if I work full time?

Yes. A number of our puppy raisers take the puppy to work with them. Working full time does not prevent you from raising a puppy. Periodically, if the puppy is going to be confined to a small area for several hours, it will be necessary to have a trustworthy friend or family member stop by to feed and let the puppy out.

What are the physical requirements for raising a puppy?

The role of raising a puppy is an active, physical position requiring coordination, strength, balance and stamina. While working with your puppy at least one family member will regularly walk forward and backward, travel on stairs and squat and bend. You may need to lift a puppy weighing 10 pounds or, on occasion, an adult dog weighing up to 60 pounds.

Can I raise a puppy if I have another dog in my home?

Yes. Another dog or puppy in the home could be a companion and mentor for the puppy. However, if you have a puppy six months old or younger, we would wait before placing a puppy into your home. Puppies close in age often form a strong bond when raised together, making it difficult when you return your puppy for training.

Can I walk the puppy with my pet dog?

To develop your puppy’s self-confidence, it is important to consider opportunities to walk and socialize your puppy independently from your pet dog. However, if going for a casual walk, you may take both your pet dog and puppy.

Can I take the puppy to a dog park?

Dog parks should be avoided. Examples of safer options are fenced-in tennis courts, baseball diamonds or backyards with age- and size-appropriate dogs that you know.

Do you have to be a previous dog owner to raise a puppy?

No. It is not required that you be a previous dog owner to raise a puppy. We provide resources, such as a puppy raising manual and classes for foster families living in southeastern Ontario. One of our K4Paws trainers will be available to field your questions.

Will Kingston 4 Paws Service Dogs visit my home if we become a foster family?

Yes. We have found that the home environment can have an effect on the success of raising your puppy. That is only one factor. The time, energy and effort you put into raising your puppy also have a significant impact on its overall success.

Do I need a fenced yard?

No. A fenced yard is not required to raise a puppy. However, if you do not have a fenced yard, you will need to have the puppy on a leash or long line when taking it outside.

Who pays for the puppy’s food and other expenses?

The cost of raising a puppy is shared between you and Kingston 4 Paws Service Dogs. We are responsible for the puppy’s food, kennel, initial collars and lease and routine veterinary visits. You are also responsible for toys, training treats, replacement collars and leashes and travel expenses.

Will I take the puppy everywhere I go? Can my puppy go into all businesses?

While socialization is very important for your puppy, it must also learn to be comfortable spend some time alone. Additionally, unlike fully trained service dogs, businesses are not required to allow our puppies onto their premises. Most retail businesses and public facilities in southeastern Ontario are already comfortable with our program and welcome us.

What do I do with my puppy if I go on vacation?

If you are able, we encourage you to take your puppy with you. That will often depend on your method of travel and your accommodations. If you are traveling out-of-town, another foster family may be able to watch your puppy. Other options include a family member or a friend. We also have a list of our approved puppy sitters who are prepared to help in these situations.

Is it difficult to return the puppy for training?

No one can answer this question better than our foster families:

  • “Handing over the leash is perhaps the most difficult part of puppy raising, but we focus on the big picture and remember it is what we are giving, not what we are giving up.”
  • “The sadness I feel giving up a puppy is nothing compared to the joy of the people gaining independence.”

What happens to a puppy that doesn’t become a service dog?

Due to medical, temperament or work-related issues, not all dogs make it as service dogs. Some of our dogs who do not become service dogs are “career changed” and may be adapted to work in other fields. If the dog does not begin a different career, you may be given the opportunity to adopt it as your pet.

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