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FAQ: Puppy Raisers

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1. How do I join The Seeing Eye/4-H Puppy Raising Program?

Families are asked to attend at least one club meeting in their county and complete and return an application before receiving a puppy.

2. How old will the puppy be when I get him or her?

Your puppy will be between seven and eight weeks of age. Dog Cartoon

3. Do I need to pick up my puppy?

No, a representative of The Seeing Eye called an Area Coordinator will call you and make arrangements to deliver the puppy to your home. At that time, she will spend approximately an hour and a half explaining the details of raising a puppy for The Seeing Eye.

4. What do I need to get before my puppy comes?

You will need to buy two broad-based pottery or weighted bowls, some hard rubber toys and Nylon chew bones.

5. How does veterinary care work?

If you have a family veterinarian, you may continue to use that practice. If you are unfamiliar with a veterinarian in your area, your Area Coordinator of puppy club leader can suggest one.

6. Do I pay for veterinary care?

The Seeing Eye covers all veterinary costs. Dog Cartoon

7. What does my puppy eat and where do I get the food?

Your Area Coordinator will give you an eight-pound bag of puppy food when the puppy is placed with you. We suggest you purchase the same brand in 40-pound bags at local feed stores. The Seeing Eye provides a stipend to help defray the cost of food

8. What is 4-H and do I have to join?

The Seeing Eye/4-H Puppy Raising Program, started in 1942, is a joint effort of The Seeing Eye, Inc. of Morristown, New Jersey and the 4-H Youth Development Program. Participants are children from nine to 19 years of age and adults. The puppy raising program is just one of many within the 4-H, so when you join the puppy raising program, you are joining 4-H. You can choose to take advantage of the benefits of the 4-H program in your area or focus only on the puppy raising program.

9. I'm an adult. Can I raise a puppy and do I have to attend the 4-H meetings?

Yes, we accept adult applications and we request that you, too, attend the puppy club meetings to help socialize the puppy. Meetings are also an opportunity for the puppy to be worked by one of the younger members, to help expose the puppy to children.

10. Are club meetings important?
Yes! Families are asked to attend club meetings for the socialization of the puppy.

11. Why do we have to give our puppies social exposure?

You need to show your puppy as much of the outside world as you can so the puppy can become accustomed to its future work environment. Puppies need to be exposed to things such as car travel, sounds, sudden noises, animals, crowds, slippery floors, stairs and stores so that they will not be intimidated by these things as a Seeing Eye dog.

12. Can we take our puppies everywhere, since they are going to be Seeing Eye dogs?
Dog Cartoon

Although working Seeing Eye dogs are allowed access to all public places, Seeing Eye puppies in training are not. You will need to check with managers or owners before visiting public place to make sure it is OK. Respect the answer if it is no, and find another place. You don't need to take your puppy to food stores and restaurants and in fact, we don't encourage this.

13. When can I start taking my puppy places?

Once your puppy has received his 13-14-week vaccine, you can take your puppy out in public.
14. Do I have to keep the puppy on a leash?

Yes, the puppy must be on leash at all times when outside. Do not use an electric pet fence with Seeing Eye puppies.

15. We have other pets in the house. Can we still raise a Seeing Eye puppy?

Yes, in fact this is good exposure for the puppy. If you have another puppy in your house, it must be at least five to six months old before we will place a Seeing Eye puppy in your home.

16. When can we use a training collar on our puppy?
Dog Cartoon
Your club leader will help you with this. If your puppy is pulling very hard, your club leader will decide if a training collar is appropriate and show you how to use it.

17. What do I do with the puppy when I go away on vacation?

You may take your puppy with you or ask your club leader if there is anyone who would like to puppy-sit. If no one is available to puppy-sit, you may take your puppy to a local boarding kennel while you are away. The Seeing Eye will pay for this expense. You must let your Area Coordinator know where the puppy will be and for how long.

18. Does The Seeing Eye have its own boarding kennel?


19. Do I have to board my puppy when she is in season?

No, you don't have to, but you need to watch her closely so she does not get off leash. If you have a lot of dogs in your neighborhood, we recommend that you put her in a local kennel.
Dog Cartoon

20. Should I board my puppy in a kennel sometimes for the experience even though I am not going away?

No, this is not necessary. The puppy will get plenty of kennel exposure when it comes back to The Seeing Eye for training.

21. What happens if my puppy chews his leash to pieces?

You should watch to see that your puppy is not chewing his leach or other items. If the puppy does chew the leash, you will have to purchase another one.

22. Can I allow my puppy to run in an open field for exercise?

You may do this only if you use a long lead, like a Flexi-Lead or a long rope. If you do not have either of these things, the puppy may not run free.

23. Whom do I call if I have a problem?

Your Area Coordinator is available if you have a problem.

24. Is it difficult to give the puppy back for training?
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Yes, it is. But if you have attended club meetings and activities, you know that you are raising your puppy to enhance a blind person's independence. This makes it worth the effort. If you do a good job with your puppy, you can raise another one, which will help to minimize the sense of loss you may feel when your dog returns to The Seeing Eye.

25. How old will my dog be when he or she returns to The Seeing Eye for training?

Your dog will be anywhere between 14 and 18 months.

26. What happens when my dog returns to The Seeing Eye?

The dog will have a period of adjustment to the kennel. During this time, the dog will be X-rayed and given a health check. The dog will then be assigned to a professional instructor. Over the next four months, the dog will learn to be a Seeing Eye dog. At the end of the training period, you will be invited to watch your dog walk through town with the instructor. Once the dog is matched with a person, you will receive a letter from The Seeing Eye telling you what state the person and dog live in, and a little information about the person. You will not find out the name of the person who has the dog you raised to respect the privacy of the dog's new owner.

27. What happens if my dog does not become a Seeing Eye dog?

You will be asked if you would like the dog as a family pet. If you do not, The Seeing Eye will place the dog with a family looking to adopt a dog.

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Info. provided by the Seeing Eye.

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