Hi! My name is Nicki and I am a new puppy raiser who will be co-raising Good Dog! Bubba. I am writing a regular blog series on what it is like to be a puppy raiser. For my first post I thought I would share about what my experience getting started entailed. As I look back on the day when I submitted the puppy raiser application to Good Dog! Service Canines, I smile; for that action has changed my life for the better. I never could have imagined how much I would learn and what wonderful experiences I would have.
I first learned about Good Dog! from a friend. After seeing their website, I wanted to puppy raise for the organization and submitted a puppy raiser application. Good Dog! quickly acted upon my application to puppy raise. First, Samantha Quackenbush, Good Dog’s Lead Trainer, interviewed me. Next, my family and I were contacted by Brittney Micely, Trainer and Regional Team Leader for Fresno, California. I was able to watch the Fresno puppy raisers in action at one of her weekly training sessions before I began volunteering as an extra handler, which prepared me for puppy raising. At the time, Brittney was raising and training Good Dog! Cassie (who graduated in August 2020), Good Dog! Legend (now in finishing training in North Carolina), and Good Dog! Ace (still being excellently trained by Brittney).
The first Good Dog! in training I handled was Good Dog! Ace, a giant yellow Labrador retriever puppy. I must have made what felt like a thousand mistakes, but overall it was fun and rewarding. I learned a lot after working with Good Dogs Ace, Legend, and Cassie.
Soon after, Brittney interviewed me and completed a home visit to check puppy-proofing measures and suggest improvements which would ensure a puppy’s safety. It was at this home visit my family and I shared that we felt it best we not puppy raise at this time but instead become puppy sitters (who train and house puppies for a short time if their raiser is on vacation, etc.). She was understanding but did give the option of co-raising, mentioning that there was a local puppy raiser who had requested a co-raiser and most likely still wanted one! I was overjoyed and reinvigorated with enthusiasm at this opportunity.
Only a few weeks later, I began co-raising 10-month old Good Dog! Bubba with Puppy Raiser Passion. This experience is changing my life; I am learning so much while spending time doing one of the things I love most- training and loving a dog. That is why I am so glad I submitted that puppy raiser application. I cannot wait to see what fun adventures I have with Good Dog! Bubba!
Do you want to be involved in the training of a service dog? Find more about puppy raising here: https://www.gooddogservicecanines.org/raise-a-puppy.