Can Do Canines Assistance Dogs header image

Puppy Raiser

It’s not a pet; it’s a mission

Our volunteer Puppy Raisers are among the genuine heroes who make what we do possible.

Starting with a puppy between the ages of 12 weeks to 12 months, the Puppy Raiser—with the training, support and recognition of our team—begins the process of preparing the dog for a happy, healthy life of service. The Puppy Raiser provides the love, care and attention any puppy needs to develop into a well-adjusted adult dog. But they also help familiarize it to the sights, sounds and smells of public areas like those it will encounter daily with its eventual human partner. The goal is to ensure a stable, dependable, trustworthy companion and helper for a person with a disability. At about 18 months of age the dog comes back to our facility where it is further trained in the specific duties it will assume with its specific client.

Become a Puppy Raiser

Change Someone’s Life

How many lives have you personally changed for the better? Here’s your chance.

As a Puppy Raiser for Can Do Canines, you transform our mission from words on paper into an everyday reality for people with disabilities. Your selfless gifts of time and caring provide the gifts of independence, freedom and peace of mind for people with disabilities and their families.

Could you do all this expecting nothing in return, for a person you have not yet met? That’s our definition of a hero.


Puppy Raiser Benefits

As a Puppy Raiser, for Can Do Canines. you’ll realize many benefits, which reward you for the time, effort and expense you give so freely.


You’ll learn about dog handling, dog care and dog training from some of the best and most experienced trainers in the business.


Of all our volunteers, Puppy Raisers receive the most recognition for their special work. Your name will always be featured in our quarterly newsletter, Tails From Minnesota. Our Volunteer of the Quarter program often recognizes a Puppy Raiser. At our annual volunteer banquet, outstanding Puppy Raisers are recognized with other special awards, like Puppy Raiser of the Year. When your dog comes in for training, you receive a personalized card which includes a picture of your puppy. When your dog graduates, your name is listed in the newsletter article about the new team. And—perhaps the most meaningful recognition of all—you will have the opportunity to meet your puppy’s client/partner for a rewarding reunion.


As a Puppy Raiser, you’ll be part of a very special group of people. You’ll make new friends and share an amazing experience with other individuals likely to share some of your values. You’ll be invited to exclusive events, like the annual Puppy Raiser Picnic and the Puppy Raiser Halloween Party.






When you enter a store or business with your puppy-in-training, heads will turn! People will ask questions about your pup and your volunteer work. As you gain experience, you become an expert on being a Puppy Raiser. Groups may ask you to speak to them about your experience, and newspapers often do stories about such interesting volunteer efforts.

Being a Hero

As a Puppy Raiser, you become a hero to the person who benefits from your special volunteer work. When was the last time you changed someone’s life in such a significant way?

You’re always a hero to our staff. We appreciate you for the effort and commitment we know you put into this work. Of course, you are, and always will be, a hero to your puppy.

Puppy Raiser Commitments

As one of our Puppy Raisers, you understand that while the puppy belongs to us, you will take it into your home, your family and your heart as if it were your own. For many puppy raisers, it can be difficult when your puppy returns to our facility for their final phase of training. That is one of the things that makes this volunteering so special. You expect nothing in return except the hope that one day, because of your help, this puppy may bring mobility, independence and companionship to a person with a disability. This is your gift to that person. Your gift has no strings attached. When your job is done, the dog returns to our organization for final training.


We have the following expectations of each Puppy Raiser :


Regardless of how much or how little dog training experience a Puppy Raiser applicant might have, very few people have ever prepared a puppy to aid a person with a physical disability. Puppy Raisers attend puppy classes a minimum of twice a month. Staff members are there to guide you in the training process as we want this to be a positive and fulfilling experience for you. Our staff will answer your questions and provide you with whatever support you need. Remember — from those who help us — to those we help — and everyone in between — we’re all one team, working together.


As a Puppy Raiser, you donate your time, love and attention to your puppy, as well as food, basic veterinary care, toys and treats. Some of your costs can be tax deductible. If you can contribute your time but are concerned about the costs, let us know and we’ll find a way to help.

Returning the Puppy

At the end of your commitment (usually between 6 – 16 months after you take your puppy home), the dog is ready to go on with final training. At this time, you return the dog to us where it will have up to six months of advanced training at our facility. Based on each dog’s personality and natural abilities, we carefully match dogs with prospective client/partners.




Meeting the Partner

When a client and dog team completes the training process, all the hard work culminates in a graduation ceremony. At graduation, you will have the opportunity to meet your dog’s new partner and share in the miracle of your combined efforts and care.

Become a Puppy Raiser