Puppy Raising Volunteer Program

Puppy raisers are very valuable to us! Puppy raisers raise a puppy for the first year of that puppy’s life, exposing him/her to sights/sounds/experiences that a Service Dog may encounter. Puppy Raisers also start the puppy’s training off right! All with our expertise & supervision.

Once the puppy is a year old, CSDA will then evaluate the puppy and hopefully place him/her with their new and forever handler, a person who desperately needs a Service Dog to help them navigate through life with a disability.

Volunteer puppy raisers provide specially-bred puppies a safe home, take them to obedience classes, serve up a healthy diet, provide socialization opportunities and give lots of love.

Each hour spent caring for a CSDA puppy is vital to its development as a future service dog. The puppy raising program provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to assist with our very important mission.

Please note: You must be at least 18 years old to be a volunteer puppy raiser. Those under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian as a co-applicant on the puppy raiser application.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What is covered/reimbursed by CSDA?

California Service Dog Academy will give each raiser a collar, harness, crate, and leash for their recruit.
These will be property of CSDA so they will be returned when the puppy is swapped, placed, etc. CSDA will also cover vet expenses for vaccines, spays/neuters, grooming, and food. Any other purchases will be your own expenses, if you are not sure you may always submit something for approval in advance.

How soon will I get a recruit?

This depends on the amount of recruits we have at the time, whether you prefer a puppy or older dog, your location, and when you finish the application process. It could be as soon as a couple weeks, to a couple months. We will communicate with you and keep you updated, we just ask for your patience.

Can I travel out of state with the recruit?

Yes you can, it would be required that you let us know the dates and location you are traveling in advance.

Can I take my recruit on an airplane?

Depends. If you wanted to bring your dog/puppy on a plane, you would need to give us advanced notice, and it would need approval from us. Planes can be very stressful for the dog or puppy so depending on the stage they are at it may not be the best idea. A different form of travel may be better. We want to set them up for success!

Can I travel out of the country with my recruit?

No. Traveling out of the country is problematic for a variety of reasons. If you need to travel out of the country, arrange for your puppy to stay at a boarding facility, or with a family or friend you trust.

How long do I have to be a part of the recruit raiser program?

While you sign a contract with us you are able to stop whenever you want. This is on a volunteer basis.
We understand sometimes it does not work out as we expect, life happens and completely understand if it is not for you. You are not alone in this process so keeping in touch with your CSDA trainer and
informing them of any stresses you are feeling during the process will be helpful. If you decide it isn’t for you, or want to take a break all we ask is you communicate with us, and give us time to get the recruit back to us and placed somewhere else. We want this process to be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!

What is expected of me as a recruit raiser?

Our expectations for our recruit raisers are first and foremost care and making sure the recruit is fed, receives their vaccines regularly and healthy. Along with this, training is very important and the primary
focus. Recruit raisers are required to meet with a CSDA trainer at least 2x per month (this can be virtual), complete training logs, and fill out monthly feeding logs. We provide you with training information,
classes, videos and expectations for their training once you are accepted into the program.