Puppies are placed on our Puppy Development Program at around 8-9 weeks of age. They are then cared for and socialised by volunteer puppy raising families, responsible for their welfare, development and early training.

We select puppy raisers who are able to commit the time and energy to volunteering and who are willing to follow the guidelines necessary to raise these valuable pups in the right way.

A crucial part of an Assistance Dog's training involves exposure to a variety of environments whilst they are very young. This is so that they may become de-sensitised and environmentally aware in readiness for their formal role in providing the assistance required by their eventual user or client.

Without the support of our volunteers who provide such a loving and secure home life for our young puppies, training our dogs in adulthood would be much more difficult.

Puppies placed on our Puppy Development Program are assessed regularly so we can see how they are developing, how they react in different situations, and can provide support with any issues that may arise during these very important months.

At around 18 months of age the puppies return to ADNZT to commence the formal training phase of their training. At this time the puppies are given a month-long assessment in a variety of environments and situations. A temperament analysis is formulated that will later help us to ensure that the puppy is matched with the right disability and placed with a client/handler whose needs most closely match the puppy's own unique personality and ability.

At present we are only recruiting puppy raisers in the greater Hamilton area and the Bay of Plenty, but we do plan to expand this to other areas over the coming years. If you would like to provide support and live outside these areas, please feel free to contact us and we can discuss with you how you can help. There may be opportunities to help by becoming a short-term boarding home for puppies or dogs awaiting placement, or from time to time we require permanent homes for our breeding stock. 

Requirements for Becoming an ADNZT Puppy Raising family

  1. Fully fenced and secure property

  2. Not working full-time 

  3. Be over 18 years of age

  4. Time available to commit to raising a puppy and providing the necessary socialisation for 12 months

  5. Able to exercise the puppy daily - minimum 30 mins walking and 2 hours of socialisation time

  6. Provide an environment that is suitable for raising an ADNZT dog i.e. suitable grassed areas for toileting with space for the puppy to play

  7. Prepared to follow the direction and guidelines provided by ADNZT.

  8. Physically able to socialise and control a dog

  9. No other young dogs in the same household

  10. Able to interact positively with members of the public to help promote ADNZT and our services

  11. Able to drive a car and agreeable to meeting our Puppy Development Supervisor at different locations for specific training sessions

Once we receive your application, our Puppy Development Supervisor may interview you at your home to assess your home for safety and to discuss what is involved.  Once you have been accepted and have been given a puppy, ADNZT will continue to support you and provide regular visits, food and equipment, veterinary care (including worming and vaccinations), dog registration and boarding for your dog if you go on holiday and can't take your puppy with you.

Puppy Development

Application Form

If you would like to apply to be a Puppy Raiser or Boarder, then please complete the puppy development enquiry form on this page to register your interest and we will be in contact with you shortly to discuss and arrange a time to complete an information visit.  

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