Puppy raisers are a key part of GAP, our breeding program and our training. GAP puppies are placed in foster homes at about eight weeks of age. They generally live in their new home for the next 12-18 months where they begin their formative training. Puppy raisers are expected to take their puppies with them almost everywhere they go. Whether it be working at the office, shopping at the mall, walking around the neighborhood, or riding on public transport, each journey prepares our dogs for their future as a assistance dog. By introducing the dogs to a variety of people and environments during development, GAP puppies become reliable in new circumstances and unfamiliar locations. This exposure with correction and positive reinforcement helps to instill proper behavior in all situations.
The puppy raising program provides an opportunity for a volunteer to make a noticeable difference in another person’s life. This program helps teach younger people about responsibility and helps raise their self-esteem. All of our puppy raisers learn valuable communication and decision making skills. It has been shown, that teens who participate in puppy raising programs do better in subjects such as reading and math.