Agency Seeks Volunteers to Raise Service Dogs in Training
PRINCETON -- NEADS World Class Service Dogs of Princeton is seeking volunteers to raise its puppies on a full-time basis.
The volunteers would take the service dogs in training into their homes and look after them for 12 to 16 months, working on critical socialization and basic obedience.
When fully trained and matured, the dogs go on to work with someone with a physical disability or hearing loss, a child with autism or a veteran. Others become assistance dogs that work with professionals in hospital, classroom and courthouse settings.
Volunteers will teach the dog basic obedience and socialize them in the community, so they’re used to anything and everything, including different types of surfaces, buildings and people, and set them up to be confident in any public situation.
“We provide support and resources for our full-time puppy raisers,” said Kate Sullivan, volunteer manager. “We equip them with food, training classes and field trips, educational materials and equipment like a leash, collar and gentle leader. We are also here with 24-7 medical and staff support.”
NEADS dogs go to the volunteers’ homes and start their training at about eight weeks of age. After 12 to 16 months, the dogs are moved into a prison facility to finish their training or are chosen as a breeder dog.
Prospective volunteers should consider some important factors before applying. First, the dog cannot be left alone as a young puppy. As the puppy gets older, the time it is left alone can gradually increase to a maximum of 3-4 hours. The NEADS dog may go to work with you, with approval from your company and NEADS.
Other requirements include attending one or two weekly training sessions with a NEADS trainer that take place both on and off the NEADS campus; caring for the NEADS dog 24/7; submitting weekly progress reports; practicing training and socialization exercises as directed by the NEADS trainer; and providing adequate daily exercise as recommended by the NEADS trainer.
Interested volunteers can start the application process at https://neads.org/full-time-raiser .