Puppy Raisers

What is a Puppy Raiser?

Puppy raisers are a special group of volunteers. They are responsible for taking an eight week old puppy, bred through our stringent breeding program, into their home. They teach the puppy basic obedience, house and public manners, and socialize the puppy in a variety of environments. At approximately four months, the puppy will receive a KSDS puppy cape to wear while in public. Depending on the state’s law, the puppy will have varying public access. When the puppy reaches the appropriate age (varying from 16-20 months), it will be returned to the KSDS campus for formal training to become a guide, facility, or service dog.

Puppy raisers are special people who put other’s needs before their own and have a deep love for people and animals. After the puppy they raised completes formal training, they are given the opportunity to meet the graduate with whom the dog is partnered. They are also given the privilege of presenting the new team to the general public at graduation.


Puppy raisers are required to spay and neuter the puppy within its first year of life and to maintain a record of vaccines. Aside from $100 given by KSDS for spaying/neutering, all expenses are the responsibility of the puppy raiser. Some veterinarians reduce costs or donate services since the puppy is in training to become an assistance dog. Puppy raisers must fill out monthly puppy reports and send them to the Puppy Raiser Manager to monitor the puppy’s progress. Flea and tick prevention, as well as Heartgard, must be given to the dog on a monthly basis. Thanks to our sponsors, these products are donated for the puppies in training and don’t cost the puppy raiser anything. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, our main corporate sponsor, will provide the puppy raiser with dog food delivered to their door free of charge. The puppy should be fed the provided food. People food is not allowed.

How to Apply

Fill out the Puppy Raiser Online Application, or print the Puppy Raiser Paper Application, complete it, and mail to KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc. at 120 W 7th St. Washington, KS 66968.

For more information, contact Deb Tegethoff, Puppy Raiser Manager at 785-325-2256, ext. 106 or email dtegethoff@ksds.org.

Did you know?

  • KSDS has had puppy raisers in 16 different states! See the blue states on the map below.

  • Most new puppy raisers say the reason they found out about KSDS and became a puppy raiser was because they met another KSDS puppy raiser!
  • Less than 15% of every dollar KSDS receives goes to administrative costs. This means over 85% of every donation goes to helping people with disabilities become more independent through canine assistance.
  • KSDS places assistance dogs throughout the United States. KSDS has placed 577 dogs since its inception with teams in 33 states.
  • KSDS was the first school in the United States to train both guide dogs and service dogs at the same facility.
  • KSDS is very proud to be accredited by Assistance Dogs International.
  • Each litter born is named based on a theme.

Support Groups

Although Puppy Raisers are spread throughout the United States, they strive to be there for each other. One way they do so is by creating support groups.

There are active groups in a variety of areas in Kansas including Wichita, Lawrence, the Kansas City area, and Manhattan. There is also a support group in Iowa.