New hybrid puppy-raising program from Guide Dogs for the Blind


Expanding outreach with combined in-person training and online learning

A Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy wearing a green vest. (Photo courtesy of Business Wire)

A Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy wearing a green vest. (Photo courtesy of Business Wire)

Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) aims to expand its pool of volunteer puppy raisers with a hybrid puppy-raising initiative in Northern California. GDB’s “Hybrid Puppy Raising Project” accept interest forms until March 15, 2023, from people who live within 50 miles of its headquarters campus in San Rafael, California.

GDB’s traditional puppy-raising program was exclusively in person with hands-on trainings and informative meetings. However, this new pilot program will feature online trainings, webinars, and in-person workshops.

“The pandemic not only caused us to pivot to make more of our programs accessible online, but it also changed the way many people approach volunteer work in general,” said Christine Benninger, president and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind, in an organizational release. “We are excited to engage volunteers in this new way to support our life-changing mission.”1

GDB will host an introductory meeting to discuss the hybrid program via Zoom on March 16, from 6-7 PM PST. Following this meeting, prospects who are still interested in being considered for participation will go through an onboarding process and receive a home visit from GDB.

GDB volunteer puppy raisers are expected to care for puppies from 2 to 15 months, nurturing and teaching them good manners, while also exposing them to a range of socialization activities to prepare them in their journey to eventually become guide dogs, K9 Buddies, or GDB breeder dogs. They return to GDB’s campus at 15 months of age for 3 months of intensive formal training by GDB professional trainers, before being paired with a person in need who is blind or visually impaired. GDB is currently the largest guide dog school in North America and has since extended its reach with a Guide Dog Mobility Program, Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Program, and K9 Buddy Program.1


Guide Dogs for the Blind unleashes hybrid puppy-raising pilot to expand volunteer reach in Northern California. News release. Guide Dogs for the Blind. Published February 28, 2023. Accessed March 14, 2023.

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