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open your heart & home to a paragon puppy

Paragon staff with puppy


Puppy Raiser

Apply online to be a Puppy Raiser! Questions? Reach out to our Pup Raiser Coordinator, Jamie, via email or at 303-481-2376.

raise a puppy and change a life

Have you ever seen a service dog working studiously alongside their handler in public and wonder how they learned to be so confident in any situation, reliable in their work, and keep their tail wagging, all at the same time? 

Well what if we told you that it was because of someone just like you that raised that service dog since they were a puppy. 

Puppy raisers open their homes and their hearts to teach a puppy the fundamentals of basic manners and house breaking, expose the puppy to positive interactions and give them a loving and enriching home during their puppy life. Being a puppy raiser is a long and challenging project but the reward of giving someone their independence, confidence and life back with a service dog that you raised will be priceless.

We are in this together! Paragon's knowledgeable service dog trainers support  puppy raisers throughout the entire process, step by step, with essential supplies and care, weekly training classes, and more.

Paragon is unique in supporting our volunteer pup raisers.

  • We cover all expenses, including vet, food, crate, supplies, treats, and toys.
  • Homes with one other agreeable dog, cats, and other pets may be approved.
  • Work and class environments may be approved.
  • Raisers can partner with a family member, friend, neighbor, or coworker to help.
  • Short-term sitters are available to take in pups when raisers are on vacation.
  • Our skilled trainers guide volunteers in weekly classes that cover pup training, behavior, daily exercise, nurturing, socialization, and exposure to various environments.
  • Our comprehensive training manual is paired with classes to support raisers, and staff are always available to discuss questions.
  • Internships are available.

Volunteers in our raising program generally commit to raising the pup for as long as 9-12 months. However, at times, we have the need for volunteers to help with a certain phase of a pup’s raising or other pup-related activities. Most often, our pups are Labrador Retrievers but occasionally we have a poodle or doodle.

Ready to apply to see if you could raise the next generation of service dogs!

process to become a puppy raiser

  • Read the Puppy Raiser job description and FAQs
  • Fill out the Paragon Puppy Raiser/Sitter application
  • Interview with Paragon's Pup Raiser Coordinator
  • Have a home visit, conducted by Paragon staff, with people and pets living in the home
  • Complete a background check (for serious crimes; $20 paid by the volunteer)
  • Participate in our orientation and once weekly pup-raising classes to learn our positive reinforcement approach from our highly skilled trainers; we strive to accommodate schedules and locations of raisers

Have a friend or or a family interested? Ask how to co-raise a puppy together!

expecations of a puppy raiser

Community based puppy raiser programs are a widely supported approach to laying a solid foundation for service dog hopefuls. To maximize the potential of successfully entering advanced training, the volunteer Puppy Raiser teaches the puppy basic skills, house manners, and crucial socialization by providing a nurturing and enriched upbringing. We understand it is a BIG undertaking, and that is why we are with you at every step, stage, and milestone.

Get the full volunteer job description here.

Expectations of being a Puppy Raiser include:

  • Provide love, support, training, socialization and an invaluable in-home experience for an Paragon puppy for 9 to 12 months.
  • Provide a safe, secure, loving home with appropriate food, toys, and crate.
  • Keep the puppy well-groomed and healthy.
  • Teach the puppy basic skills and appropriate behavior using Paragon's cues and techniques.
  • Promote confidence in the puppy and an eagerness to work through positive reinforcement.
  • Follow Paragon's procedures and guidelines.
  • Attend puppy classes once a week.
  • Provide age appropriate outings and experiences for socialization.