Puppy Raiser & Guardian Homes

There are two ways that you can bring one of our puppies into your home!

Our Puppy Raiser program puts service puppies in training into homes for basic socialization and obedience training until they are ready to return for advance training (between the ages of 9-12 months old).  We also have opportunities for weekend and evening puppy raisers who are unable to make the full time commitment!

Our Guardian Home program provides each and every single dog that is a part of the 4 Paws Breeding Program a wonderful and loving pet home with a family of their own!

Puppy Raiser

Chuck E Most of the dogs that 4 Paws for Ability places as service dogs are bred and born at their Xenia, Ohio facility.  There are many reasons that 4 Paws decided it was the best and most effective route for their mission and the scale of their impact, but in short, the success rate of pups that we can teach from birth is significantly higher than those we cannot (read more about our breeding program in this newsletter:  http://bit.ly/4PawPrintsJun15).    

After our puppies are born, they spend time together with their mom at our facility getting basic exposure to people, sights, and sounds.  Even with the level of great care that our staff take in preparing the pups for their future career, 4 Paws needs community partnerships with local families to make placing service dogs a success.  4 Paws utilizes family homes in the community who volunteer as to take care of a puppy, teach them basic obedience, and socialize them in public. These excellent volunteers are 4 Paws Puppy Raisers!

The most important aspect of puppy raising is socialization!  Our volunteers introduce their puppy to a new experience or place every single week.  Puppies need to experience grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, museums and more on their quest to become a service dog.  They need to meet tall people, short people, people in uniforms, and most importantly LOTS OF KIDDOS!  They need to hear an emergency siren, listen to a voice over an intercom, hear musical instruments.  They need to see a forklift work, watch kids on a playground, see a parade with costumed characters.  All of these new and unique experiences build a foundation of comfort and confidence for a growing service puppy and are necessary to their development. rubix

Would one of our adorable puppies fit perfectly in your home? Do you live within 3 hours of 4 Paws?  Would you love make a difference in the life of a child or veteran?  Perhaps becoming a 4 Paws Puppy Raiser is right for you!

What our Puppy Raisers are doing for us every day 

While the dog is in the foster home the family will begin the housebreaking process, and help the puppy understand where and when to potty.  Puppy raisers are also vital to helping puppies learn in home manners.  Puppy Raisers provide 4 Paws with an assessment of the dogs personality, willingness to learn, and any potential problems/concerns they might see in the dog.

While the puppy is with their Puppy Raiser, the family works hard to help discover the skills and character of the puppy by constantly evaluating strengths and weaknesses, socialization experiences, personality, housebreaking success, and the mastery of basic obedience.  Each Puppy Raiser attend lessons (puppy kindergarten and basic obedience), at a dog club, or 4H program in their area.

HooliganOur Puppy Raisers are volunteers; however, there is minimal/no expense to the family to become a puppy raiser. 4 Paws provides all veterinary care, dog food, a crate, and preventative care such as monthly heartworm and flea control.  Grooming care for doodles and poodles can be provided, per the guidelines as well.  If there are fees associated with obedience classes 4 Paws will cover the expense, although many organizations offer a reduced fee or free course to service dogs in training.  Most families do spoil their puppy charges with 4 Paws approved treats and toys! *4 Paws will provide the supplies, however 4 Paws is unable to reimburse purchases made by the family.

Convinced you’re ready to become a 4 Paws Puppy Raiser?  Application is at the bottom of the page!


Guardian Home

BartGuardian homes are charged with a very special mission – taking care of a service puppy mom or dad!  These dogs help ensure healthy, loving happy, pups are placed with children and veterans in need.  4 Paws was very thoughtful and intentional when they decided to begin breeding their own service dogs for good health, skill and temperament (read more about our breeding program in this newsletter:  http://bit.ly/4PawPrintsJun15).  4 Paws locates a responsible, loving home for each mom or dad in our breeding program.  

From the beginning the dog is a member of the family.  We encourage bonding activities, such as taking obedience or other dog classes with you breeding dog.  Like any well loved pet, they need good exercise and lots of play.  Some of our families have even joined therapy dog programs and visit hospitals, hospice, schools, and even libraries with their breeder dog.

LangleyThere are of course very important and special considerations of this program.  The dogs will return to 4 Paws in order to complete their role, where they are much loved by staff while they are there. Female dogs are part of the program up to seven years of age for large breeds and up to nine years of age for small breeds, when they are spayed and transferred permanently to their family for the remainder of their life.  Females will return to 4 Paws for all breeding activities and to care for their litters of puppies. Fewer male dogs are required for the program and their breeding job is longer than the females in the program, for up to ten years.  Just like female breeders, male breeder dogs are a member of their family for life but ownership remains with 4 Paws until they are retired.  Male breeders will come to 4 Paws for breeding every couple of months and will stay for a number of weeks at a time for breeding.


What our Guardian Homes are doing for us every day 

In short, 4 Paws Guardian Homes are caring for a loving a very important part of 4 Paws.  Their work and care touches so many lives.  There are special things to consider when taking an unaltered male or female dog into the home, and these families have worked hard to create a safe and healthy environment for their pup.

YunaFamilies of female breeder dogs must consider how to deal with a dog in heat. When the female will not be bred, families can temporarily return the female to 4 Paws during the heat cycle or 4 Paws will provide sanitary diapers.   Families ensure that each of their females is returned to 4 Paws in the appropriate timeframe for breeding, which takes place at 4 Paws.  Females return home to their families after breeding, but are returned before the puppies arrive to whelp at 4 Paws. New moms then remain at 4 Paws with the puppies until they are 6-8 weeks of age. Additionally, Guardian Homes are accepting the responsibility of caring for and loving their dog for at least 12 years, perhaps more.

Guardian Homes of male breeder dogs are always taking great care to properly contained to keep them from taking off -intact male dogs are driven by nature and can seek out females in heat to a great distance if not monitored and cared for properly.  Male breeding dogs must also return to 4 Paws when requested for breeding, but then return to their family home.  Additionally, Guardian Homes are accepting the responsibility of caring for and loving their dog for at least 12 years, perhaps more.  Since the breeding life of a male is longer than that of a female, Guardian Homes to our male breeders are making a huge ongoing commitment to the 4 Paws mission by welcoming them into their home.

SamOur Guardian Homes are volunteers; however, there is minimal expense to the family to become a Guardian Home. 4 Paws provides dog food, a crate, and preventative care such as monthly heartworm and flea control.  All veterinary care, including all costs directly related to breeding,  such as veterinary bills before, during, and after pregnancy, whelping the puppies and all costs associated with the puppies during their first 8 weeks.  Families cover grooming, treats, toys, and other incidentals they wish to purchase for their new family member.  *4 Paws will provide the supplies, however 4 Paws is unable to reimburse purchases made by the family.

4 Paws knows that keeping an unaltered female or male is not a decision to make with out thought.  Lots of information can be found online regarding unaltered dogs or  breeding dogs, and of course we welcome questions! 

Convinced you’re ready to become a 4 Paws Guardian Home?  Application is at the bottom of the page!  4 Paws often has Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Collies, Doodles, Poodles and occasionally Papillons.



Ready to become a Puppy Raiser or a Guardian Home?  Please begin by filling out an application and mailing it to puppyraiser@4pawsforability.org.  Our staff will review it and let you know the next steps!

To complete the application, download the PDF and save it to your desktop before entering information.  If you enter information in an internet browser it will not save.  You must open and save the document in Adobe Reader.  *SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR ADOBE READER DOWNLOAD/MAC USERS*


Puppy Raiser Application

PDF AdobeDownload Now


Guardian Home Application

PDF AdobeDownload Now


Instructions for Mac Users and link to download Adobe Reader:

  1. Please check that you have installed Adobe Acrobat Reader, and that you open the file using Adobe Reader rather than the Preview function built into your Mac OS. The link to install Adobe Reader is: http://get.adobe.com/reader/.
  2. To open the form, you must use Finder to navigate to Adobe Reader. Open the Adobe Reader application, then use the “File” and “Open” functions to open the file from the location in which you saved it. The form will not work if you simply double-click it to open it unless Reader is already your default PDF viewer.
  3. Once you fill in the form, save it on your computer before emailing.
  4. See the image below for reference: