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Can Puppy Raisers Take A Vacation?

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It’s been about a month since I dropped off Apache at Guide Dog College and I decided to take a little puppy raiser vacation…or so I thought.  A couple days after drop off I found myself puppy sitting little 8 week old Toby for 2 weeks.  Toby was recently re-homed and is happily living with his new puppy raisers.

A couple days after I brought Toby back to Guide Dogs of America I started a second puppy sitting assignment.  I picked up Journey, a 7 month old yellow Labrador Retriever!

Over the past 2 weeks Journey and I went on many adventures working on his socialization as well as his house manners and basic obedience.

Can A Puppy Raiser Take A Vacation?

Some people think that puppy raisers have to do everything with their puppy.  While we are lucky enough to get the privilege to take our puppies to many different public places including grocery stores, movie theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, etc. we do not nor do we have to take them everywhere we go.  Some situations may be too stressful for a young puppy.  Sometimes we just need a break from our puppy and maybe our puppy could use a little alone time in his kennel.

The past couple weeks Journey’s puppy raisers went on vacation and elected not to take Journey along (as I mentioned guide dog puppies in training don’t have to do everything their puppy raisers do).  So what’s a puppy raiser to do if he goes on vacation without his guide pup?  If you’re a puppy raiser with Guide Dogs of America and you’re puppy is over 6 months of age then you have 2 options:

  1. You can have a fellow puppy raiser puppy sit your pup.  Check with your group leader if you’re having trouble finding a puppy sitter.
  2. Your puppy can stay at Camp GDA aka the GDA kennels (Puppies have to be over 6 months of age)
Since today’s story is about our adventures with Journey his puppy raisers obviously chose option 1.

My Adventures With Journey

We talked a little bit about Journey last week when Linus’ tail was getting into all sorts of mischief.  We’re dedicating this week to our adventures with Journey – guide pup in training!

Hockey Game

Journey at the hockey game
Journey was all smiles at the hockey game!

Journey did awesome at the hockey game.  All the action, people, and crazy noises didn’t bother him one bit!  Also, I don’t think he really minded the extra attention from smelly people wearing helmets and cages.  Good boy Journey!

District in Tustin

Journey at the District Water Fountain
Journey wondering if it’s okay to swim in that fountain with this heat wave

We worked on Journey’s loose leash heeling around the District in Tustin (an outdoor shopping mall).  I let Journey stand by a few water fountains…he didn’t jump in, but with the current heat wave I’m sure he felt the urge.

Dog Days of Fullerton

Journey at the dog days of fullerton
Journey manning the booth at the Dog Days of Fullerton

It was scorching hot at the Dog Days of Fullerton, but Journey stayed at his post representing Guide Dogs of America at the GDA booth.  We made sure and drank lots of water and kept cool with water bowl’s full of ice.

Sepulveda Golf Tournament

Journey riding in the golf cart
Journey waiting patiently in the golf cart

Another scorching hot day at Green River Golf Club!

Journey is a sponsored puppy.  So what does that mean?  It means a person or organization has made a $5,000 donation to cover the initial costs to raising a puppy.  In return sponsors receive photographs and a written update quarterly, and your name will be embroidered on the puppy jacket. If your puppy successfully completes its training course, and is scheduled to graduate, you will receive an invitation to the GDA Awards Ceremony with special recognition of your generosity.  If you’re interested in sponsoring a puppy visit: GDA Sponsored Puppy.

Sepulveda Building Materials (Journey’s sponsor) has an annual charity golf tournament and generously donates all of the proceeds to Guide Dogs of America. Since Journey is sponsored by Sepulveda Building Materials we felt compelled to volunteer by greeting all the golfers at hole #17, provide fruit, snacks, and refreshments.

Journey and I did a lot during our two weeks together.  Last night Journey got to go back to his puppy raising family and once again it’s down to me, Ali, Linus, and Stetson at the old homestead.  So maybe now I’ll get a chance to take a little break from puppy raising.  So far my record for consecutive days without a puppy is 2!  I think I’ll be able to beat that record this week…wish me luck!

I know there are a lot of puppy raisers out there.  Does it seem like you’re always raising a puppy?  Do you ever take a vacation from puppy raising?  Tell us about it in the comment section below.

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  1. Hi Haopee,

    I’m glad you enjoy hearing about our puppy raising adventures. Did you get a chance to see our video series with our last guide dog puppy, Dublin? http://PuppyInTraining.com/PuppyInTrainingTV

    We’re going to puppy sit a black Lab puppy in training, Cici this weekend and then we’ll have Tucker for a day as well. No puppies this week was a nice little break.

    Hopefully someday you’ll have the opportunity to raise a guide dog puppy in your country.

    Take care,

  2. Hey Colby.

    One of the things I enjoy when reading your blog is wondering how it would feel to be a puppy raiser for a significant cost. We do not have such opportunities in our country so it’s nice to read about it from other people.

    Good luck on your puppy abstinence. I hope you get a good rest before you take care of a new one.

    Huggies and Cheese,


  3. Hi Higgins,

    We eventually made our way to the air conditioned room. It was hot out there, but I hear we collected over $20,000 in donations from the event…YAY!!!

    Take care,

  4. Not sure about my mom training, I am sure she would be the one trained! BOL! Loved the pictures of Journey, and at first I thought he was going to drive that gold cart into some AC somewhere to cool off!!!


  5. Journey is so cute! What a fun job you have!

    Thanks for stopping by my Pancake Catching Fail post. Sounds like Stetson and my Rita have something in common!

  6. Hi Y’all,

    Thanks so much for stoppin’ by for a visit. I’m so glad y’all could make it!

    Looks like you and Journey had a great time.

    Y’all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  7. I wonder if more people would foster shelter dogs if it was easier to get respite care from another foster family? Hmmm, you got me thinking.

    Make the most of your free time. I’m sure Linus and Stetson will have plenty of suggestions.

  8. Hi Scrappy,

    I have 2 dogs of my own that help out with the training. Stetson is 6 and Linus is 8 and they help teach the pups what they can and cant do during playtime. Actually Linus teaches them those things, but Stetson is a bit of push over and lets the pups jump all over him.

    Thanks for stopping by,

  9. Hi Jen,

    Thanks! It’s nice having a little break. I got the call for another puppy sitting assignment this weekend, but it’s an older pup so it shouldn’t be as much work.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  10. People do love coming up to us especially when we bring home the real little ones like Toby. At the golf tournament we probably explained our job as puppy raisers a dozen times, but it’s okay we enjoy talking about dogs! By the way, the most common response is: “I could never give the puppy back”

  11. Hi Snoopy,

    You and Jet were correct. It looks like I have a 2 day puppy sitting assignment this weekend. Black Labrador Retriever this time. I’ll make sure and take lots of pictures!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Not sure who is luckier…you or Journey!?

    some great adventures there. I have yet to go to a hockey game or go golfing.

    hope you get a few more days without training, but you might just get lonesome

  13. Wow, Journey and you were quite busy having fun adventures! That is wonderful that you get to share these experiences as part of his traning! Yeah, I think you earned a vacation, for 3 days at least:))))

  14. How fun to take the pups everywhere. Those are great pics too. You are probably a people magnet, how many times to you get to explain your job in one day?

  15. Hey Colby,

    Journey sure was busy during his vacation with you all 🙂 Loved seeing all the pics 🙂

    I have a feeling it won’t be too long before you’re pining for another puppy 🙂

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  16. Journey is cute 🙂
    I never train a puppy…I only train my turtle and it isn’t as hard as training a puppy 😉 so i don’t take a vacation yet.

    What makes me wonder is, how can you cope with giving back the puppy? It’s hard to imagine making a bond with animal and then give him back to his family.

  17. Hi Novroz,

    When we’re raising a puppy from start to finish we get them at 7 weeks of age and then return them to the guide dog school at 18 months. It’s very difficult giving them back. However, when we return our puppies to the school we know that we’re helping a visually impaired or blind person regain their independence.

    Puppy raising is difficult and not for everyone, but it’s something we love doing and one way we choose to give back to our community.

    Thanks for stopping by,

  18. Thanks Ali! You did a great job with the pups too! It sure is a big difference between Apache, Dublin, Toby, Journey, Stetson, and Linus. Each dog has such a different personality and each dog sure does require a different amount of maintenance. It’s nice to devote all of our attention to the 2 boys, Linus and Stetson for a little while 🙂

  19. Hi Jet!

    Thanks so much! You’re too kind. We love working with the guide dog puppies and it’s our owner to be able to help others in need.

    You might be correct on your guess. I’m in charge of planning our guide dog group outings and our group has a visit to the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach this coming Saturday. I’ll probably take in another puppy in training later this week 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!

  20. I have to say it’s an adjustment NOT having a guide dog in training in the house. After being worried that the puppy in training is going to eat something it isn’t supposed to, playing with the puppy, worrying about him accidentally “getting busy” in the house, practicing “sit,” “down,” “stay,” etc., and keeping him off the furniture, it’s a little quieter and less chaotic since Linus and Stetson are not in need of so much attention. I miss the puppies, but a little break is nice too. 🙂 Great job Colby!

  21. Hey Linus, Hey Stetson, Jet here. Hi Mr. Colby.

    Wowee wow wow! We loved the pics of Journey out and about, especially at the hockey rink.

    Mr. Colby, you do such wonderful good deeds with all the puppies you’ve worked with. They are so lucky to have spent time with you.

    If I were a wagering K9… I’d bet you won’t last longer than 7 days! 🙂

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