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Service Dog Puppy Raising In Orange County, California

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Archer Service Dog Puppy In Training
Archer: Our latest service dog puppy in training

You’ve seen our past puppies:  Stetson, Derby, Dublin, and Apache wore a yellow Guide Dogs of America (GDA) jacket.  Adelle wore a maroon Canine Suport Teams (CST) jacket.  Now you might be wondering why Archer is wearing a blue jacket without a logo.  Read on to find out what’s up with Archer’s jacket…

I love puppy raising! I should probably have some shirts made up with that saying on the front. Over the years I’ve volunteered with several service and guide dog organizations and watching my puppies walk up on stage at graduation has to be one of the most fulfilling things I’ve experienced in my life.

Why is today’s blog title “Service Dog Puppy Raising in Orange County”? Well it partially had to do with one my biggest gripes about puppy raising and that is making the drive to and from the guide/service dog school.

The Guide Dogs Of America Experience

When I brought home my first puppy in training, Stetson from Guide Dogs of America (GDA) things were a little different.  The drives out to GDA (which would take between 1 and 2 hours) were fewer and farther between.  Stetson’s puppy kindergartens were held in Orange County about 10 minutes from my house.  I was allowed to use a veterinarian in Orange County that was about 10 minutes from my house.  The majority of our obedience classes were held in Orange County about 10 minutes from my house.  I did make trips out to the GDA campus in Sylmar, CA about once a month for obedience classes, graduations, and kennel stays, but I made the drive out once or twice a month on the weekend.

The rules have changed a little since I raised Stetson.  By the time I raised my fourth guide dog puppy in training, Apache I was driving out to the campus about once a week and often times during my regular work day taking a half day off from my day job.  What changed?

  • I had to bring Apache to GDA for any and all vet appointments.
  • GDA wanted our puppies to have more kennel stays.

Two small changes that made a big difference in my puppy raising career.  If I lived closer to the GDA campus in Sylmar, CA this would not have made much of a difference.  If I were retired then I probably would have been okay with these changes as well.  Don’t get me wrong I love Guide Dogs of America and highly recommend them to future puppy raisers, but I could no longer afford to take half days off work for vet visits and kennel stays.

So what did I do?  I tried something new…

The Canine Support Teams Experience

Canine Support Teams (CST) wasn’t closer to home, but since they were a much smaller school they did not require kennel stays or vet visits which equaled fewer trips to their campus in Menifee, CA (about an hour away from my home).  Once again I was only making the drive out to the Menifee campus about once a month.  Everything was great, yes?  Nope!  There was still something missing from my experience at GDA that just wasn’t there with CST.  What was different?

  • I didn’t feel like I was part of the group.  Why? because I couldn’t make all of the weekly trainings and outings because it was difficult to drive out to Menifee midweek.  Sound familiar?  Yep, I’d have to leave work early and take a half day to get to those training and outings.

Once again something was missing.  I wanted the group experience, but I couldn’t afford to take time off work on a regular basis to make trips out to Menifee.  So the solution…

Service Dog Puppy Raising In Orange County

The Solution:  A service dog organization with a puppy raising program located in Orange County, California.  Yep, that’s the solution!  I needed to find an organization with a campus located in Orange County, CA.  This would allow me to have my puppy raising group without having to continually take time off work to visit a campus over an hour away.  If there were a service dog school with a campus in the OC I could just use my lunch break to bring my puppy in for a vet visit, kennel stay, obedience classes, or for any other reason.

and life would be good…

So lets make a list of all the service dog schools with puppy raising programs we know about with a campus in Orange County…


Yep, I don’t know any….

The Solution: Start your own service dog school with puppy raising program!  That’s why Archer’s jacket doesn’t have a logos on it.  I’m trying to start my own service dog school and puppy raising program right here in Orange County.  That’s the goal.  I’m looking into it.  I’m gathering information.  Let’s make it happen!

That’s all folks.  If you’re in Orange County, CA and you’re interested in raising a service dog puppy or getting involved with a service dog school then leave me a comment or shoot me an email through our contact form.

Do you guys have any questions?  answers?  Let me know.

Top Picks For Our Puppies

    We Like: Beef Collagen Sticks - All of our pups love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Collagen Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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  1. Do you ever recommend where to find a service dog. My daughter was in Vegas and is having a hard time and i was thinking of getting her a little dog to help her. Do you have any suggestions

    Thank you so very much

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. We applied and attended GDB meetings years ago. The biggest difficulty with GDB is their campus is in San Rafael and as far as I know graduations are held on their campus. However, GDB definitely could be an option in the future. CCI is another option. I’ver heard they have an Orange County group and their campus is not too far away in Oceanside, CA. Thanks for the suggestion. Do you raise puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind?

  3. I wish it were easier. Over two years later and I’m still stuck in the mud. I have some different ideas that you’ll see unfold here on the blog.

  4. What about guide dogs for the blind? They have puppy clubs all over California, including north and south Orange County. They will pick up and deliver the puppy and club meetings are local to the club. You could keep raising puppies with out the liability of training a full service dog, including the potential risk of failure.

  5. I think it’s great that you had a problem and when you couldn’t find a solution you created your own instead of just giving up. I can’t wait to hear what you pick for the name and see your new organization grow!! You have me as a supporter for your new service dog group!

  6. I think it’s amazing that you had a problem and created your own solution when you couldn’t find one. Great job and good luck with your organization!! I’ll whole-heartedly be a supporter of your new service dog group!

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