Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust is looking for families in Hamilton, Cambridge, Tauranga and surrounding areas to help raise and train puppies for a year.

The trust aims to enrich the lives of people living with disability by providing purpose bred and trained assistance dogs, to meet their unique needs.

From 8-9 weeks of age, puppies are cared for and socialised by volunteer puppy raising families, responsible for their welfare, development and early training.

At around 14 months of age the puppies return to ADNZT for formal training.

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This includes a month long assessment in a variety of environments and situations, and a temperamental analysis to ensure that the puppy is matched with the right disability (such as diverse autism, Down syndrome, diabetes, cerebral palsy to name a few) and placed with a client/handler whose needs most closely match the puppy's personality and ability.

Puppy development supervisor Robyn Marek says: "Puppy raisers must be able to commit the time and energy to volunteering and be willing to follow our guidelines, to raise these valuable pups in the right way."

A crucial part of training involves exposure to a variety of environments while they are very young so that they may become desensitised and environmentally aware in readiness for their formal role.

"Without the support of volunteers that provide such a loving and secure home life for our young puppies, training our dogs in adulthood would be much more difficult," says Robyn.

"Puppies placed on our Puppy Development Programme are assessed regularly so that we can see how they are developing, how they react in different situations, and we provide support with any issues that may arise during these very important months."

There may also be opportunities to be a short-term boarding home for puppies or dogs awaiting placement or in training or permanent homes for ADNZT breeding stock.
For more information visit www.assistancedogstrust.org.nz.

If you think you have the right attributes and commitment to participate contact Robyn on 027 779 1488.