The Victoria Park-based organisation is inviting people to apply to become a guide dog puppy raiser or boarder in 2014.
In the next six months, 10 new puppies will start their training, so the need for dedicated volunteers is quite urgent.
Casey McRae, of Como, has been a temporary boarder for four months and has already looked after three trainee guide dogs as part of a role that gives puppy raisers a break from their canine charges while they holiday or attend to personal matters.
The 24-year-old dog lover and Tafe lecturer in companion animal studies said puppy raisers dedicated their lives to raising a dog for someone else and she liked to help them achieve that.
With her three-year-old spaniel labrador kelpie crossbreed Chokito to help her, Miss McRae said she knew how vital it was for pups to maintain training while their carers were unavailable.
Mobility services manager Zena Gomes said puppy raising and boarding was a full-time commitment, as pups could not be left by themselves for more than one to three hours at a time, depending on their age.
‘It is helpful for the puppy to be boarding in the local area because during this time they need to be dropped off and collected from the Perron Centre in Victoria Park for daily training sessions,’ she said.
Puppies are placed with puppy raisers from eight weeks of age and from about 20 weeks attend weekly obedience training, also called ‘puppy class’. Each puppy is assessed throughout their training and if suitable will begin formal training with a guide dog mobility instructor at about 18 months of age.
Once the puppy begins formal training, they can be placed with a formal training boarder for about six months or until they are matched with a guide dog user.
Guide Dogs WA provides everything puppy raisers and boarders need to care for the puppies within their own homes, including food and veterinary costs. Puppies also need to be groomed, exercised, house-trained and taught simple obedience.