Puppy Development


Puppies are placed on our Puppy Development Program at around 8-9 weeks of age. They are then cared for and socialised by volunteer puppy raising families, responsible for their welfare, development and early training.

We select puppy raisers who are able to commit the time and energy to volunteering and who are willing to follow our guidelines, necessary to raise these valuable pups in the right way.

A crucial part of an Assistance Dog's training involves exposure to a variety of environments whilst they are very young so that they may become de-sensitised and environmentally aware in readiness for their formal role in providing assistance required by their eventual user or client.

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

Puppies placed on our Puppy Development Program 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.

At around 12 months of age the puppies return to ADNZT to commence their formal training phase of their training. At this time the puppies are given a month long assessment in a variety of environments and situations, and a temperamental analysis is formulated that will later help us to ensure that the puppy is matched with the right disability and placed with a client/handler whose needs most closely match the puppy's own unique personality and ability.

At present we are only recruiting puppy raisers in the greater Hamilton area and the Bay of Plenty but we do plan to expand this to other areas over the coming years. If you would like to provide support and live outside these areas, please feel free to contact us and we can discuss with you how you can help. There may be opportunities to help by becoming a short-term boarding home for puppies or dog awaiting placement or in training or from time to time we require permanent homes for our breeding stock.

We Are Seeking Your Support

Are you looking for something rewarding and special to do with puppies, and would you like to make a positive impact in the disability sector?

We seek your support.

Become a ADNZT puppy raiser and support a beautifully bred puppy for a year, and make a wonderful difference to a New Zealand family in need.

Requirements for Becoming a ADNZT Puppy Raising family

  1. Fully fenced and secure property
  2. Be over 18 years of age
  3. Time available to commit to raising a puppy and providing the necessary socialisation for 12 months
  4. Able to exercise the puppy daily - minimum 30 mins walking and 2 hours of socialisation time
  5. Provide an environment that is suitable for raising an ADNZT dog i.e. suitable grassed areas for toileting with space for the puppy to play
  6. Prepared to follow the direction and guidelines provided by ADNZT.
  7. Physically able to socialise and control a dog
  8. No another young dogs in the same household
  9. Able to interact positively with members of the public to help promote ADNZT and our services
  10. Able to drive a car and agreeable to meeting our Puppy Development Supervisor at different locations for specific training sessions

If you think you have the right attributes and commitment to participate and you would like to apply to become a puppy raiser or an approved boarding home, then please apply online, send us an email or give us call, we will be in contact with you to discuss your suitability, and if appropriate arrange a time to complete an information visit.

If you would like to apply or get more information, then please complete the application form.

Our Puppy Development Supervisor will interview you at your home to assess your home for safety, and to discuss what is involved.  Once you have been accepted and have been given a puppy, Assistance Dogs New Zealand will continue to support you and provide regular visits, food and equipment, veterinary care (including worming and vaccinations), dog registration and boarding for your dog if you go on holiday and can't take your puppy with you.