Puppy Parent Volunteer

  • VO88240
  • Home-based volunteering


Puppy Parent volunteers play a vital role in the early socialisation and training of a canine partner. Supported and guided every step of the way, a Puppy Parent volunteer will be placed with an 8 week old puppy, who will live with them at home until they are around 14 months, meaning the commitment is for approximately one year.

They will introduce our puppy to the world in a safe and loving environment, to give them all the confidence they need to go on to Advanced Training, to give them the best possible chance of being placed with an adult with disabilities, whose life will be transformed.

Being a puppy parent is highly rewarding, challenging and fun, offering a chance to learn new skills, meet like-minded people, and do something really amazing by helping to transform the life of an adult with disabilities.

Volunteers receive a Canine Partners Volunteer T-shirt to signal to the public that the puppy is a working dog in training, a comprehensive Puppy Parent volunteer handbook, access to puppy classes and group training sessions (subject to availability in the local area), one-to-one support, and peer support by joining in with other Puppy Parent volunteers who live nearby. Often, volunteers meet socially to share their experiences with each other, which is not only a lot of fun, but also very reassuring.

  • As a Puppy Parent volunteer, you will look after one of our puppies in your own home.
  • Placed with you aged about 8 weeks, the puppy lives with you for around 14-16 months.
  • You will need to be able to offer time to dedicate to the training and care of the puppy while placed with you.
  • The primary Puppy Parent volunteer in the household must be aged over 18, with the stamina and ability to manage an active puppy/dog.
  • Your home will need to meet the needs of the puppy, to be safe, secure and have an outdoor space for toileting (preferably gravel or paved).
  • You will need access to your own transport to travel to classes, training locations on a regular basis, and to meet other Puppy Parent volunteers, should you wish to!
  • You will need to be available for home visits, virtual online training, able to attend training at our puppy classes and committed to following Canine Partners’ training methods, following the advice and support of our expert trainers.
  • No previous dog ownership experience is required but you must meet our criteria to be considered.
  • If you are a dog owner, you can have up to two pet dogs of a suitable temperament. They will be assessed as part of your home assessment. They must be over 18 months of age.

Organisation aims and objectives

Canine Partners was founded in 1990, thanks to Anne Conway, an assistance dogs enthusiast and dog welfare campaigner, and Liz Ormerod, a well-known vet and animal-assisted therapy expert. Canine Partners was based on the model of The SOHO Foundation of Holland, an established assistance dogs programme. Our assistance dogs are trained to meet the needs of individuals with even the most complex physical disabilities. We currently help adults aged 18 and over (both civilians and former service personnel) who have a physical disability or condition that affects their daily life and limits their independence. Some of the disabilities and conditions we work with are: - Multiple sclerosis - Cerebral palsy - Spinal injuries and head injuries - Stroke - Osteoarthritis and scoliosis - Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis - Ehlers-Danlos syndrome - Friedrich’s ataxia - Fibromyalgia - Muscular dystrophy - Spina bifida - Osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bones) We are working in partnership with Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion and other services organisations to provide assistance dogs for veterans and those wounded in service.










This is a full-time commitment for a period of 14-16 months approximately.


A puppy can't be left for longer than 3 hours at a time so a job that keeps you away longer than this is not a suitable environment. You may have a pet dog and still be a volunteer but the puppy will have to be walked separately to maintain its training.
Experience required: Previous experience with dogs is a bonus, but not compulsory. Our expert team are on hand to support you with advice and guidance every step of the way. You will also receive a Puppy Parent volunteer manual to refer to, and will be connected to other volunteers who can share their experiences too.
Travel details: You will need to be at home for most of the day, and live within a 45 minute drive of the locations below: FK2, FK3, FK4, FK5, FK6, FK7.
Minimum age: 18


Expenses paid: Yes
Expenses details: First time volunteers will receive a starter pack with everything they need to get going with the puppy. In addition, Canine Partners will cover the costs of food and vet bills. We only ask that you cover the costs of any grooming equipment and you might like to give the puppy some toys to play with. We do ask that you cover the costs of transport, however this is within your local area to allow you to socialise the puppy in new environments, to attend puppy training classes, and meet other Puppy Parent volunteers for support and fun!
Support: Named Contact For Volunteer

Last updated 3 months ago

Please note, organisations are currently experiencing a large volume of enquiries from people looking to help out. They may not always be able to meet this demand so please be patient, you may not receive a quick response or be assigned to a role.