Although Susquehanna Service Dogs is based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, we have a program of puppy raisers in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The Northeast Puppy Raising Program became a reality because a group of former guide dog puppy raisers approached us about forming a branch of Susquehanna Service Dogs in their area. They wanted to use more positive training techniques, such as clicker training, have a closer connection with their dogs during the dogs' advanced training, and have the possibility of forming more of a connection with partners after the dogs have been placed as working service dogs.
Classes at the Northeast Puppy Raising Program are taught by a volunteer trainer with the help of a volunteer office support person. This program is closely supervised by the SSD staff in Harrisburg.
Our Northeast puppy raisers come from several counties, including Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe, although anyone who is willing to drive to puppy classes is welcome to apply. Puppy raisers raise and train their puppy for fifteen to eighteen months until the dog comes to the kennel in Harrisburg for advanced training, although the dogs in advanced training will return to their puppy raisers on most weekends.
During the puppies' first fifteen to eighteen months, they attend classes with their puppy raisers. Puppy classes are held every Wednesday at the Bear Creek Municipal Building in Bear Creek Township, PA, and they are run by our volunteer trainer. In addition, the Northeast puppy raisers attend one group outing each month to train the puppies in public.
Most of the vet appointments are located in the Northeast, although the dogs in training are required to travel to Harrisburg for certain appointments.
If you would like to apply to raise a puppy in our Northeast Puppy Raising Program, please complete our online application.