Pawsitively Trained, LLC

   Turn your "problem pooch" into a Pawsitively Trained Dog  

Puppy Raising!

"There are few things more rewarding than seeing a puppy that you raised have a positive impact on their handler and community. I have been overwhelmed with emotion time and time again, watching these pups that took up so much of my time, energy, and love, doing the jobs they were raised for. Though it is always rough handing the puppy over to their handler at the end of our time together, hearing that first story of how the pup changed the life of their new partner makes it worth it every time. I am always thrilled to hear the lifetime of stories that follow the first, and am always eager to start the next puppy, who will quickly be on their way to writing new stories of their own." 

- Kelsey, puppy raiser since 2004

The puppy raising program takes puppies chosen for specific jobs and places them in environments focused on raising and training confident, calm, career oriented, canine companions. Puppy raisers go through a certification process with Pawsitively Trained, and are required to attend weekly sessions to make sure the pup they are working with stays on track. Typically, puppies stay with the puppy raisers for 12 months and go through daily training sessions, weekly social outings, and monthly visits to reunite with their owner/handler. The main goal of the puppy raising program is to make it easy for the puppy to be successful in their life as a working dog. It takes a village to raise a qualified working dog: from breeder, to puppy raiser, to trainer, to owner/handler, to veterinarian, to groomer, to petstore staff, sponsors, and vendors, to members of the community. Everyone plays a vital role in helping these adorable pups succeed. 

Interested in becoming involved in the puppy raising program? Contact us today! 

Are you a BREEDER interested in adding your puppies to the program? Please fill out and submit the Breeder Questionnaire with a copy of your buyer contract to [email protected]. Thank you so much for considering the Comfort K-9 Program as a career path for your future puppies! We couldn't do this without you!

Police Comfort K-9

The Comfort K-9s are facility dogs, meaning they spend most of their day living and working in the same environment - in this case, police stations. Because the primary officer-handlers are also spending their time working in that environment, it is challenging to do the full time job of raising a puppy while also doing the job of being a police officer. Therefore, we use puppy raisers to co-raise the puppies with the primary officer-handler. Puppy raisers have the dog for a majority of the time over the first 12 months of the training program, and the dog is transferred to the primary handler once they are older, more mature, and have learned the necessary life skills.

To learn more about the Comfort K-9 Program, Click Here

Service/Emotional Support/Therapy Dogs

Dogs with these jobs are also great candidates for the puppy raising program. This allows the owner-handlers to spend time bonding with their puppy and preparing for their new canine partner, while the puppy is still spending most of their young and adolescent phases in the home of trained puppy raisers. 

Puppy Raising Program Options

All programs can be modified as needed, but the standard options are as follows:

Recommended Option: 

"Shared Custody" Training Program

Here, the puppy raiser and handler co-raise the puppy. 

  • First 6 months (puppy is 2-8 months old)
    • Puppy Raiser:
      • Has puppy in their home for 3 weeks/month
      • Attends weekly group meetings with Kelsey
      • Access to online and printed material
      • Has 3 private sessions with Kelsey to use, as needed
    • Handler:
      • Has puppy with them for remainder of each month
      • Access to online and printed material
      • Receives monthly private session when puppy is transferred
  • Next 6 months (puppy is 8-14 months old)
  • Puppy Raiser:
    • Has puppy in their home for 2 weeks/month
    • Attends weekly group meetings with Kelsey
    • Has 3 private sessions with Kelsey to use, as needed
  • Handler:
    • Has puppy with them for remainder of each month
    • Receives monthly private session when puppy is transferred
  • Remaining 10 months (puppy is 14-24 months old)
    • Handler:
      • Has 5 private sessions with Kelsey to use, as needed.

Additional Options:

"Full Custody" Training Program

Here the puppy is with the puppy raiser until the puppy is transferred full time to the handler.

  • First 12 months (puppy is 2-14 months old)
    • Puppy Raiser:
      • Attends weekly group sessions with Kelsey
      • Access to online and printed material
      • Has 6 private sessions to use, as needed
    • Handler
      • Access to online and printed material
      • Receives 10 hr training with Kelsey when puppy is transferred
  • Remaining 10 months (puppy is 14-24 months old)
    • Handler:
      • Has 5 private sessions with Kelsey to use, as needed

"Handler Only" Training Program

Want to raise the puppy yourself, but would like to have a network to help you navigate the challenges of getting your future working dog through puppyhood? This program allows you to have access to all of the puppy raising resources and weekly puppy raiser meetings. 

  • First 12 months (puppy is 2-14 months old)
    • Owner-Handler:
      • Attends weekly group sessions with Kelsey
      • Access to online and printed material
      • Has 6 private sessions to use, as needed
  • Remaining 10 months (puppy is 14-24 months old)
    • Owner-Handler:
      • Has 5 private sessions with Kelsey to use, as needed


*Owner covers cost of puppy, food, medical and grooming, basic supplies

*Additional fees apply to puppies transferred out of service area

*Recommend adding private sessions, as needed, to address any behavior or training concerns

Perks of being a Puppy Raiser!

This is a major commitment since, as most of you know, raising a puppy is a time consuming, emotional process, but there are many perks to the puppy raising program!

-you will be a "certified Comfort K9 puppy raiser"
-you will get weekly, free dog training sessions with Kelsey

-you will get free in-home dog training sessions with Kelsey
-you will have free access to the entire online dog training program
-you get to play with and love on a puppy!

-you have the immensely rewarding experience of raising a dog to provide comfort and support for people who need it

-children benefit from the responsibility, structure, and community service aspects of the program

-schools and workplaces may allow the raisers to bring the puppy in training
-costs for the puppy's medical, food, grooming, and basic supplies are covered
-you get monthly breaks, when the puppy goes to stay with their primary handler
-other dogs, pets, kids, etc get the benefits from having an additional dog in the home without the 10+ year commitment
-if the dog is dropped from the program or retires, you will be on the list for adoption

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone be a puppy raiser?

Puppy raisers must apply to the program. There are environmental and dedicated time requirements, as well as requirements to use certain methods and equipment.  Puppy raisers must agree to use Pawsitively Trained protocols while working with the puppy, but are Not required to have any training skills before joining the program. 

Check out this link for information on Requirements for the Comfort K-9 Program

How much time do puppy raisers spend with the puppy?
Typically, the puppy raisers have the puppy in their homes for 2-3 weeks/month for 12 months. While the puppy is living with the puppy raiser, they should be getting attention, care, and training consistently throughout the day. Puppies can only be left alone for a maximum of 5 hours per day (with proper accommodations for puppies still working on potty training). If the puppy raiser leaves the house for more than 5 hours, the puppy needs to go with the raiser or be transferred to another approved home during that time.  Puppy raisers are also encouraged to go on outings with the puppy multiple times per week, in addition to weekly meetings with Kelsey, to ensure adequate socialization to novel environments. 

What training do puppies receive while with the puppy raisers?
By the end of the 12 months period, the puppies have gone through puppy training, basic obedience training, advanced obedience training, public access training, and the Canine Good Citizen evaluation. Click the link to learn more about the Phases of Training.

Can puppy raisers have other animals and/or children in the home?
Absolutely. It is great for the puppies in training to experience the social aspects of other animals and children. However, there is a two personal dog maximum before bringing home a puppy in training, to make sure puppy is receiving enough individual attention. Additionally, parents should strongly consider the time commitment of raising a puppy if there are children in the house under 10 years old. 

Are puppy raisers volunteers?
Unlike most puppy raising programs, Pawsitively Trained puppy raisers are compensated while the puppies are in their homes.

What expenses will the puppy raiser have while raising a puppy?
Major expenses like cost of the puppy, food, medical, and professional grooming (if needed) will be covered by the owners (not puppy raisers). Additionally, owners will cover basic supplies that will transfer with the puppy (crate, harness, leash, and some toys). Raisers will be responsible for extra toys, training treats, and any other supplies they would like to purchase. Raisers are also responsible for travel expenses accrued while going to training sessions and outings with the puppy, and any household expenses that may occur while the puppy is in their home.  Keep in mind, that the puppy raisers are compensated for weekly care of the puppy, so out of pocket expenses should be a minimum, if the puppy is managed and supervised appropriately.

Where do the puppies come from?
Puppies are purchased from breeders specializing in dogs with temperaments suited for the job, by the owners. It is recommended that the puppies go from the breeder to the puppy raiser's home to avoid unnecessary transport and stress in the initial stages of training. 

What happens if a puppy raiser is no longer able to keep a puppy in their home?
In the unfortunate situation where a puppy raiser would need to leave the program, the puppy would be transferred to another puppy raiser's home. This may be stressful and cause confusion for a young puppy, so it is important that puppy raisers really evaluate the level of commitment required to participate in the program. 

How much training will the puppy raisers receive while caring for the puppy?
Puppy raisers have access to a complete written guide to raising the puppy, online training courses covering skills from puppy training through advanced obedience tasks, weekly meetings with Kelsey while the puppy is in their care, and a bank of 1 hour private sessions to utilize, as needed. Additionally, raisers will have access to a specialized discussion group where they can contact other raisers or Kelsey, at any time.

Who is responsible if an injury or accident happens?
The owner of the puppy carries all liability for the puppy, regardless of who had "custody" at the time of the injury or accident. That being said, there are protocols and requirements in place to maintain the puppy's safety at all times. If a preventable accident occurs in the puppy raiser's care, that puppy may be removed from that home and the raiser may be removed from the program, to prevent further risk. Remember, these dogs are worth $15,000-$25,000+ by the end of their training program and are often the property of police departments, preventing damage to these adorable department assets is a primary responsibility taken on by the puppy raisers and Pawsitively Trained. 

If you would like to learn more about having your puppy raised through Pawsitively Trained, or if you would like to become a puppy raiser, please contact us!