The Dogs for Good charity is in urgent need of puppy socialisers for the south Warwickshire area.
The charity, now based in Banbury, was originally started by Frances Hay out of her Kenilworth home in 1986.
Fran’s vision was to help disabled people by training assistance dogs to make daily life easier. Dogs for the Disabled was registered as a charity in 1988. The organisation became known as the Dogs for Good charity from October 2015.
As a new decade fast approaches the charity is in desperate need of puppy socialisers, who are volunteers who help prepare puppies to serve as assistance dogs.
Maddy Phelps, a spokesperson for the Dogs for Good charity, said: “Puppy socialisers are vital volunteers for Dogs for Good.
“They ensure that the puppy has a good foundation before it starts its training to become part of one of our services.
“This starts from when the pups leave their mum at eight weeks, right through until they come to us for assistance dog training when they’re about 14 months old.”
All socialisers are fully supported by members of the Dogs for Good puppy department and with their guidance, train the puppy in the basics such as house training, general obedience and walking on the lead.
The volunteer who serve as a puppy socialiser will spend some time every day on activities to socialise the puppy in different environments such as train stations, buses, shops and crowded and rural areas.
They also provide the puppy with contact with children, other dogs and cats to get them used to them.
The volunteers will attend monthly puppy classes at the Dogs for Good training centre and receive regular home visits from the puppy training team.
As a 'Puppy Socialiser' the volunteers will be required to take on a puppy and have him or her living with them for between 14-16 months.
Maddy added: “It requires a huge amount of patience and time, but it comes with a huge reward. A good puppy socialiser is worth their weight in gold.
“You must have the time and commitment and be physically able to provide basic obedience training, socialisation and appropriate exercise required for a young dog.”
The charity covers the costs for all equipment, food and vet bills for the volunteers who serve as a puppy socialiser.
Madded added: “They’re vital to the success of the work we do. The more puppy socialisers we have on board, the more people with disabilities we’ll able to help.
Without puppy socialisers, we can’t start our dogs our in the right way and if we can’t do that, we can’t change lives.”
The charity mainly works with labrador and golden retrievers, crosses of the two and sometimes, spaniels.
To serve as a puppy socialiser you have to meet a series of requirements some of which include having a fully-fenced safe and secure garden and no more than two existing pet dogs at home among others.
For more information on becoming a puppy socialiser for the Dogs for Good charity contact see the charity's website, or contact the charity by phone on 01295 252600.
Maddie added: “We need socialisers to get the pups used to and happy to be in different places (that they’ll end up needing to go when they’re fully-fledged assistance dogs), sights, smells, environments and situations over and above that of a pet dog.”