VOLUNTEER

Review the volunteer roles below to see how you can get involved in changing lives.

Puppy-Raising

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The PADS Puppy-Raising Program is made up of a dedicated group of trainers committed to achieving positive outcomes for our PADS dogs and volunteers. We recognize that the backbone of our program are our volunteers, and strive to serve them with compassion, knowledge, and a solution-seeking mindset.

Puppy-Raisers are the volunteers who take a young, rambunctious puppy and mold them into a capable assistance dog trainee ready to enter Advanced Training. Puppy-Raisers focus on three areas of training: Skills (such as walking on a loose leash, sitting), Manners (settling well, appropriate household behaviour) and Socialization (having confidence in the world around them) using scientific evidence-based training that takes the dog’s well-being into consideration.

Puppy-Raising is a full-time volunteer opportunity, with weekly puppy class instruction to help the raiser and puppy grow their skills. Training support, including one-to-one training is available, as well as scheduled assessments to track the puppy and puppy-raiser’s progress and provide Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to focus on areas where the puppy or team is struggling.

Our raisers are a diverse group, including

  • Students
  • Retirees
  • Professionals
  • Families

Raising appeals to different people for different reasons, including:

  • the prospect of changing lives
  • gaining dog training experience
  • geeking out over behaviour
  • wanting to be part of a great community
  • knowing that when you travel or aren’t able to care for the puppy that there is a great puppy-sitting community to provide care
  • shorter time commitment than getting a pet dog, and not watching a dog grow old and frail
  • wanting to have a dog, but have a busy lifestyle and spend most of the day away from home

Great raisers have:

  • patience and a sense of humour
  • the willingness to have a canine shadow with them in public
  • like teaching new behaviours and working on skills acquisition

Requirements & Time Commitment

  • Must be located in the Vancouver, Calgary, or Okanagan region (Okanagan classes are held in Lake Country)
  • Being a puppy-raiser is a 2 year commitment (*note, PADS is working towards reducing our turn in age to between 15-18 months), but our sincere hope is that every volunteer who signs onto the role will continue to puppy-raise after their first puppy.
  • Raisers must be able to take the puppy to work or school (if applicable), and must be permitted a dog in their home.

Puppy Selection and Placement

PADS matches puppies to puppy-raisers based upon where we believe the puppy will be most successful, taking into account information from the puppy-raiser as to their lifestyle, as well as notes from the breeder-caretaker, assessment results, and any pertinent medical information. Puppy-Raisers may express a preference for either a male or female puppy OR a particular colour OR a particular breed (generally only Labrador Retrievers or Labrador x Golden mixes are available), and all things being equal we will try to meet the request. In general we do not have a large enough group of puppies available to meet more specific requests.

In some cases puppies may be moved to different raisers within the first couple of months if the fit isn’t quite right.

Community and Continuity

Puppy-Raisers and puppies are assigned to a cohort led by a Trainer. In most cases, the team will stay in this cohort throughout the puppy’s time in Puppy-Raising. This allows Puppy-Raisers to develop a community, be supported by the same Coaches, and have continuity of care, with Trainers developing a good understanding of a puppy’s struggles and strengths over time.

Why become a Puppy-Raiser instead of a Puppy-Sitter or Advanced Sitter?

In many ways, being a puppy-raiser is easier than being a puppy-sitter. You get to know one puppy well, always know where they are in their training, and you know that you helped to shape the dog they become. Puppy-sitters sit puppies at different stages of training with different struggles, so being a puppy-sitter can feel like trying to hit a moving target for some volunteers. When you’re a raiser, you and your puppy grow your skills in tandem, so you’re always at the same place in your training. You also overcome stages and struggles together, and are able to look back and know “we accomplished that!”

Puppy-Raising is an incredibly rewarding experience. We say “Raise a Puppy, Change a Life”, but in truth our puppies tend to change multiple lives, and yours will be one of them.

Burnaby: Applications Open – Learn More
Okanagan: Register to be Notified when Applications Open
Calgary: Register to be Notified when Applications Open

Puppy-Sitting

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Puppy-sitters support the Puppy-Raising Program by providing continuity of training, socialization and care for puppies when their primary Puppy-Raiser is unavailable. They are supported in this endeavour by the Puppy-Raising Program through weekly puppy classes. We recognize that the backbone of our program are our volunteers, and strive to serve them with compassion, knowledge, and a solution-seeking mindset.

Puppy-SItters are the volunteers who provide continuity of care for PADS puppies when they are not with their Raiser. Puppy-Raisers may use a sitter because of travel plans which don’t include the puppy, when they need a break, to provide their puppy with a different experience, or for a variety of other reasons. Puppy-Raisers focus on three areas of training: Skills (such as walking on a loose leash, sitting), Manners (settling well, appropriate household behaviour) and Socialization (having confidence in the world around them) using scientific evidence-based training that takes the dog’s well-being into consideration.

Though Puppy-Sitting has a lesser time commitment than Puppy-Raising in terms of number of days with a puppy, Sitters are required to commit to the same amount of training (weekly puppy classes) to ensure continuity of care.

Requirements & Time Commitment

– Must be located in the Vancouver, Calgary, or Okanagan region (Okanagan classes are held in Lake Country)

– Must be able to have a PADS Puppy or Dog in their own home. “No pet rules” do apply to PADS puppies in training, unless your landlord/strata will make an exception.

– Puppy-Sitters are required to be able to puppy-sit at least 8 days per month, in blocks of at least 3 days at a time. Puppy-Sitters will retain their puppy-sitting qualification if they have recorded an availability to sit but are not asked to sit during that period.

– Puppy-Sitters must attend puppy classes weekly in order to be able to provide the same standard of care as a Puppy-Raiser.

– Puppy-Sitters must be able to take the puppy to work or school (if applicable), and must be permitted a dog in their home.

– Puppy-Sitters must adhere to the directions of each puppy’s cohort Trainer and Puppy-Raiser when it comes to limits on training, socialization or exercise. It is common for puppies to have limits placed on their activities based on their age, medical status or behaviour struggles.

Community and Continuity

Puppy-Sitters are assigned to a cohort led by a Trainer. In most cases, they will stay in this cohort. This allows Puppy-Sitters to develop a community, be supported by the same Coaches, and have continuity of care, with Trainers developing a good understanding of a sitter’s skillset to help in determining sitting matches.

Why become a Puppy-Sitter instead of a Puppy-Raiser or Advanced Sitter?

Puppy-Sitting has less of a time commitment than Puppy-Raising, while still working on skills acquisition, household manners and socialization. Sitters are exposed to a greater variety of puppies, and have a hand in the success of multiple graduate dogs.

Burnaby: Applications Open – Learn More
Okanagan:Register to be Notified when Applications Open
Calgary:Register to be Notified when Applications Open

Advanced Sitting

Our Advanced Training Sitters do the important work of caring for the dogs in advanced training when they are not working with their trainer or instructor. This typically is done on weekends for most advanced dogs, however the dogs may also go to sitters for specific training needs during the week, when their trainer is unavailable or when the campus is closed. We are also looking for Advanced Training Sitters who might be able to take an advanced dog for sitting and training off campus throughout the week for a few weeks or longer.

Advanced Training Sitters build on the foundations laid in puppy-raising while also ensuring that the work and training being done by PADS training staff is further strengthened, reinforced, and maintained. The daily responsibility of an Advanced Training Sitter includes obedience, body handling/grooming as well as behaviour modification activities as needed and directed by staff.

As with all PADS roles, being an Advanced Training Sitter requires commitment and dedication and is incredibly rewarding. This role differs from others in the organization in that your commitment is made to the program requirements rather than an individual dog – meaning you are part of a dynamic team that all work together to help every dog in advanced training succeed.  This means the dog you are assigned may change from time to time (sometimes even week to week) to best support the success of dogs in advanced training.

Prior to filling out the application below please review the following to see if this is the right volunteer role for you at PADS.

The Ideal Advanced Sitter

You:

  • enjoy working on structured training daily
  • appreciate direct (and sometimes on the fly) feedback and the opportunity to grow in your skills
  • are able to follow specialized instructions and willing to adapt on the fly to meet the needs of the dog
  • enjoy working with a variety of dogs and would welcome a change of dog even if the change was on the day of pickup (note: it is the norm for advanced dogs to move regularly to different sitters, trainers or even regions during their time in advanced training)
  • are detail oriented and enjoy providing documentation/written feedback

Requirements & Time Commitment

Required:

  • Minimum 6-month commitment
  • Consistency and commitment are key: 60 minutes daily of training (usually in several shorter sessions) and dedicated care which includes:
    • duration cues (obedience, etc)
    • daily grooming and body handling exercise
  • Dogs in your care must be regularly socialized in a variety of environments (stores, restaurants, etc) and this may include requests to go on or avoid specific outings depending on the training challenges of the dog or matched client needs.
  • Ability to follow video or written instructions and provide written feedback
  • For weekend sitters: Willingness to do pick up and drop offs on Mondays and Fridays
  • For weekday sitters: Willingness to do pick up and drop offs during weekday as scheduled.
  • Physically able to handle a wide variety of dogs – including those that may pull on leash (management tools may be used and will be provided to minimize risk of injury to the volunteer)
  • Participation for training may be in-person on occasion (monthly or bi-monthly) and via online learning classes (weekly or bi-weekly)

Preference given to:

  • We’re actively seeking volunteers that are also available midweek as needed
  • We’re actively seeking volunteers that are available for longer term care and off-site training of advanced dogs (for a few weeks or months)
  • Volunteers that are able to perform all grooming tasks with instruction from PADS staff
  • Volunteers that are willing to make a 12 month+ commitment to the advanced training program

Burnaby: Applications Open – Learn More
Chilliwack: Applications Open – Learn More
Calgary: Register to be Notified when Applications Open

Breeder Caretakers

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Volunteering for this job means providing a home for one of the dogs in our breeding colony in the lower mainland of British Columbia.  Either a female and her puppies (for the first 8 weeks of their lives) or a male that is used as a stud dog. When a litter is “on the ground” someone must be home during the day or be willing to allow other PADS volunteers to stay with the puppies.  These stable, loving homes are essential to the health and well being of our amazing breeding dogs.

Burnaby: Applications Open – Learn More

Events & Campus

Not all PADS volunteers hold a leash in their hand! From events and outreach to maintenance and communications, our Events & Campus volunteer teams help out in a multitude of ways.  Are you a photographer, plumber, landscaper or administrator? PADS can use your passion and talents to further our mission.

We are currently giving preference to volunteers who are willing to make a 12+ month commitment to PADS and are also available midweek as needed.

Burnaby: Applications Open – Learn More

Advanced Kennel Volunteers

Pride May 2015 smlThis Burnaby based volunteer role requires committed, reliable individuals who are willing to come to the PADS campus on a schedule to interact with our advanced dogs – allowing them to stretch their legs, toilet and get some socialization, particularly in the evenings when staff have gone home for the day. Your duties may also include cleaning indoor kennel runs, laundry, washing dog dishes and grooming/bathing dogs.  Shifts in this role can be daytime or evenings, Monday to Friday. We ask that you be a minimum of 19 years to apply to be an Advanced Kennel volunteer. We are looking for volunteers that are willing to make a 12 month+ commitment to being an Advanced Kennel Volunteer.

Burnaby: Applications Currently Closed