Q: Does your club train/certify other types of service animals? A: No, our club only trains guide dog puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. We do not train dogs for anyone other than GDB and do not have the capabilities or power to certify outside dogs.
Q: Where does your organization get their puppies? A: Guide Dogs for the Blind has their own specialized breeding program started in the late 1900's meant to breed select dogs for the specific qualities needed in a working dog, specifically a seeing eye dog. GDB does not train outside dogs that were not bred by them or provided by an outside breeder. Guide Dogs looks at each potential breeder with rigorous evaluation and only adds the highest quality dogs into their colony to become a breeder. Puppies are born and raised in San Rafael, California under the care of expert neonatal staff until they are eight weeks of age and sent out to their puppy raising homes.
Q: What breeds of dogs does Guide Dogs for the Blind train? A: Guide Dogs breeds and trains Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador/Golden Crosses.
Q: How long does a puppy stay with the puppy raiser? A: A puppy usually remains in the puppy raiser home until it is between 13 and 18 months old. The length of time may vary, depending on the individual puppy's development or Guide Dogs for the Blind's need for dogs.
Q: Do I need dog training experience to be a puppy raiser? A: No, but it is helpful if you have owned a dog previously.
Q: Can I have other pets at the same time? A: Yes. Controlled, supervised interaction between a Guide Dog puppy and other animals is quite beneficial.
Q: Who pays for the puppy's expenses? A: The raiser pays for the puppy's food, toys, and other equipment and supplies such as grooming tools, food bowls, crate, ect. Guide Dogs for the Blind will provide most basic training equipment and veterinary costs (upon approval).
Q: What if a puppy doesn't become a guide? A: Currently the rate of the success of puppies in training through Guide Dog for the Blind is about 50%. Of the ones who don't make it, half are "career changed" due to medical reasons and the other half due to behavior. If a puppy is career changed, GDB will try to find another career for him/her with other service organizations. If a suitable career is not found for the puppy, the raiser is given priority to adopt the dog as a pet. If the raiser is unable, or choose not to adopt the puppy, the Dog Placement Department will match the puppy with a family on the waiting list to adopt a career change.
Q: Is it hard/sad when the raiser has to give up the puppy? A: Puppy raisers become very attached to their puppies, however, they are aware that their dog will go on to become loving partners for people who are blind or visually impaired. If the puppy graduates from formal training, the puppy raiser will be invited to formally present their dogs as guides along with a speech.