Our job is to raise puppies to their full potentialso they are guide dog candidates. Not all of these puppies become guide dogs. These puppies are called career changed dogs because they go on to other careers including therapy, search and rescue, diabetic detection, law enforcement, and being a family pet.
The puppies on our website have already found their new careers, but if you can adopt others. Go to the adoption information page at Guide Dogs for the Blind. Here's an article that talks about the career change dog adoption program.
There are currently three ways a dog can "graduate" from guide dog school.
Working Guide- After 6 months of formal training, the dog is matched with a visually impaired partner. They train together and become a team.
Breeder Dog- The most exceptional dogs are chosen to join the breeding colony. These dogs live with a foster family in between litters.
K-9 Buddy- This is program matches dogs with blind children to provide companionship, love, and experience caring for a dog.
In formal training
After spending about a year in a puppy raiser's home, the puppy returns to Guide Dogs for the Blind for more formal training where he or she will learn to guide a visually impaired partner. Puppy raisers are responsible for providing all the socialization, basic training, attention, and love the puppy requires to become a guide dog canidate. The actual guidework training is done by the professional instructors on the Guide Dogs campus (in either California or Oregon).
We foster and socialize puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. The puppies are bred and born in San Rafael, California. When they are eight weeks old, they go to their foster homes in California, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.
They will stay in our homes for about a year before being recalled for formal training. While in the raiser's home, the puppy will learn basic obedience, manners, and how to behave in public. Raisers will socialize the puppies in many situations in order to prepare them to be guide dog candidates.