Skip to main content

Blogging Buffet: G is for Guide Dog Puppies

The theme of my A to Z Challenge posts this year is "Blogging Buffet." In celebration of recently posting my 1000th blog post, I am revisiting posts from the past.  This post originally published on

Friday, April 13, 2012.

Guide Dog Puppy Raising Q & A

In the few months I've been a puppy raiser, I've answered the same questions over and over.  Don't worry; I don't mind.  I actually love talking about Reno. Guide Dogs for the Blind is a great program, and I would encourage you to look at their web site for more information.  For today's post, though, I thought I'd answer some of the more popular questions I get asked or overhear children asking their parents.

Why is there a doggie in the store?  Reno is a guide dog puppy in training.  Socialization is a major part of that training.  He needs to learn how to behave in all sorts of public settings so he will be a good working guide dog for a blind person.  He has been to stores, church, the library, the credit union, the doctor's office, Weight Watcher meetings, the movies, restaurants, and more. 

Why is he wearing a muzzle?  The "muzzle" is actually called a Gentle Leader, and it is a head collar that functions much like a horse's bridle.   It virtually eliminates leash-pulling by the dog. It does not prevent a dog from opening its mouth.

How long do you get to keep him?  Reno came to me at 9 weeks old, and will stay with me until he is somewhere between 14-18 months old.  At that time, he will return to the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus for formal training.

What kind of dogs are used as guide dogs?  Guide Dogs for the Blind use dogs from their own breeding stock.  Most are Labrador retrievers, the rest are golden retrievers or a mix of the two. 

What's his name?  Did you get to name him?  Reno came already named, and the puppies from the same litter all have names that start with the same letter.  So his littermates' names all start with "R", too. 

So, what exactly do you do as a puppy raiser? Do you need formal training?  As a puppy-raiser, I try to ensure that Reno is well-socialized, well-behaved, and knows basic commands.  I'm given a manual for puppy raisers, and we attend monthly training meetings.  We do not, however, train the dogs in how to actually guide a blind person.  He will receive that training when he returns to the Guide Dog for the Blind campus.

Does he get to have fun?  He loves to be out and about, but when he is home and his vest is off, he plays with approved toys and hangs out with the family. 

How can you give him up?  I could never do that.  Intellectually, I know he isn't mine.  I also know he is going to be able to make a huge difference in the life of a blind person.  Knowing that will be a consolation, but, of course, I will miss him.  Some raisers try to keep their minds off their loss by immediately starting to raise another puppy.  Raisers are invited to graduation ceremonies when the dog has been trained and matched to an individual.

I know I'm not supposed to pet him while he's working./ Can I pet him? Thanks for asking first.  If you see a working guide dog, it is true you should not distract him.  It is OK to ask to pet a puppy-in-training, as it helps them get used to all sorts of different people.   I will almost always say "yes", but will tell Reno "sit" or "down" first.  Don't be offended if I say "no", though.  It might be that I'm pressed for time, or that Reno's had a really busy day and needs to go home and relax.

I know I've forgotten other questions, but that takes care of the most common ones.  


 photo visiting2_zps6d4521f3.jpg

 photo ThankfulThought4_zps7d9599c2.jpgThanks to Guide Dogs for the Blind, and numerous other non-profit organizations who provide services to those in need. 


 photo signature3_zps16be6bca.jpg


Pin It

Comments

  1. Bless you for playing an important part in the training of guide dogs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I admire you and John for giving all those pups you had and will have in the future maybe such a loving and warm start in their lives and career. I'm sure it's not always easy, although having a puppy around sounds real nice, it's a lot of work. The more pictures you place of the pups, the better though!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a great post. I think it is wonderful that you raise guide dogs and I love how you look at it -- you are making such a huge difference for someone. It really is a very kind thing to do.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Conversations are so much nicer when more than one person does the talking. :-) Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

Never Give Up Hope

Twenty-three years ago, a beautiful little girl was born. From the get-go, she was sweet, sensitive, and rather shy. She has grown into a young woman of whom I am so proud. She has worked hard to overcome challenges, and recently told me she is trying to face her fears, and asked me if I would write her story and share it here on the blog, in hopes she can inspire others through their own struggles. Although I offered to publish an auto-biographical piece for her, she wanted me to write her story from my perspective. At her request, and with her approval of this post, I share the following:
The phone rang, and the social worker on the other end informed me that a baby girl had been born 10 weeks early and drug-exposed. She wasn't ready to be released from the medical facility where she was currently staying, but would we be interested in being her foster-to-adopt parents? Of course! When John and I filled out our paperwork, we indicated that we were comfortable with a premature bab…

Six Sentence Story: Burst

The moment the church organist started playing the introduction to the hymn, the precocious toddler girl stood up on the pew. Music just moved her, and she was doubly excited when she realized she recognized the tune. Though everyone around her was opening a hymnal and finding the right page, that was unnecessary for her. 
First of all, she couldn't read, but second, even if she could read, she didn't need the words; they were etched into her memory. Finally, the organist finished the introduction and the chorister signaled the congregation to begin, but while the rest of the church-goers sang, "Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing," the sweet little girl belted out, "Go tell Aunt Rhody." By the time she got to the line about the old grey goose being dead, all decorum was lost as those around her burst out laughing. 




This has been another Six Sentence Story. The blog hop is hosted by Denise of Girlie on the Edge each week. The rules are simple: write a six sent…

Six Sentence Story: Release

Her small brow furrowed in concentration as she carefully placed the wriggling worm on the little hook. 

"Ready, Daddy!" she called, and Daddy came over and helped her cast the line into the lake. To the amazement of both of them, soon the bobber took a dip into the water. Daddy talked her through reeling the keeper-sized fish onto the shore.

"I'll name him Lucky, because he is lucky I caught him!" she proudly announced.

Lucky's luck ran out, though, when he realized this wasn't going to be a catch-and-release situation. 

**************************
I'm joining again with the Six Sentence Story link-up. Go read the other entries, and feel free to add your own. This week's prompt: release.