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

Ten Things of Thankful: Even in Times of Uncertainty

  A railroad switch point on the tracks at the Golden Spike National Historic Park There is a lot I don't know. I don't know who will lead the United States for the next four years (at the time I'm composing this post, that hasn't been determined yet.) I don't know when covid cases will stop rising in my state and start decreasing. I don't know how challenging situations will turn out. There is much uncertainty in life. Living in limbo-land is hard. It's emotionally exhausting. It can be immobilizing. My body seems to think chocolate is the answer, but I know that isn't a long-term solution. What do I need in times like these? I need to REMEMBER . 1. R esilience. People are resilient. I am resilient. I'm thankful for resilience. 2. " E ach Life That Touches Ours for Good." So many people, both those I know in "real life," and those I have only met virtually, have taught me, encouraged me, and been examples to me. I'm thankful

Ten Things of Thankful: #GeneralConference Anticipation

  Jesus Christ stands in an crowd of kneeling worshippers, with the caption "Peace be unto you."  source In last week's post, I expressed gratitude for some things that hadn't actually happened yet, but that I hoped would soon. This week, I'm thankful that some of those things have happened--and I'm still holding out hope that the others will. In addition, I'm thankful in advance for other events.  To revisit last's week's anticipatory items: My air purifier was repaired, the company sent it back to me, and I'm thankful for clean air. The car wash company accepted responsibility for the accident, have authorized a check to be written to the repair company, and I'm thankful I have an appointment scheduled for the new bumper to be installed. The shop did get the van repaired, though not in time for me to renew the tags before the end of September. However, I'm thankful that the state of Utah offers a temporary registration for only $6 whi

Ten Things of Thankful: Another Trip Around the Sun

  A mixed bouquet of pink and purple flowers sits on a round table Last weekend, I celebrated another birthday. I think the earth moves around the sun faster and faster each year, but I can't prove it. Before another minute goes by, let me share my Ten Things of Thankful list for this week. I'm thankful for family: A birthday dinner with my daughter Birthday calls/texts from family members Beautiful flowers from my children A Facetime call with grandchildren. (My grandson repeated three words the entire time: "I am three!" At one point, I told him I would call him Groot.😉)  Drexel and his laid-back nature (The following video shows Drexel on the floor, while the robotic vacuum repeatedly runs into him and starts up his hind leg and tail. Drexel never gets up.) John and his engineering skills. Yesterday, the bishopric of our ward (church congregation) drove around the neighborhood and (taking care to observe covid recommendations) passed out doughnuts to everyone. Eac