Tips for Raising a Guide Dog Puppy

Guide Dog training puppy sitting next to an adult dog in a grass field

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Guide dogs are a very helpful and cute tool used by the blind and low vision communities to navigate around everyday life, but did you know you could raise them? Before guide dog puppies go into training, they must come from somewhere, and that somewhere is puppy raisers. I and my family have been raising puppies for over a year and have been in the puppy circle for longer. So today I’m going to tell you about the fun perks of being a puppy raiser, as well as the training process, rules, and benefits.

Training and Puppy Raising Group

Becoming a puppy raiser entails more than acquiring a puppy and raising it. To even be considered for a dog, you must be a part of your local group of puppy raisers. In this group, members and their dogs meet once a month to go over training and check on the dog’s progress. We also go out on outings with the dogs so they can experience new things and learn how to react to different situations. These outings can vary from going to the mall and learning how to use escalators, to just walking around with the dogs in places with different textures.

Training

As you may have guessed, puppies are not called upon to go into training without knowing basic tricks. These tricks include the basic sit, down, wait, stay, come, go to bed, and crate, but did you know there are also things you cannot teach the dogs? Things you cannot train the dogs are how to shake, fetch, go after balls or Frisbees, or jump onto furniture. You cannot teach the dogs these things because they may get distracted while working. For example, if there is a flying ball or a child telling it to shake, the dog must not obey these commands as they are working.  

Overall experience

Rasing a guide dog puppy is a wonderful experience that I think that anyone that can contribute to should try. There are benefits to raising a guide dog puppy. I do not know if all dog guide corporations do this, but the company my family raises dog for, Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, pays for all the dog’s medical needs. Another benefit is becoming a part of a community of people that strive towards helping people with low vision. There is the inevitable sad moment when you must give up the dog you have raised for a little over a year, but it is worth it when you remember they are going to help someone. Even after you give up the dog, the trainers keep in touch so you can be aware of the progress. If your dog doesn’t end up becoming a guide dog, there are still options for them like becoming a canine buddy, or an early alert dog.  

In conclusion, raising guide dog puppies is a life changing experience that is totally worth it. Becoming a part of a puppy group, training dogs, and preparing them for life as a helper is something that altogether is time consuming, yet enjoyable. I hope you learned some things about raising guide dog puppies. If you are able, it might be worth considering having a fun fluffy friend for the next year before they change a life. Plus, who can resist puppies?

Written by a student with SBES.

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