Eyes for the Blind
What jobs do thesedogs do? Are they 'cross-trained'?
A. Our dogs are bred and trained to become Guiding Eyes
dogs for blind and visually impaired people. We provide
three highly personalized training choices. Our standard
program is a twenty-six day Residential Training Program
at our Training Center campus. Our innovative Special
Needs Program provides guide dogs to people with disabilities
in addition to blindness, such as hearing loss or orthopedic
problems. A Home Training Program is available for those
who are unable to come to our campus to participate
in our Residential Training Program.
What breeds/size/types of dogs do you use? Are they
different for each specialty?
A. Guiding Eyes provides specially bred Labrador
Retrievers, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers
What is the final disposition of the dog, after it is
A. Upon retirement a guide dog is first offered to the
graduate with which it was placed, then to their puppy
raiser and finally to a long list of hopeful public
adoption candidates. We NEVER euthanize our retired
adult dogs which are released from our guide dog program
during the raising or training process can also go on
to become detection dogs, therapy dogs and of course,
If you get the dogs as puppies, are they in a foster
program first for socialization?
A. The process of producing exceptional guide
dogs begins at our Breeding Center in Patterson, New
York. Here at our Whelping Kennel facility all future
guide dogs are born. Our highly skilled staff provide
superior pre and post natal care to our Breeding Stock
who will give birth to their puppies here.
the first 9 weeks of a puppy's life they are constantly
socialized by our trained volunteers who help to foster
the bond between puppies and their human companions.
The puppies are exposed to different environments and
experiences helpful to their intellectual and emotional
development. Utilizing a room designed especially for
socialization, a puppy and its littermates are encouraged
to explore a variety of toys, surfaces and objects.
The socializers are also trained in puppy massage techniques
which help to improve the general health and well being
of the puppies. The puppies are massaged individually,
helping them to become familiar with being handled and
enhancing their development.
If you get the dogs as pups, do you need people to volunteer
as 'foster parents'?
A. Guiding Eyes depends on volunteer Puppy
Raisers to provide a safe, caring environment for our
puppies for their first 18 months. During this time,
Puppy Raisers begin preparing these special dogs for
their future as a guide dog by following a well-defined
program designed to support and realize their potential.
Puppy Raisers are provided support through their respective
Puppy Raising Regions located along the eastern seaboard
has more than 500 volunteer Puppy Raisers from Maine
to North Carolina. These caring, dedicated people are
the heart and soul of the Guiding Eyes
program, who work to help the pups mature and familiarize
them with everyday situations, and establish the loving
human bond that is the foundation for their future role
as part of a guide dog team.
After a year
and a half, the dogs are returned to Guiding Eyes for
evaluation. Those dogs that pass their tests begin formal
training with our guide dog instructors. After four
to six months of formal guide dog training, the dogs
have learned to assist their blind partner in safe travel.
Eyes accepts applications year round from people interested
in becoming Puppy Raisers.
How many years has your dog program been in operation
(probably different for each program)?
Since 1954, Guiding Eyes for the Blind has provided
Guiding Eyes dogs free of charge to men and women of
all ages and from all walks of life. Located in Yorktown
Heights, New York (35 miles north of New York City),
we are recognized as one of the foremost guide dog training
schools in the world.
Do you have a web site, that the public can access,
for more information about this program?
A. For more information about our programs
please visit our website: www.guidingeyes.org
Is there anything the public can do to help your mission?
A. We encourage people to assist our organization
in a variety of ways:
- Donations (it costs over $30,000 to raise a Guiding
- Puppy Raisers
- Brood/Stud Fosters
please follow Guide Dog Etiquette:
When You Meet a Person with a Guide Dog (or guide dog
- Please do not pet, distract or otherwise disturb as
service dog while it
- Always ask permission to pet a service dog even when
it is not working.
- Never offer food or any other treats to a working
dog. This may interfere
with their ability to work.
- If you wish to assist a person with a guide dog, first
ask if you can be
of any help. If your assistance is accepted, then offer
your left elbow.
Do not grab the guide dog, the leash, harness of the
person's arm. Doing so
may place them in danger.
(Specific to puppy program) Are the puppies that are
not suitable for Guide Dogs placed for adoption? Is
there a place the public can contact if they are interested
in adopting one of those puppies?
A. We offer for public adoption, our 8-9 week
old puppies who have been puppy tested and indicate
that they do not have the potential to become guide
dogs. Their personality trait profiles reflect that
they may be pups that seek human support when under
the pressure of work. However, they make excellent pets!
They are healthy, well-bred, affectionate dogs that
have been handled and socialized from birth by our staff
members and volunteers.
We also offer
for public adoption young adult dogs and retired guide
more information you can contact 1 866 GEB LABS or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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