If you know how to handle them, retired guide dogs can make excellent pets. There are, however, several caveats to adding a retired guide dog to your home.
Remember, these guys were trained from a very young age to follow a schedule, adhere to specific commands and to live certain, and very structured, life. Retired guide dogs can make great pets, though. Let’s look at some ways to add one of these beautiful and fun creatures to your home.
If you decide to take on a retired guide dog, keep in mind he or she will be at least seven years old. Most guide dogs work until they are at least seven, and when they are ready to retire, they often will stay with the family they’ve worked with. But when that’s not possible, and it might not always be, they become available for adoption. Retired guide dogs are well-trained, fun pets to have around.
Here are a few things to consider:
Guide dogs are trained to have a specific and consistent routine. If you veer even slightly from that routine, your retired guide dog might rebel. Because your retired guide dog was a working dog, he’s going to have a hard time breaking from that routine-oriented way of doing things.
In addition, your retired guide dog will know how to follow certain commands that are given to them since they first were trained as guide dogs. It’s essential that if you adopt a retired guide dog, you learn and use the commands. It makes the change in lifestyle a little easier for your new dog.
Finally, remember that guide dogs are trained to guide and sometimes defer movement or action if it seems dangerous or ill-advised. That is, your retired guide dog might disobey when you instruct him to cross the street if he or she thinks it’s not entirely safe. They were bred and trained to keep their owners out of danger. You have to respect this because he can’t ever really counter train himself from what he knows.
Guide Dog Adoption
Guide dogs work as a mobility tool to assist the blind and visually impaired. Guide dogs are chosen at an early age by their willingness to play along with other traits. The most common guide dogs are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds. The training consists of a 3-year apprenticeship with guide dog trainers.
The 3-year apprenticeship is designed to offer hands-on experience for the dogs. Once the dogs graduate and become guide dogs, their formal training/work begins. The duration of training for guide dogs is 6 – 8 years. During training years guide dogs are continually working on developing and maintaining their skills.
They are given special training
Each guide dog works independently from one another, and they are expected to fulfill all the requirements of Guide Dogs of America and the state board. Dogs that do not meet the standards will cease training and become career-change dogs. Once training has stopped, guide dogs retire, and they are given up for adoption.
Trainers and handlers have the first choice for adoptions, and for the most part, many choose to adopt. In other cases, dogs who are not approved by their trainers and handles are given up for public adoption. That is, any person can adopt them, as long as they meet the adoption requirement for taking a guide dog.
There is a high demand for these retired guide dogs, or career change dogs and guide dog rescue organizations to have a waiting list of 4 years or longer. If you’re looking to adopt a career change dog or retired guide dog anytime soon, I suggest checking your local shelter or other dog rescue organizations. Some career change dogs might be given to shelters or dog rescue centers. However, there are other dogs waiting to be adopted that will win your heart.
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