If you aren’t up to the challenge of puppy raising and are more interested in having a pet, then welcoming a released guide dog into your family could be the way to go.
“Most reclassified dogs are usually aged between 12 and 18 months. However, there are occasions where we look for a suitable ‘forever’ home for an older dog who is retiring from his or her role as a working Guide Dog or Breeding Stock Dog," says Michael Kightley, CEO of Guide Dogs Queensland.
These dogs are often in high demand, so expect to join the wait list. Here’s everything to know.
The first year of a guide dog'[s life is spent in training with a puppy raiser before being matched with a person in need.
"Volunteering as a puppy raiser is an amazing experience that’s incredibly rewarding for the whole family,” says Kightley.
Once a puppy makes it way to a placement home after eight weeks with its mother, the next 10 months are spent training the pup in obedience and introducing them to new environments. Then at 14 months, guide dogs undergo training assessments and if they pass then they enter into a five month intensive training program to become guide dogs.
Anyone can apply to raise a puppy but not everyone fits the profile. To be the ideal puppy raiser, you must meet several requirements first. But those that are approved are then provided with everything they could need from Guide Dogs Australia.
How to adopt a failed guide dog
In that first year of puppy raising, guide dogs to-be are raised in a specific manner and have particular needs.
“We prefer to offer these dogs to homes that are similar to their current environment – one where they will be stimulated and active,” says Kightley.
Here are the requirements:
- You need to be home for most of the day as they can’t be left alone for more than four hours at a time.
- Puppies will need to be walked every day.
- Puppies must be allowed sleep and spend time inside.
- You must have a basic understanding of general canine husbandry.
- Having your own pet dog is fine too, provided they’re ‘dog-friendly’.
- If you have a yard it will need dog-proof fencing.
There is a charge to adopt reclassified guide dogs and the price will vary depending on the reason the dog is up for adoption. To apply for adoption, wait for some to become available online and then send in your application here.