Foster Guide-Dog Mom

Would you like to foster a guide-dog mom? A very special dog that you raise whose purpose is to give birth to future guide dogs? How exciting! Most of these dogs are Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, or Golden Retrievers. The dogs provide a vital service to the blind community. Their puppies will grow up to be guide dogs, allowing blind individuals safe travel and independence. You foster guide-dog moms in your home, raising them as your pet. Periodically you'll take her in to be bred.

Requirements for breeding dog volunteers

To foster a guide-dog mom, you are required to live within a certain distance of the center where the dog needs to go for breeding. You must agree to exercise the dog daily, keep the dog in excellent physical shape, and follow some simple rules (such as keeping the dog on leash in any unfenced area). These dogs are great with children and other pets, and are highly adaptable to most living situations.

There are male dogs that need a permanent home as well. About twenty percent of the dogs needing homes are males, or studs. Volunteers need to live within a specific distance of the center where the dogs are bred because of the short notice that they may have when their stud's services are needed. Volunteers who house male dogs are also required to exercise the dog daily, keeping him healthy and happy.

Dogs are between the ages of 16 to 20 months old when placed in a foster home. They are housebroken and have had basic obedience training. The dogs are owned by the agency until they are retired.

Besides living within a certain distance of the guide dog agency and agreeing to exercise your dog daily, other requirements of being a foster to a guide-dog mom include:

  • Attend training classes and bring your dog in for assessments as needed.
  • Get home every four hours during the last two weeks of pregnancy to let the dog out to eliminate.
  • Make a long-term commitment of up to eight years to foster a brood throughout their breeding career.
  • Transport the dog to the agency for breeding and health care as needed.
  • Keep the dog on a leash or in a secure fenced area whenever it is outdoors and stay with her while she is outside.
  • All family members must be willing to accept the responsibility for the dog's safety. They also will need to understand the basic training methods and be consistent in the handling of the dog.
  • Ensure the dog does not engage in any sexual activity.
  • Other dogs and cats in the family must be agreeable to having a new dog in the house.
  • You will be trained to care for the dog, but of course, you and all family members must be comfortable with a large dog.
  • You must be responsible for all aspects of the dog's care.

Special requirements for your dog during breeding time and when her puppies are born:

  • Your dog will typically spend three weeks twice a year in the breeding kennel during their heat cycle (based on 6 month intervals) whether being bred or not.
  • Broods stay at the whelping kennel for five to six weeks to deliver and care for their puppies.
  • You will be trained to care for your dog during her pregnancy and upon her return home after giving birth.

Retiring a guide-dog mom

If your dog is found to be infertile she may instead be used as a guide dog, a dog for special needs clients, or a detection dogs. If she is not used in another program you will have the chance to adopt her. You may adopt your dog on a permanent basis when she is retired after having been a brood dog.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

If you are interested in learning more about fostering a guide-dog mom raised to give birth to future guide dogs, learn more about it at Guiding Eyes for the Blind It is the internationally accredited, nonprofit guide dog school with more than 50 years of experience in providing the blind and visually impaired with Guiding Eyes dogs, training, and lifetime support services. They are a non-profit organization completely funded by donations. Guiding Eyes provides all veterinary care free of charge to the foster families.

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