Can I raise my own guide dog? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Can I raise my own guide dog?

I read a previous thread about training one's own dog to be a service dog.

Has anyone heard of a guide dog organization that will allow people to raise the puppy that will be their guide dog? Or that accepts pets owned by the blind person's family into their training program?

I know Fidelco breeds its own stock, but I am not familiar with other guide dog groups around the country.

It has always seemed sad to me that a foster family raises the dog and then hand her/him over for training, never to be seen again. All dogs get attached to their families, and GSDs seems particularly sensitive to separation.

Thanks for your help
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 02:44 PM
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I would say no - really bad idea . Firstly the dog is not a pet so there has to be enough separation to make wise , absolutely necessary decisions about the dogs suitability and progress. Many dogs are washed out along the way .
The pet issue , a pet is a pet . A service dog comes from a sophisticated breeding program , a sophisticated critical evaluation program and will be tested for performance and ability, including temperament and ORTHOPEDIC health , all along the way. Then at the end THAT dog is matched with the perfect recipient. Even here it is not just the first person , sometimes a few changes in handler need to be tried - reasons could be anything from the handlers physical ability, the dogs stride , the dogs energy and power . An 80 year old woman is not going to get the same dog that a vision impaired 25 year old man would get (more or less)
Secondly the institute has accredited trainers who know what they are doing, a chain of personnel to be responsible to , and INSURANCE for liability.
Without the "school" being involved you would never get public access to enter those places where only a service dog or dog-in-training may enter , legally.

"sad to me that a foster family raises the dog and then hand her/him over for training" the foster family knew very well what they were in for . They get a sense of pride and accomplishment to send their protege out in to the world -- and then they get ready to do it all over again, and again.

"All dogs get attached to their families, and GSDs seems particularly sensitive to separation."

A dog with separation anxiety is not a good working candidate. We (I) do this all the time with every service dog that is prepared for service. Dogs that have had a rich rewarding human-bond attachment will seak out the same experience when the next guy comes along. In the raising of guide service dogs the dog is not treated as a pet , right from the beginning .
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 02:58 PM
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I don't see any reason as to why you can't, or shouldn't. I know a few people who have raised their own dogs because they can't afford the price of getting one already trained. It is a lot of hard work and dedication though. I would search the board and maybe talk to ILGHAUS or search for posts in this section by them, they are very informative.


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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 03:09 PM
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the recipient of the service dog/guide dog does not pay for it -- the value dog and training might be $10,000 in value , but the institute providing the dog is charitable .

In the past I have donated 5 dogs for guide - plus a male that they used for public relations . I plan to donate another pup shortly , we had a thread on here about 2 months ago - the "type" I would donate would be like Nickolas - the pup in the the journal kept to document his life experiences to the day he goes off to service - and then some beyond --
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 03:44 PM
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I've been thinking about this too. I suffer from anxiety and depression and I've noticed since getting Avery I feel much better all the time. Thankfully in Germany he is welcome most places without being a guide dog. I'd like for him to be able to accompany me in busy places when we move back to America since they are my anxiety triggers. Our training facility offers escort dog training which I'm putting him through once his basic obedience is better. Maybe this spring after passing the intermediate classes our trainer offers.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 03:50 PM
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Remember, service dogs (which perform a service a disabled person cannot do, such as fetch dropped items or actually sometimes guides people around if they cannot see), and a therapy dog, that makes someone "feel better" are two very different things.
Don't try to pass off a therapy dog as a service dog and everything ought to be okay.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 04:59 PM
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There is a certified school here that will train owners to teach their dogs to be service dogs. This is one of my plans for Grim. There aren't a lot of things I will train him to do, but a few that will come in handy later on. If the dog has the right 'stuff' it can be done. Just make sure that you go through an accredited school to do it.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 05:11 PM
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the OP is talking about GUIDE dog --
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 05:20 PM
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if you know how to train your dog to be of a
particular service, why not? if you foster a dog
that's going to be a service dog the dog is going to be
fine when it leaves your home to go into training.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 07:37 PM
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how would you do if you were asked to train your dog for a basic CD - companion dog, CDX , or UD , utitlity dog. Not so good ?
Give the professionals the respect and appreciation that they are due .
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