Anyone adopt a "failed" guide/seeing eye dog? - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 12:38 PM
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I thought it was standard practice for the puppy raiser to be given first option if the dog washed out. Am I wrong?
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 06:42 PM
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I thought it was standard practice for the puppy raiser to be given first option if the dog washed out. Am I wrong?
It differs organization to organization. Because these dogs are bred for service, I believe working homes should get priority. Between all the schools - thousands of dogs don’t make it as guides... I feel it’s only responsible to seek out other lines of work, after all, there’s no shortage of adoptable pet dogs in the world. Our policy for career changes and retired guides is as follows:

Career changed:
- evaluated for our (in house) k9 buddy or ambassador program which provides dogs to blind youth or adopted by staff for demos & speaking engagements. (free / free)
- evaluated and offered to other (partnered) service dog organizations (free).
- offered to puppy raisers (free).
- “raiser to place”, raisers may place with approved close friends or family members (free).
- available for adoption to staff (free) / general public (suggested donation).

Retired guides:
(worked less than a year)
- same process as above
(worked over a year)
- offered to the graduate to keep or place.
- offered to raiser.
- available for adoption to staff or public.

Retired breeders:
(under the age of 3)
- evaluated to enter training
- offered to breeder custodian
- offered to puppy raiser
- available for adoption to staff or public
(over 3)
- offered to breeder custodian
- offered to puppy raiser
- available for adoption to staff or public

There are many reasons that a grad / raiser / or custodian may not be able to take a dog back despite being given first choice....For graduates it’s typically housing since the retired guide would be considered a pet, or, double the care if they live alone. For raisers it’s usually that they may already have a pet dogs or previous career changes and taking another would be too many dogs or may prevent them from being able to raise more puppies, etc. in my 7yrs of experience, breeder custodians almost always keep their dogs.
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Last edited by Fodder; 03-31-2018 at 06:50 PM.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 08:13 PM
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This reminds me of a patient I had who was admitted to the ICU for a suicide attempt. It was a fairly young blind man. I heard something about a dog in the police in report. I called the police. Yes, the patient had a GSD when EMS came and the police had taken it to the city pound (Austin). I knew it was at that time a 3 day kill shelter. After work I went down and bailed out the dog and took him home.

The dog was far from what I imagined a guide dog for the blind would be! He counter surfed, tore into the garbage, chased my chickens., etc., did not seem well trained at all. After a couple of weeks the patient was stable enough to be transferred to a mental hospital. I called the mental hospital and asked them should I bring his guide dog. Yes! they said, please bring the dog. Iit will help with his recovery. So I took the rowdy dog up to his room in the elevator. As soon as the dog saw his master, he changed. He became the dog I had imagined. Quiet, dignified, he went to his master, turned and sat. The man reached out and felt for him, he felt the fur of his neck and he smiled. The German Shepherd guide dog sat and awaited his next command.

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All creatures great and small;
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He made and loveth All.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 10:37 AM
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I have met one seeing eye dog that flunked out of service training. He was adopted by an employee. The trainers felt the dog was too nervous for reliable service. Went on to become a fine family pet. As I was told, there is a long list of potential adopters. Most end up with employees of the seeing eye institute. Keep in mind, not many dogs flunk out.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 11:53 AM
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Nurse Bishop, that's amazing! I would not imagine that a guide dog would counter surf, etc.!

And then, the abrupt change when he was back with his handler...very interesting!
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 12:07 PM
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Oh, this seeing eye GSD was definitely on vacation He was being a dog
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He prayeth well who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast;
He prayeth best who loveth best
All creatures great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth All.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-30-2019, 10:28 PM
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Nurse Bishop, that's amazing! I would not imagine that a guide dog would counter surf, etc.!

And then, the abrupt change when he was back with his handler...very interesting!
When not in harness a guide dog is a regular dog with all the same curiosities. They do make mistakes and need constant reinforcement. Franklin our black GSD is my husbands guide dog and when he’s not guiding he’s no different than any other dog. He’ll test your patience just the same 😂
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-31-2019, 12:41 AM
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I often think it could be a handler/trainer issue rather than a dog not able to perform. One of my sisters best friends mother used to breed cocker spaniels, and when there was no longer a market for it, she started training service dogs. I started dating her son around the time she got her first pup. Went through 3 pups who could not pass the initial test. They kept two, not sure what they did with the third. But just watching the interaction with her and the dogs, it wasn’t hard for my 14yr old self to recognize the dogs were getting mixed signals from her.

Could very well just be a singular trainer circumstance, but I’ve often wondered about that. If a pup fails with the first family, so they just stop with the dog altogether, or do they try a new handler first?

She is the behavioral trainer at my vets office now. The vet kept encouraging me to bring my guys in to socialize and take the rally classes she is the trainer for, and I just couldn’t get over the past personal experiences with her. She was mean to everyone, including the pups she had for training. Makes me want to tell my vet to get a different trainer, but this was 20 something years ago, so maybe she’s changed. But I’ll always have that mean picture of her in my head.
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