Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Northern California
Well that’s unfortunate Wolfy but it’s hard to say, when judging a dog who did not make it as a guide, that his initiative was trained out of him... when that would be extremely counterproductive to the programs goals. Guide dogs need to have high initiative and the ability to make independent decisions in order to excell in their jobs. Perhaps his lack of initiative, motivation and work ethic is one of the reasons he did not succeed... also keeping in mind that genetically, things like scent / hunt / prey drive etc are going to be (or should be) significantly lower in dogs bred for guide work. Anyway... all speculation... in my experience with hundreds of career changes, the dog you describe is not typical.
At my organization there is not short of 20 different “drop codes” aside from medical in which a dog may be released from the program, most of things would typically go unnoticed to your average pet owner or at least would not be problematic in a pet home (surface avoidant, equipment sensitive, bird interest, alert barking, being solicitous, relieving in harness, even occasional cosmetic flaws that would draw too much public attention).
For the dogs who make the program - temperaments and energy levels vary considerably when you think that a fragile, petite, 90yr old woman who lives in the country would not have the same needs in a dog suited for a 20yr old athletic college student that travels thru New York City on a daily basis.
Our dogs know the difference between work and play but not all take advantage in the same way.... either way, downtime (dogtime) is emphasized in puppy raising, training, and also once issued.
When dogs are career changed they are evaluated and placed in the appropriate home or alternative line of work based on their temperament and taking into account their drop reason. Those sweet, sensitive, lower energy and easy to manage dogs may be placed with a blind child to help them prepare and transition to having a guide dog later in life.... those high energy, driven and pushy types will get snatched up by other organizations like search and rescue or with an adopter that is looking for an agility or running partner.
So to the OP.... all of that said, the majority of the dogs do well. The system is set up for them to do well. Be honest in what you’re looking for and that what they’ll attempt to place in your home.
Puppy raising however is a different ball game..... lots and lots of seemingly unnecessary rules, but believe me, there is a reason for them. If you are truly looking for a pet then I would explore adoption over puppy raising.
I am fine continuing the conversation here, but know that my PM box is also open to you as well.
Lastly - keep in mind that when you come across certain terms like “high prey drive”.... that typically means too high to be acceptable for a guide dog, compared to your standard GSD, most would consider these levels to be quite low.
TILDEN: Male: Blk/Red LHGSD: DOB: 12/24/06 65lbs of Love
KEYSTONE: Male: Sable: DOB: 2/11/13 55lbs of Go!!!!!
Last edited by Fodder; 03-24-2018 at 04:57 PM.