About Guide Dogs | From Puppy to Guide Dog
We are working to provide guide dogs to every blind and vision impaired Israeli that can benefit from guide dog use. Our guides dogs are bred from specially selected Labrador and Golden retrievers. When the puppies are 8 weeks old they are given to puppy raisers across Israel (the vast majority are university students) who provide a warm and loving home for the first year. The puppies are exposed to public places, public transport, and busy streets so they will become accustomed to real-life situations they will need to deal with in the future as guide dogs.
At the end of the year the dogs return to the center for evaluation and screening. Dogs with suitable physical and behavioral traits begin a five month training program with our professional trainers. Dogs that do not pass assessment are matched with families with special needs.
The dogs in guide dog training learn to walk in a straight line, walk around obstacles on the sidewalk, stop at every curb, and ignore distractions such as cats, other dogs, and birds. After the dogs have learned these skills and are capable of leading a blindfolded trainer on a 30 minute walk, they are matched with a blind person.
Each client undergoes a personal interview and screening process and is then paired with a dog that suits their life style and physical characteristics. They attend a four week training course. Three weeks at Beit Oved and another at the home environment.
The IGDCB provides support for the entire time that the team works together.
When guide dogs are ten years old the dogs are retired. These dogs receive a warm loving home for the rest of their lives. The clients retrain with a replacement dog. .