Facts About Guide Dogs for the Visually Impaired/Blind Community:
- Nearly 2,000 Californians use guide dogs.
- Almost 20% of all guide dog handlers live in California.
- The handler uses about 20 different commands to direct the dog. The dog, trained through repetition and praise, will disobey a command and signal through its rigid harness when it’s unsafe to proceed.
- You should never pet a working guide dog without asking the handler’s permission first.
- Puppy raisers are volunteers who care for, train, and socialize guide dog puppies. A puppy lives with a puppy raiser for 15 to 18 months.
- Guide dogs spend six months in training before meeting their human partners. Blind handlers spend about one month training with their dogs.
- Like all dogs, guide dogs enjoy playing when they’re not working.
- Guide dogs work for about six to ten years. They usually start working at the age of two-and-a-half.
- Dogs that succeed as guide dogs are “career change” dogs. They become family pets, service or therapy dogs, or search and rescue dogs.