Trained dogs who aren’t chosen to become working guide dogs are renamed ‘career changed’ dogs and can be adopted by the general public as wonderful family pets instead
Not all dogs who are trained as guide dogs make the cut – whether that’s down to their health, skills, behavior or difficulty to train.
Dogs who aren’t picked to become guide dogs are renamed ‘career changed’ dogs and can be adopted instead.
It is also possible to adopt a retired guide dog who has finished their working life and cannot remain in the company of their owner.
Both retired and career changed dogs make wonderful family pets, and are often in high demand in the UK.
Guide Dogs, the UK’s largest breeder and trainer of working dogs, said they receive endless inquiries every year from people who are interested in adopting their dogs.
Here is everything you need to know about adopting and rehoming a retired or career changed guide dog.
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How can I adopt a failed or retired guide dog?
Adopting a failed or retired guide dog is not a simple process and it may take some time until you are matched.
The selection process is usually based on suitability rather than on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The easiest way to adopt is by approaching a guide dog charity, breeder or training organisation.
Usually they will have an application process and a waiting list.
For example, Guide Dogs have a strict dog placement program where staff individually screen and select a home for each dog.
Which dogs are available for adoption?
As Labradors and golden retrievers are typically the most popular breed of guide dogs, they are the most common dogs up for adoption.
However, some charities and organizations may also have Labrador cross golden retrievers, German shepherds and poodles available too.
Most of the career changed dogs will likely be between one and two years old.
It is possible that they may have health conditions or behavioral issues.
Can I adopt a guide dog puppy?
Most guide dog charities and organizations do not rehome young puppies.
This is because they want to allow their dogs to reach a certain age before making a decision as to whether or not they can become a working guide dog.
How much does it cost to adopt a guide dog?
The price of adopting a guide dog can vary, however Guide Dogs state that adopters will be asked to pay a rehoming fee of up to £500.
Guide Dogs said: “All of our dogs are neutered, microchipped, health checked and have regular preventative treatment against worms and fleas. Those that rehome one of our dogs will be taking on all costs.”
Why don’t retired guide dogs stay with their handlers?
Working guide dogs usually retire after nine to 11 years and after this time they may become available for adoption.
It is common for a guide dog to remain with their owner or the owner’s family after they retire, however this isn’t always possible.
In this case, retired guide dogs are put up for adoption to enjoy their hard-earned retirement with a loving new family.
Often, the rehomer will be asked to keep in contact with the original owner, as the dog has been their companion for a large part of their life.
Why might I be turned down for adopting a dog?
There are a few reasons why individuals may not be able to adopt a career changed or eligible retired guide dog.
If you work full time and the dog is likely to be left alone all day, you may not be suitable.
Guide Dogs said: “Our criteria is that the dog is left for no more than four hours in a 24-hour period.
“We do not count dog walkers, being dropped off at another home or people letting the dog out at lunchtime.
“Our dogs are highly socialized with people so do not like being left or taken elsewhere from the family home as many have very specific needs.”
Another reason you may be turned down is because the guide dog doesn’t match with other pets.
Guide dogs explained: “We are always open to rehoming a dog with other pets including cats if appropriate. However, not all of our dogs may be suitable and some may prefer to be the only pet.
“Each case is dealt with on an individual needs basis and this will always be discussed with the rehomer.”
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