My husband and I purchased two Australian Shepherds about a year ago. Since then, my husband has lost much of his sight and is now considered legally blind. I was wondering if one of our dogs could be trained as a seeing eye dog for him. They have tons of energy and I have read that they are regularly trained as seeing eye dogs. Does anyone know?
Pretty much any dog can be trained to be a seeing eye dog, but they start them at a very young age. I think Labs are most popular as seeing eye dogs, but really, any dog can be one, well, maybe not a chihuahua because they're a bit too small. I went to school with this severely handicapped lady. I think she went as a hobby, because she was in every single yearbook I had seen for years back. But anyway, she had an assistance dog. Her first retired when I was a junior due to cancer. It was a black lab mix. Then she got some other thing that I can't even put a breed to.
As far as your husband's eyesight goes, you can always teach your own dog to do certain things to assist him, since they are still kind of young. Assistance dogs are in training for a couple of years at least before they are matched to an owner. I wish I could remember the name of the organization that I was gonna go through to become a trainer a long time ago, because I would tell you to contact them to get advice on how to train him and to get an actual answer from them. But, I don't remember. Sorry. Anyway, good luck and I hope it works out for you and your husband!
Their size may keep them from being more widely used as Seeing Eye Dogs. Labs and German Shepherds are really the more preferred breeds when it comes to seeing eye dogs.
As for training your dogs to be seeing eyes, I would have to say that's out of the question. For those of us who do know how all this works, training starts early for a seeing eye dog. There's so much they have to learn and only certain dogs can ultimately become seeing eye dogs in the very end. This isn't something any dog can do and do at the age of your current dogs.
I was reading an article on color vision in dogs and found out that Labrador Retrievers were preferred as seeing eye dogs because they actually have a wider field of vision than other dogs. Isn't that interesting?
I would check around because I know there are places that have training for people who want to train their own dogs to be guide dogs.
I beleive one place is in Arizona, not sure where the others are.
Also if your dogs are very well socilized and doen't get freacked out in strange siturations or stratle easily when they are in public. They may be good for what you want.
There is more to it then that, but those are what the puppy raisers train the puppies in their first year. Now between 12 and 18 months they are in their advanced training stages. Where your dogs would be.
I know their are privete indiviauls that train guide dogs and a lot of them get their dogs from human societys. So even if your dogs haven't been in a puppy raiser home like other guides doesn't mean they won't make one. Doesn't mean they will either. Only half the dogs raised in puppy raiser homes make it as guide dogs.
There is also an orginzaton in Washington that might be able to help you. Not sure they work with guide dogs, but I know they work with people training their own service dogs. Even if they don't do guide dogs they may be able to put you in touch with someone to help you with your dogs. Sorry for the life of me I can't think of their names. If I remember it I'll let you know.
Any dog can be used as long as your husband can reach the dogs harness with out straining his back. They are even training minuture horses to being guides for the blind.
One other thing you will have to get libiallity insurance for your dogs in case they do bit someone out in public. Which is why most people go though the orgizations. They already have the insureance and it doesn't cost you anything.
Good luck there are places that you can go to. Wish I could give you thier names, but I'm sure if you look around you can find some.
There are separate buisinesses you can contact for this, to train your dogs. But just because they use your breed type for service dogs does not mean yours are exceptable for the job. Alot more dogs are rejected then accepted, but its worth a try. I would train one to be a seeing eye dog and the other to be a special skills dog.