The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is appealing for puppy walkers
Volunteer puppy walkers are urgently required by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to raise the next generation of guide dogs in Tayside, Aberdeen, Glasgow and North Fife.
An important part of a guide dog’s training is time spent as a puppy exploring the world and everything in it, and volunteer carers play a crucial part in their development.
Potential puppy walkers are interviewed to assess their suitability by their local Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy supervisor. Volunteers need to meet the following requirements:
- Have access to a car.
- Be at home for the majority of the time and not leave the dog for periods.
- Be prepared to regularly take the dog with them wherever they go.
- Access to a securely fenced garden.
Kenny Hamilton, Guide Dogs’ walking manager says: “Our dogs need to be introduced into varied environments ranging from the pub to the supermarket. Basically they need to go anywhere a blind person goes.”
Carers are asked to care for pups from weaning until they are about 14 months old. During this time they will be responsible for the care and basic training of each dog. This includes house training and walking confidently ahead of the handler without pulling.
The dogs need to be introduced to a range of environments, sights, sounds and smells ranging from public transport to bustling town centres and most important of all they need to learn not to chase cats!
The majority of dogs are selectively bred first crosses, such as Labrador/Golden Retrievers, although occasionally they do use pure breeds such as German Shepherds, Labradors and Golden Retrievers.
Although it can be hard saying goodbye to a family friend, puppy walking is a rewarding experience, especially when you consider you are raising a dog which has the potential to become someone’s eyes. The association pay for all veterinary and feeding expenses and supply basic equipment.
Anyone interested in becoming a puppy walker should contact the Guide Dogsfor the Blind (tel: 01307 463531) or visit www.gdba.org.uk
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