These Pups Failed to Become Guide Dogs—Here’s How to Adopt Them

updated Oct 5, 2019
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There is no on or off season for adopting adorable puppies and dogs, and shelter adoptions are not the only options for welcoming a furry friend into your home. Career change dogs, also unfortunately known as failed training dogs, are a great alternative to many families who desire a specific breed and/or a pet with an obedience training background.

Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) is a training school for dogs—particularly Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Lab/Golden mixes—catered to the blind and visually impaired. GDB’s services are free of charge and include everything from training and post-graduation support to financial assistance and veterinary care. While a “failed guide dog” may sound like a negative thing, it’s no reason to knock the adoption of what is actually a professionally trained dog. However, these dogs are not to be used as working guides for those with special needs.

Dogs who fail GDB’s program generally fall into two categories: 40% medical (allergies, etc) and 60% behavioral (too much energy, not kid-friendly, etc). Drop out dogs are typically between one and two years old.

However, there are some requirements. Adoption is only open to those living in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and North Texas. Adopters must travel to one of GDB’s campuses (and bring all the family members, including kids and current dogs) to match with a dog, and are required to pay a $750 adoption fee at the time of adoption.

They’ll also have to purchase an extra large size crate and have a fully fenced area or kennel run at home that meets height and safety requirements. Adoptive families should work with the medical or behavioral needs of the dog, and attend dog training classes appropriate to the temperament of the new dog, as career change dogs often need further training or behavior modification.

Still not convinced? GDB was the subject of the award-winning 2018 documentary, “Pick of the Litter,” which guides viewers through the birth, puppyhood, and training process of five adorable puppies. As you may have guessed, not all puppies grow up to be guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired, but all are given a fulfilling purpose. It is currently available to watch on Hulu.

To learn more about GDB and their adoption process, visit Guide Dogs for the Blind.