At Southeastern Guide Dogs, we’ve matched over 2,700 guide dogs with students whose lives are changed forever after they leave our school. And it all starts with our puppies. We breed intelligent and friendly Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and goldadors (that delightful blend of Labrador and golden) in our clean, well-ventilated kennels. Our puppies romp on our playground, frolic with volunteers, and enjoy fresh air and exercise. They eat a healthy, vet-approved diet. Our own veterinarians and veterinary nurses staff our clinic and provide timely medical care.
Our puppies love humans. (And we love our puppies!)
From an early age, our puppies enjoy intentional socialization that exposes them to motions, sounds, and surfaces. Puppy-hugging sessions teach them to love all shapes and sizes of humans. Volunteers and kennel staff help them run and play. After weaning, volunteer puppy raisers open their homes to our puppies to teach them manners, basic obedience, social skills and expose them to the wider world.
Teaching obedience — and disobedience, if necessary.
At about 14 months old, our dogs begin intensive harness training with certified trainers and skilled apprentices. These clever dogs learn more than 40 commands, including intelligent disobedience, which means disobeying commands that place a human in danger. Trainers gain trust and teach obedience through respect, repetition, and love. And our dogs love the attention!
Taking it home.
After harness training, dogs are carefully matched by personality and gait to visually impaired students. For 26 days, students live, work, and learn together on campus with their new guide dog. After an emotion-packed graduation and fond farewells, we follow up with our guide dog pairs for life. We also offer home-based placement services for students with special needs.
Our guide dogs have met rigorous medical and behavioral standards before being paired with a student. Dogs who don’t quite meet these standards are selected to change careers into other fields.
From breeding to whelping, training to graduation, healthy and happy puppies are the foundation of Southeastern Guide Dogs.