Too many puppies, not enough volunteer puppy breeders, says Michigan’s Leader Dogs for the Blind

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Rochester Hills-based Leader Dogs for the Blind needs puppy breeders.  - SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

  • Rochester Hills-based Leader Dogs for the Blind needs puppy breeders.

“Good boy! What a good boy! Do you want a treat? Look at that snoot! Oh, you’re so cute we could break up and die oh my god, we love you so much!”

Sorry, we just practiced our puppy talk, because the Rochester Hills-based organization, Leader Dogs for the Blind, has a really unique problem: too many Labradors and not enough human volunteers to raise them to become potential future service dogs, Fox 2 reports .

“Puppy breeders are the backbone of our guide dog program,” the group’s website states. “They provide 12 to 15 months of their time, energy and love to raise a puppy for Leader Dog. Through daily care and training, puppy breeders build the foundation our puppies need to become a trusted guide dog for someone who is blind.”

So how does it work?

First, interested puppy breeders must fill out an application where they are asked about themselves, their household, other pets and previous experiences with dog training. Those who already have dogs in the house must submit vaccination records to be approved as puppy breeders. (God, we never get tired of saying that … puppy breeder.)

If it is approved, you will get your puppy, which will be around 7-8 weeks, then you have to give him or her a name, and bam. That is it. The dog is under your care for about a year. You also do not have to take the puppy everywhere, as it is important for the puppies to experience different environments, including being alone at home. And remember, future Guide dogs do not have the same publicity rights as registered service dogs, so do not expect to be able to bring Goldie Hawn (just a suggestion) to brunch.

Veterinary visits are free if you take your puppy to the Leader Dogs for the Blind campus in Rochester Hills, but puppy breeders (squeeze!) are responsible for providing food, toys and other necessities for the duration of the puppy upbringing.

According to the website, no puppy training or even experience with dog ownership is required. They offer free online orientation sessions, as well as provide a manual, access to puppy counselors as well as training sessions. The organization also notes that the Leader Dogs for the Blind network of trainers and puppy breeders is an active and helpful community and can provide assistance throughout the process. Your job? Keep the puppy safe, participate in monthly meetings with other puppy breeders, be consistent with training, keep in touch with the organization, and embrace the experience. After all, Goldie Hawn could change a life.

It should be noted that no all Puppies will advance to service dog level due to a number of factors at which point they are considered “career changed”. Been there. Don’t worry, it’s nothing you did, but the puppy may be destined for something else, such as serving as a service or assistance dog in another field, or you or someone else may be able to adopt the puppy if it does not meet the criteria to become a full-fledged service dog.

To learn more about applying to become a potential puppy breeder, visit or call 888-777-5332.

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