Canine Development Center
The Canine Development Center (CDC) is where potential Guiding Eyes for the Blind (Guiding Eyes) guide dogs get their start − literally! This is an exciting place where the first steps are taken toward producing a successful guide dog team: breeding, birthing, socializing, screening, and placing high-potential puppies in loving, nurturing puppy-raising homes.
Guiding Eyes has been breeding their own dogs since the mid-1960s, to ensure a reliable resource of quality dogs to train as guide dogs. Prior to that time, extensive time and effort was invested in searching shelters and other sources for adult dogs and puppies; unfortunately, the majority of these dogs eventually failed to meet the rigorous standards required of guide dogs. Our Canine Development Center is at the leading edge of advances in canine genetics, breeding technology, and behavioral development. Over many generations of selective breeding, Guiding Eyes has maximized the qualities required for a working guide dog and minimized health problems that could disrupt or shorten a guide dog’s working years.
Approximately half of the 500 puppies bred each year will become working guide dogs. However, every special puppy goes on to find his or her place in the world − as a guide dog, another type of service dog such as a detection dog, or a loving pet in a carefully-screened home.
The Puppy Raising Program, in existence almost as long as Guiding Eyes itself, is one of the most well-developed programs of its kind. Puppy raisers receive comprehensive training before being matched with a puppy that best suits their needs and abilities. Raisers are supported with regular classes that emphasize relationship-based puppy rearing techniques, allowing them to bring their pup to its fullest potential.
To fulfill our mission the CDC focuses on breeding and raising the best quality guide dog candidates to supply our training program. In addition, guide and service dog schools throughout the world benefit from Guiding Eyes’ outreach efforts that provide numerous puppies, adult dogs, and frozen semen, and disseminate best-techniques breeding and training practices.
We are grateful to a highly dedicated staff, an extensive network of volunteers, and the financial support of donors, all of whom make it possible for us to help increase the mobility and independence of the blind individuals we serve.