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Puppy Testing

Puppy during testingGuiding Eyes for the Blind is one of the few guide dog schools in the world that evaluate the temperament of four- to eight-week-old puppies. This allows us to focus our funding and, even more valued, our resource of volunteer puppy raisers on the puppies with the greatest potential to one day meet our mission of helping the blind. We look for patterns of behavior indicating how well the puppy adapts to change, its quickness of learning, its energy level, its reactions to noises and novel objects after repeated socialization, and finally its willingness to turn its attention to people, even when tempted by sniffing or another dog. These characteristics are a good indication that the puppy can potentially succeed as a guide dog.

With careful observation of the puppies, and at least two formal temperament tests conducted on each puppy about three to four days apart, we make a decision on the career path that best suits each puppy. Puppies demonstrating less adaptability are often the ones who prefer to be cuddled − these puppies make ideal pets. Others with high energy and strong preferences to sniff and pursue their own instinctual interests are placed as future detection dogs.