At the end of the puppy raising period, a decision is made as to whether the dog will proceed to guide dog training. This is determined after the review of previous temperament reports and the In-For-Training test, an indicator of training aptitude. The information derived from the IFT test is extremely important in determining the best career path for the dog. It also plays a crucial part in Guiding Eyes’ commitment to producing superb guide dogs.
The dog will be exposed to various animated toys, noises, and objects and will also wear a guide dog harness and experience a mock vet exam in a controlled setting. The dog and handler will work both with and without food, assessing the dog’s biddability, obedience, acceptance of body handling, and reaction to unusual stimuli. Confidence, patience, and a willingness to work as a team are some of the characteristics essential for guide dog work. Guiding Eyes believes each dog “chooses its own career.”
The date of a dog’s In-For-Training IFT) is determined by the pup’s readiness, progress, and some logistics involving other dogs needing to be scheduled. The dog’s IFT date is subject to change to meet a variety of Training Department needs. Once the IFT is scheduled, raisers fill out a Final Evaluation form, providing information that will contribute to a smooth transition and optimal care for the dog.
After IFT, our vets perform a thorough medical screening of each dog. Hip and elbows are evaluated for freedom from joint disease and eyes, heart, and other body systems are examined. Health problems or dietary restrictions that present potential maintenance issues or risk shortening the career of the guide dog, are cause for release from guide dog training.