Rehoming a Guide Dog FAQs

No – we do not home very young puppies. A dog has to be a certain age before a decision is made about its potential to be a working guide dog, the typical age for withdrawn dogs is usually between 6-18 months old. We would encourage all people considering rehoming a puppy to look at our rehoming scheme and consider a withdrawn or retired dog. If you are still considering a puppy then you may wish to read about our puppy walking scheme.

We typically breed Labrador cross golden retrievers but do also have pure Labradors, Golden retrievers, flat coat retrievers and German shepherd dogs occasionally available. Characteristics do vary from breed to breed and dog to dog. Information about particular breeds can be found on the Kennel clubs website. 

Retired:
These dogs usually retire from work around 9 to 11 years of age. It is common for the guide dog to remain with their owner or their family or close friends who have been associated with the dog throughout its life. Sometimes this is not possible so we look to find a suitable home where the dog can enjoy their hard-earned retirement. Retired guide dogs have spent most of their lives with constant human companionship and owing to this they can become distressed if left alone too frequently or for long periods of time.

Withdrawn:
These are commonly dogs that have been withdrawn from our training scheme before they become a guide dog. Typically these dogs will be around 12-18 months old. This can be for a number of reasons either health or behaviour related, these dogs which may not be suited to guiding may be perfect as a pet dog. Atypical behaviour reasons which make a dog unsuitable for a working life with guide dogs include many types of distractions, suspicions or anxiety around other animals or people. Health withdrawals can include skin, eye or joint conditions. 

You will be given the dog’s history and all relevant information for the dog. You will be allocated a specific Rehoming Officer who will be able to answer any questions at the time of your home visit and throughout the rehoming process. In addition to this you will get a call from your Rehoming Officer approximately two weeks after you rehome a dog from us. If deemed necessary a follow up visit can be arranged. If at any time your situation changes the dog must be returned to Guide Dogs where the Rehoming Officer will source another appropriate home.

All of our dogs for rehoming will normally need to be introduced to your family at one of our four Guide Dog training schools. The school where your application is processed is likely to be where we would ask you to attend for the introduction and collection of your dog. However, on occasion we may contact you and offer you a dog which is outside of your area, in which case you will be asked to travel the distance to where the dog is located.  

Please note: A prior appointment must be made with your Rehoming Officer to view the dog. All rehoming is by appointment only.

As we are not a rehoming/rescue charity we do not have specific centres. Entrance to the dog training schools is by appointment only. You will be given full details and an appointment time to meet any prospective dog by your Rehoming Officer.

As we are not a rehoming or rescue charity we do not advertise our dogs to be rehomed. The reason for withdrawal from training varies and we prefer to match our dogs and rehomers based on their needs rather than their looks. You can see images of rehomed guide dogs and typical working guide dogs across the website.

For a member of the public to rehome a dog from us it costs £350 for a dog under nine years of age and £150 for a dog over nine years of age. All of our dogs are neutered, microchipped, health checked and have regular preventative treatment against worms and fleas.

No – due to the fact that our dogs have been used to constant human companionship this would be detrimental to their ongoing welfare. This includes people who work full time but come home for a lunch break.

Unfortunately as you work full time and no-one else is in the home during the day we cannot proceed any further with your application. The dog has to be cared for within your home by a family member (who lives with you).

Our criteria is that the dog is left for no more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period. We do not count dog walkers, being dropped off at another home or people letting the dog out at lunchtime. Our dogs are highly socialised with people so do not like being left or taken elsewhere from the family home as many have very specific needs.

The reasoning behind this is that the dogs are with people 24/7 while they are being puppy walked and then in the initial stages of training, and we found that in the past if we rehomed to familes who were out all day the dogs became destructive as they were bored and also lonely. This meant that we had a high percentage of dogs being returned.

Unfortunately as you work full time and no-one else is in the home during the day we cannot proceed any further with your application. Our dogs are highly socialised with people and are not suited to being left alone for long periods.

Our criteria is that the dog is left for no more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period. We do not count dog walkers as being part of your family and therefore the dog would be left more than the 4 hours. People coming home at lunchtime also would not count.

Some dogs are withdrawn from their training before they become a guide dog. Typically this will be at around 12-18 months old but it can be later. This can be for a variety of reasons either health or behaviour related. Just because a dog may not make the perfect guide dog it may still make the perfect pet. Typical behaviour reasons which make the dog unsuitable for a working life as a guide dog include various forms of distraction, suspicion and or anxiety about other animals or people. Health withdrawals can include skin, eye and joint conditions.

Yes – all of our dogs are neutered, microchipped, health checked and have regular preventative treatment against fleas and worms.

Retired dogs normally retire from work around 9 to 11 years of age. It is common for the guide dog to remain as a pet with their owner, family and/or close friends but sometimes this is not possible so we look at where the dogs can enjoy their hard-earned retirement. Retired dogs have spent the majority of their lives with human company and owing to this can become distressed if left alone too frequently or for long periods of time.

Yes, we are always open to rehoming a dog with other pets including cats if appropriate. However, not all of our dogs may be suitable and some may prefer to be the only pet. Each case is dealt with on an individual needs basis and this will always be discussed with the rehomer.

Ideally we would ask rehomers to take on all costs for the dog. However, if the dog has an ongoing or serious condition any ongoing financial support can be discussed with your Rehoming Officer.

Guide dog owners and their family and close friends can be nominated to rehome a dog. This happens prior to the dogs being made available to the general public. When rehoming a retired guide dog we do ask the rehomer to make contact with the guide dog owner as these dogs have been their companion and means of independence for usually between 7 and 8 years of their lives.

Guide Dogs regularly transfers withdrawn dogs to other Assistance Dog charities. All dogs are screened for their potential use in these charities before being offered to the public for rehoming.