Could you give a home to a Guide Dog in training? This is the final stage of training prior to being matched with their visually impaired owner so the dog will be aged around 18 months. The dog will already have spent a year with a puppy walker and 16 weeks at training school.
The 12 weeks' training periods start in July and November. The dog is collected from the boarder's home by the trainer each week day morning between 08.00 and 09.30 ready for the days training. At the end of the day the dog is returned again by their trainer between 16.30 and 18.00. The dog will have worked hard during the day so there is no requirement for further exercise to be given at the start or end of the working day. Over the weekend and on Bank Holidays the dog stays with their boarder and relaxes. The trainer will interact with the boarder to highlight any specific training that they can help to focus on with the dog during this critical period. The boarder must keep in mind that the dog with them is not a pet dog and so habits like lying on the sofa or begging for food are strict no-nos, and the intensity of the week's training might limit the free runs that the dog can be taken on at the weekend. Guide Dogs will pay for all vets bills, insurance and food for the dog in training. People who are interested in becoming Advanced Training boarders are interviewed by Guide Dogs and have a home visit to ensure suitability. It is important that boarders have a secure garden and preferably hard standing approx 2m x 3m that can be simply partitioned off for a spending (toilet) area.
Previous experience of dogs is not necessary as all boarders will attend a training day before the dog is allocated and on-going support is always on offer from the local Guide Dogs team. Respite boarders are available if for any reason the boarder needs to go away during the 12 week period. For many people boarding a trainee guide dog is an ideal scenario as you get the company of the dog without the responsibility of owning a pet dog. It suits lots of different lifestyles; people out at work all day, families with children and older people wishing to pursue retirement activities.