Pet Pause: Leader dogs that help visually and hearing impaired - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Pet Pause: Leader dogs that help visually and hearing impaired

by Natalie Sparacio

WAKE UP WISCONSIN (WAOW)-- The Leader Dogs for the Blind school  was established in 1939 by 3 Lions members.

It is located in Rochester Michigan.
They need about 300 trained dogs per year.  Their dogs are trained to guide the visually impaired or the hearing & visually impaired.
Their web site is
Their toll free number is 1- 800 777 5332
They have their own breeding program, but they also accept donated dogs.
Puppies from their breeding program have a 65% success rate & donated dogs a 10% success rate.
It costs about $35,000 per graduating team (dog & human).  The person receiving the dog is not responsible for any of that cost.  The school is funded by donations from individuals,corporations and Lions Clubs.
Their puppies are raised by volunteers, who donate their time and the cost of veterinary care & food.  The volunteers agree to socialize the puppies their 1st year of life and teach them their basic obedience and house manners.  We have to get special permission from businesses to take puppies in public places.  A trained dog guide is allowed into public places because of the Public Access Law that protects them. 
When the puppy returns to the school it starts the formal harness training with an instructor at Leader Dogs.  That process takes 4 to 6 months. 
If a visually impaired person would like a dog guide, they submit a detailed application, and if they are accepted there is about a 4-6month waiting list to get into a class at Leader Dogs.  Once they are given a dog they have a 28day training period at Leader Dogs before they go home with their dog. 
 Online Reporter: Natalie Sparacio


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