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Fun facts about Seeing Eye dogs.

By Mickey, #FutureHero dog reporter

A golden retriever puppy wearing glasses with a caption that reads, “Did you know?”

I love when folks have questions about how a cute, fuzzy puppy becomes an expertly trained Seeing Eye® dog like me.  After all, what we do — helping someone who is blind navigate the world with enhanced confidence, freedom, independence, and mobility — is pretty pawsome, if I say so myself!

So, in case you were wondering, here are the answers to a few FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)...

How long does it take to train a Seeing Eye dog? Photograph of a young woman holding the harness of a black lab Seeing Eye dog.  A TSE trainer helps place the young woman’s hand on the harness.

At seven weeks old, the dog is placed in the home of a volunteer puppy raiser and taught basic obedience and socialization. At about 14 months old, the dog returns to The Seeing Eye and begins a four-month course of evaluation and training with a sighted instructor. After that phase, the Seeing Eye dog is matched with a person who is blind and they train together for up to one month.

How does a Seeing Eye dog know when to cross the street?  Photograph of two golden retriever Seeing Eye dogs leading their owners across a city street.

Dogs don’t see colors the same way people do and can’t read traffic lights. The owner learns to judge the movement of traffic by its sounds, and will command the Seeing Eye dog, “forward.” The dog will not carry out the command unless it

is safe to do so.

How does a Seeing Eye dog know where a person who is blind wants to go?  Photograph of the head of a german shepherd.

People who are blind generally know their own communities and can direct their Seeing Eye dog wherever they want to go. In a new location, like sighted people, they will ask for directions and communicate them to their Seeing Eye dog by using the proper commands.