1. How long does the dog's training period last?
When the dog reaches the age of 8 weeks, it is sent to a foster family. There he will learn basic obedience, develop its social skills and receive much love. When it reaches the age of 18 months, it will return to the Training Center and begin a 6 to 8 month course. When it finishes the course, the dog will be assigned to a blind person. Both man and dog train together with the help of a trainer. Blind people who are guide dog owners for the first time will take part in a 28 day course. Those with prior experience will join the 20 day course.
2. Must a person be totally blind to join the program?
No. However the person's eye sight level will be examined to determine if he /she is eligible to become a candidate.
People who still have a certain amount of ability to see, must not give in to the temptation to lead the dog. They must allow it to take responsibility for their safety. Each person is evaluated on a personal basis.
3. What is the greatest difficulty faced by blind people with Seeing Eye dogs?
The greatest difficulty is interference by other people. When a seeing person takes a blind man by the arm or touches the leash of his dog, he is interfering with their control of the situation, much like a passenger touching the driver's steering wheel while he is driving.
4. Are people with Seeing Eye dogs allowed into public places?
The Laws Protecting the Rights of Handicapped People in Israel guarantee blind people and their dogs complete access to all public places. The dogs are trained to behave properly while on public transportation, restaurants, shops and anywhere else their owner may choose to go.
5. How does the dog know where his owner wants to go?
Usually, blind people are familiar with their living environment and are able to lead the dogs to their destination. The basic commands are: Forward, Right and Left. In a new and unfamiliar environment, the blind person will usually ask for directions, which he will pass on to his dog.
6. How does the dog know when to cross the street?
Dogs see colors differently than humans and are not able to distinguish between the different colors appearing in the traffic lights. The dog's owner learns to evaluate the vehicle movement by listening to the sounds in the street. When the time is right, he will command his dog by saying: Forward. The dog will follow the command only if it is sure there is no danger.
7. How long does the dog's "working career" last?
A Seeing Eye dog will mostly work between 7-8 years. There are many Seeing Eye dogs which have continued to work up to the ages of 10 or 11 years.
Seeing Eye dogs which reach retirement age become pets and will be given to friends or relatives or returned to the training center.
8. What happens to a dog which does not complete its Seeing Eye training?
The school will turn to the dog's foster family and offer them the dog as their pet. If they are not interested, the training center will find an interested family. In such cases the dogs are often placed with families which have children with special needs.
9.What is the price of a Seeing Eye dog?
The cost of training a guide dog is 150,000 shekels.
10. Does the government supply resources to the school?
Yes. We have an agreement with the Ministry of Welfare which includes reimbursing the school 15% of the total cost of each guide dog that graduates.