Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Not Quite Yet

The matching process of human and canine is a huge, and almost magical part of The Seeing Eye experience for our students and staff. Instructors spend four months training their string of dogs, and along the way make careful notes about pace, pull, distraction, energy and other characteristics that will later help them in matching canine to student.

The instructor also evaluates each student through discussion and "Juno walks" (the instructor holds the harness handle, acting as the Seeing Eye dog, and guides the student in various environments, getting an idea of how fast a person prefers to walk and how much pull they prefer). The instructors then combine what they know about their students and what they know about their canines, mix in a some gut instinct, and determine the match.

This morning, students in the October class were matched with their new dogs. After careful determination, the instructors felt there is not a proper match for Vinson's pace, pull, energy level, etc. in this particular class, so he will remain on campus with daily walks and enrichment, and perhaps some additional training, until the next class arrives.


  1. Just curious. Are you disappointed, or were you braced for this? Raising a puppy to become a guide dog sure must take patience!

  2. Great question, Beth! While Sarah and I would love to think that Vinson is already out there working as part of a team in his new forever home, I wouldn't say we're disappointed. One advantage to being on the inside of The Seeing Eye and raising a puppy is that I see what is somewhat common (trained dogs being held over for another class or additional training) and what is uncommon (broken legs!). With that said we really hope he gets matched soon so we can feel that sense of completion of the whole experience. And yes, it does require patience for sure - from day one right on through to the match!

  3. Update please!! Any news on Vinson getting a forever home, being career changed, etc?