GUIDE DOG FOUNDATIONKENNEL VOLUNTEER PROGRAM2012
Guide Dog Foundation & VetDogsWho are we? Since 1946, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. has provided guide dogs free of charge to blind people who seek enhanced mobility and independence. Our students come to us from all over the United States and many foreign countries. Our trademark small classes and individualized instruction often attract students who may have special requirements. We have successfully trained hearing-impaired blind people as well as many physically challenged people.What is our mission? To improve the quality of life for people who are blind, visually impaired, or with other special needs. America’s VetDogs® – The Veterans K-9 Corps® is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and serves the needs of disabled veterans and active duty personnel. To help those who have served our country honorably live with dignity and independence.
Our Program A task force was formed to evaluate ways we can improve safety and working environment for the dogs in our kennel and the people who work with them The program will accomplish: Improved safety of staff and volunteers Reduced stress levels for dogs Improved environmental stimulation for dogs Better learning and training success for dogs
Improved safety Standard technique for entering and leaving runs safely Dogs maintain calm when approached by a handler of any experience level Our motto: “Four on the floor opens the door"
Improved safety Special equipment for walking dogs in kennel One size fits all Less potential for a dog to hurt itself by pulling too hard Requires slightly different handling techniques than a leash and collar
Improved safety SLOW IT DOWN! CALM ENVIRONMENT FOR DOGS AND PEOPLE = BETTER SAFETY FOR ALL!
Reduced stress for dogsWHAT DOES THE WORLD LOOK LIKE TO A GUIDE DOG PUPPY?
Reduced stress for dogsWHAT DOES THE WORLD LOOK LIKE TO A DOG IN THE KENNEL?
Reduced stress for dogsWhat are the effects of stress? What reduces stress? Negative effect on Exercise health Engage in natural Decreased learning behaviors (sniff, chew, Increase in undesirable socialize with other behaviors (barking, dogs) spinning, jumping) Meaningful contact Decreased training success with humans Grooming/body touch
Environmental stimulation Exercise Socialization with other dogs Interactive toys Brushing sessions Massage Fun, easy training games Dedicated social interaction with people EVERY DOG, EVERY DAY!
These activities lead to better learningand training success!
Key items in the program Expanded volunteer hours (10:30 AM – 5:00 PM weekdays, 11:30 AM-5:00 PM weekends) Four level training program Increased flexibility: can stop at any level or do all 4 Everyone starts at Level 1!
Community free run All free run is done outdoors unless determined unsafe by GDF (rain, snow, extreme heat or cold) Dogs are run in groups of 4-10 Second play field added so up to 20 dogs can get out at once. Canine care staff will assist most volunteer shifts Training staff also free run dogs at least once per day Third play field available for training staff (not practical for volunteers)CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW VIDEO
Level 1 SocializerYou must All Level 1 activities take place outsidecomplete at the kennel runleast 10 hoursat Level 1 Calmly talk to and pet dogs throughand pass theLevel 1 test kennel gatebefore Provide positive reinforcement for goodprogressing toLevel 2 manners (calm and quiet greetings) Stuff interactive toys (Kongs, bones Buster Cubes) with kibble Help with community free run setup (water buckets, toys, scoopers)
Level 2 SocializerYou must All Level 1 activitiescomplete atleast 15 hours Play the “Door Game” – practice safeat Level 2and pass the and controlled door openingLevel 2 testbefore Play the “Leash Game” – safely put onprogressing to and remove slip lead without removingLevel 3 dog from kennel Start with one dog and get tested for two dogs once you are confident
Level 3 SocializerYou must All Level 1 & 2 activitiescomplete atleast 20 hours Brush, pet, and cuddle dogs inside theat Level 3and pass the kennel runLevel 3 testbefore Distribute interactive toys at scheduledprogressing to timesLevel 4 Assist staff and Level 4 socializers monitoring community free run (no leash handling)
Level 4 SocializerLevel 4 All Level 1, 2, and 3 activitiessocializersmust follow Calmly and safely leash walk dogs toallprocedures community free run areacarefully andaccurately to Monitor large group free run activitiesmaintainLevel 4 status Calmly and safely return dogs to kennel after play sessions
Kennel volunteer hours of operationWeekdays Weekends Levels 1, 2, and 3: Levels 1, 2, and 3: 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM Level 4 (community Level 4 (community free run): free run): 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM