Leader Dogs for the Blind is renovating its kennel into the Canine Development Center, which will strengthen the training process through increased socialization and decreased stress.
Construction on the Canine Development Center is well underway and will be completed in 2016. The first phase, consisting of the veterinary clinic, puppy area, breeding area and lobby, will be complete in 2015. The second phase, renovating our dog bays into open housing villages, will be complete in 2016.
Leader Dog has consulted with trainers and researchers to determine the best environment for housing Leader Dogs in training while they learn their life-changing and in some cases life-saving work. These changes will include:
More space — up to 380 dogs (or 20% more dogs than current kennel) may be accommodated
255 new larger suites — 2.5 times largerthan current housing units, the new suites are very tall and do not have a top enclosure so dogs and people won’t worry about bumping their heads
8,549 more square feet, adding up to 74,148 total square feet
Upgraded veterinary clinic with 35% more space
Future space for new veterinary technologies
Expanded puppy area for 10 litters at a time (tripling current space)
Training bays renovated into open housing villages with space for volunteers and employees to interact with dogs
Puppies will have an indoor/outdoor puppy enrichment area to explore and develop skills. They will be able to easily move from daytime to nighttime accommodations without having to be pushed around in carts
Larger suites for pack cohabitation — up to 60% cohabitation since some dogs like to be in the presence of other dogs both during the day and at night
There are currently over three million people in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired who can become more independent if they receive mobility training.
Leader Dogs for the Blind empowers people who are blind or visually impaired with lifelong skills for safe and independent daily travel.
Leader Dog was incorporated in 1939 and its first class consisted of four people.
Today Leader Dog runs 10 classes per year with up to 20 clients in each class.
Clients attend a 26-day residential program.
All services provided by Leader Dog are completely free for its clients, including travel to campus for the residential program and in-home follow-up services if needed.
Future Leader Dogs spend the first year of their lives with volunteer puppy raisers, who are responsible for teaching them obedience and social and house manners as well as exposing them to a wide variety of life experiences.
Leader Dogs are trained for at least four months on campus prior to being matched with a client.
Approximately 200 client/guide dog teams graduate annually.
Leader Dog does not receive federal or state funding and relies on voluntary contributions to fulfill its mission.
Leader Dog was the first guide dog organization to develop a program to train guide dogs to lead clients who are both deaf and blind.
Leader Dogs for the Blind is the first and currently the only guide dog organization to achieve accreditation from the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC) for applying best practices and delivering services that focus on positive outcomes for its clients.
The Leader Dog food service department prepares all meals for our clients during training. They provide approximately 69 total meals per day; use 1,035 dozen eggs, 996 pounds of beef, 1,115 pounds of chicken and 690 loaves of bread annually.