Adopt a Career Changed Dog

A German shepherd runs along a beach near the water on a sunny day, his tongue hanging out

When a dog is not able to serve as a Leader Dog, we refer to it as career changed. Most times these are wonderful dogs that make terrific pets but are not well suited to be guide dogs. Most career changed dogs are available for adoption by loving people, although some will have the opportunity to become different types of service dogs, such as police, customs or assistance dogs.

Career Change Orientation

Leader Dogs for the Blind requires that all families interested in adopting a dog attend an orientation about our career change program.

Upcoming orientations are currently scheduled for:

  • Saturday, July 14 from 2-4 p.m.

Register for an orientation

Host a Leader Dog Mom

Consider hosting a Leader Dog mom in your home. This volunteer opportunity has a female Labrador retriever or golden retriever living in your home during her breeding career of two to three years. This includes the dog whelping her puppies in your home and caring for them for the first six weeks of life. After the Leader Dog mom is retired, you get to adopt her and have her with you for years to come. Learn more.

Additional Requirements for Adopting a Career Changed Dog

We also require a:

  • $25 application fee
  • $1,000 donation from those adopting a career changed dog to help cover veterinary and boarding costs while the dog has been in our care

All career changed dogs are x-rayed, neutered and current on all vaccinations and heartworm preventative.

Age, Breeds and Other Information About Career Changed Dogs

A career change can happen at any stage of the guide dog program. Often these dogs are not able to meet our medical requirements or personality assessments. Some dogs just don’t have the desire to work in this way—or are too interested in chasing squirrels!

  • Age: Most dogs are between 12 and 30 months of age. However, dogs 5 years and older may be career changed.
  • Breeds: Breeds available for adoption include Labrador retriever, golden retriever, German shepherd or a Labrador/golden retriever cross.
  • Housebreaking: We do not guarantee that an adopted dog is housebroken.
  • Hip dysplasia: A common reason we career change many of our dogs is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia ranges from minor to severe and is common in large breed dogs. Minor dysplasia may never result in serious problems if preventive measures, such as proper exercise and weight control, are taken. Severe dysplasia is likely to result in restrictive movement, arthritis and possibly surgery as the dog ages.