What is the Retirement Process?

Guide Dogs of Texas recognizes that the ending of a partnership and the retiring of a guide dog can be an emotional time. Our Retirement Program strives to make this transition as smooth as possible for you and your dog. In general, our dogs retire at 10 years of age. A retirement period is important for each dog because although they enjoy what they do, guiding someone is hard work. As the dog ages, instructors will schedule more frequent visits to ensure your safety and efficacy as a team as well as to monitor the health of your dog. Around the time your dog reaches 9 years of age, an instructor will re-interview you. This allows Guide Dogs of Texas to begin looking for your next dog and to help mitigate the time you might spend without a guide dog.
Throughout this process, instructors are available for phone support and Support Visits as you discuss you wants and needs for your current dog as well as your wants and needs for your next dog. Under the supervision of Guide Dogs of Texas, you have several options for your retiring guide dog. If you are able to continue to care for the physical, social, and mental needs of a retired and aging dog, you have the option of keeping your retired dog as a pet. If you prefer, you can ask friends or family members to rehome your retired guide dog. Additionally, Guide Dogs of Texas can assist by matching your retired guide dog with one of our families awaiting a rehomed dog. In any case, instructors work closely with you to ensure that your dog will have a well deserved and wonderful retirement.

Retirement Program FAQ

  • Does a retired guide dog have access rights?
  • Although retired guide dogs no longer have access rights, they enjoy going places that other pets can go such as parks and pet stores.
  • Can a retired guide dog be left at home all day alone?
  • No, since the time a guide dog is born he is socialized to be around people all the time. Leaving a social dog alone all day is very stressful for the dog. As with our working dogs, we try to limit the amount of time a retired dog is left alone to 4 hours at a time.
  • Will a guide dog be happy once he has retired?
  • Yes! Retired guide dogs get to enjoy activities such as playing games, napping in the sun, swimming in the lake, and taking leisurely walks. Every dog will require daily exercise as well as physical and mental stimulation.