A Day in the Life of Our Dog Care Team

An insider’s look at how our future Leader Dogs are cared for, both physically and mentally, while staying in our canine development center.

For over 80 years Leader Dogs for the Blind’s dog care staff have worked hard to ensure the health and well being of hundreds of our dogs in training. Currently, the 24 members of dog care cover two shifts a day – 365 days a year – no exceptions.

Group Play

Just like people, a dog’s life needs variety, fun and a chance to expend some energy. Having fun in dog terms means playing with your friends (Keep Away is a canine favorite). The canine care team makes sure every dog has at least one group play opportunity daily This activity is always supervised and can range from 2-10 dogs playing at one time. Pictured: LDB Team Member Dominque.

A woman kneels on a blue-gray hard floor while petting a yellow lab chewing on a dog toy. Another yellow lab and black lab play with each other nearby. In the back are large kennels.

Cleaning

Ensuring the good health of our canines includes making sure their living environment is clean. Our canine care team regularly sanitizes every village with a disinfecting cleaner specifically made for animal care facilities. In between these cleanings, spot cleaning is done as needed (which is pretty often with upwards of 15 dogs per village). Pictured: LDB Team Member Abby.

A woman pushes a mop into a pool of soapy water covering the floor of the kennels and surrounding area. The water appears to be running toward a drain.

Grooming

Dog care staff are with a group of dogs from the time they enter training until they are issued to clients. This level of personalized care extends to grooming the dogs. Most dogs enjoy the human touch during the grooming process. Grooming also provides team members the opportunity to inspect the skin and coat health of each dog. Pictured: LDB Team Member Alyssa.

A smiling woman with blonde wavy hair using a green brush to groom a golden retriever standing on a platform next to her. The dog has its mouth open and looks at the camera as if smiling

Enrichment

Whether in our canine center or in our home, individual enrichment time with a person is extremely important for all dogs. Dogs relax during the daily one-on-one contact and love the hands-on experience as they are played with, brushed and petted. The dog care team is trained in providing TTouch™ massage, a specific method of touch that the dogs really enjoy and sometimes puts them to sleep. Pictured: LDB Team Member Stephanie.

A smiling woman kneels next to a yellow lab while massaging its ears in its large kennel area.

Feeding

The loudest and quietest times of the day are both centered around feeding time when anticipation of a meal quickly turns into satisfied consumption. Our team members feed Purina® Pro Plan® to our dogs in training. The dog must have all four feet on the ground or be seated before the team member opens the suite gate to deliver a meal. Nap time follows mealtime and staff often have to wake the dogs up for the last park time of the day. Pictured: LDB Team Member Angela.

A woman with long brown hair in a ponytail and a black Leader Dog hoodie leans toward a yellow lab that's seated on a raised bed. The woman is preparing to set down a bowl of kibble.

Bathing

When it’s time to bathe the dogs before they meet their new human partner, our dog care team is happy that every village is equipped with a special bathing station. These stations bring the dog up to human level, so no kneeling or leaning over. Of course, some dogs are not thrilled with bath time, but they all seem to love the towel rubdown afterward! Pictured: LDB Team Member Ellen.

A woman with auburn hair in a ponytail and a gray Leader Dog shirt and light gray apron towels off a black lab that she's bathing. The dog in standing in a metal dog washing station.

Phew! That’s certainly a busy day. Thankfully, we have many wonderful volunteers who assist our canine care team on a daily basis. We wouldn’t be able to serve our clients without generous people like you and these fantastic volunteers!

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