What is The Seeing Eye?

The Seeing Eye is the oldest guide dog school in the world. Established in 1929 by Morris Frank and Dorothy Harrison Eustis, The Seeing Eye enhances the independence, dignity, and self-confidence of people who are blind through the use of specially trained Seeing Eye dogs.

How do I become a puppy raiser?

To become a puppy raiser for RUSEPRC, you must have been in the club for one year, attend club meetings and events on a regular basis, complete all requirements, and submit a raiser interest form. The current raisers in the club then vote on those who have submitted a raiser interest form, as to who will become a new raiser. 

How do I become a puppy sitter?

To become a puppy sitter you must attend two general meetings (one of those meetings being the Sitter Lecture) and an outside handling session scheduled by our Puppy Educators and Handling Coordinators, as well as take the sitter quiz, which includes a handling portion. After passing the quiz, you can become a puppy sitter, but you still must continue to attend at least half of all weekly meetings and at least two events during the semester. If these requirements are not met by the end of the semester, then you will no longer be considered a sitter. In order to remain a sitter, all members in good standing must take a Recertification Quiz at the beginning of each semester, which includes a handling portion. 

When and where are club meetings held?

Meetings are held on every Wednesday of the semester at 8:45pm in Bartlett Hall on Cook Campus, unless notified otherwise. 

Can I raise a puppy in my dorm room?

Unfortunately, puppies are not allowed in and cannot be raised or sat in any of the dorms on any Rutgers University campus. The currently approved areas are twenty specific apartments spread out throughout the Newell and Starkey apartments on Cook Campus (eighteen Newells and two Starkeys). Puppies can also be raised off-campus as long as the raiser receives approval from their landlord.

Are puppies allowed in all the classrooms and campus buildings?

There are certain places that our puppies are not allowed simply because of University rules and safety issues! Our puppies in training are not allowed in any dorms, unapproved apartments, dining halls, and labs.

What identifies a puppy as a Seeing Eye puppy?

The Seeing Eye provides each puppy with a green bandana (puppies younger than 6 months) or a green vest (puppies over 6 month) which identify the puppies in public.  Please do not go up and pet or call out to a dog wearing one of these bandanas or vests. When the puppy becomes a guide dog it is very distracting to the dog and handler to have people just walk up and pet the animal.  Instead, speak directly to the handler – we’d be more than happy to talk to you and will often then allow you to pet our puppy!

What kind of training do the puppy raisers give the dog?

Raisers teach the puppies basic obedience and give them lots of social exposure and love.  At each meeting an obedience circle is held where the basic commands consisting of sit, down, rest, and recall is reviewed. Raisers and sitters take the puppies to class in order to teach them when it is appropriate to be calm and quiet, and when it is play time. The dogs are also taught good house manners such as staying off furniture, not jumping up on people, not barking/whining, and no people food.

What breeds does The Seeing Eye use?

German Shepherds, Labs, Golden Retrievers, Golden/Lab Crosses, and the occasional Poodle.

What is the most important role of the puppy raiser?

You need to show your puppy as much of the outside world as you can so the puppy can become accustomed to its future work environment. Puppies need to be exposed to things such as car travel, sounds, sudden noises, animals, crowds, slippery floors, stairs and stores so that they will not be intimidated by these things as Seeing Eye dogs.

Can we take the puppies everywhere since they are going to be Seeing Eye dogs?

Although working Seeing Eye dogs are allowed access to all public places, Seeing Eye puppies are not. You will need to check with managers or owners before visiting a public place to make sure it is okay, though they may not allow you access to their facility. If they say no, politely thank them and try elsewhere. We do not encourage taking puppies to food stores and restaurants.

Is it difficult to give the puppy back for training?

Yes, it is. But knowing that you are raising your puppy to enhance a blind person’s independence makes it worth the effort. If you do a good job with your puppy, you can raise another one, which will help to minimize the sense of loss you may feel when your dog returns to The Seeing Eye.