It’s important for all puppies to be exposed to new sights, sounds, and experiences, but even more so for puppies who will go on to become guide dogs for visually impaired individuals.
This video shows the first 21 weeks of guide dog Jackson’s life, during which he opens his eyes for the first time, learns his name, gets accustomed to the stairs, meets his “puppy raiser” family, and goes through the training process of Guiding Eyes for the Blind before being paired with his forever partner.
The story highlights not only an individual dog’s progress in the program, but also an important partnership that may improve the success of seeing-eye dogs in the future. Guiding Eyes for the Blind is working in conjunction with IBM to collect and analyze data, including 30 years of breeding information, medical records, and notes from puppy raisers, trainers, and foster parents.
The data was moved to IBM Cloud, and students at San Jose State University are working to determine if genetic patterns can be linked to performance in guide-dog work and if personality traits can lead to more successful pairings.