Posted December 26, 2012 by admin in Uncategorized

The Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind


The Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind began operations on January 1, 1991 with just one objective — to help blind people in Israel to achieve independence and mobility through the use of guide dogs.

From 1953 to 1970, Prof. Dr. Rudolphina Menzel, a psychologist and dog trainer, prepared guide dogs to assist blind Israelis to become more independent and lead as normal a life as possible. There was no one to continue this work at the time of her death in 1970 and Israel was left with no guide dog training center, but with many blind Israelis, both civilians and war veterans. Sending blind Israelis to training centers in the United States solved the problem.

But this was a very partial solution. Only blind Israelis who could understand and communicate in English were sent to guide dog schools in the United States for instruction. Many, unable to comply with these criteria, could not participate and simply never received a guide dog. Even the lucky ones who received a guide dog from overseas found that if a problem with the guide dog arose later on, there was no one to provide the follow up (after care) service so vital to a successful “Partnership” (blind person and dog). The Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind was established to fill this need.


Advantages of guide dog training in Israel

  • The dogs are trained to respond to Hebrew commands and the applicants are instructed in Hebrew.
  • The dogs are trained to guide in Israel’s physical environment and maneuver around typically Israeli obstacles such as bus-stand posts or streetlights in the middle of sidewalks; concrete barriers at street corners or cars parked half on the sidewalk and half on the road.
  • The applicants find the instruction course much less stressful, because during the three weeks of instruction at the Center’s Beit Oved campus, may receive visits by family and friends.
    An additional part of the instruction course involves time spent helping each applicant acquaint his new guide dog with the home and work place environments.
  • Domiciliary instruction (home training) is arranged when appropriate.
  • Aftercare assistance is just a phone call away. Any questions the guide dog user may have about his dog’s performance can easily be answered, as the instructor is readily available.
  • Visits are made every six months or more often when requested.