Rehoming a guide dog

Withdrawn guide dogs for behavioural or health reasons

Sadly, sometimes dogs don't make the grade to become a guide dog. Once withdrawn from the training programme, they are assessed for their suitability for other approved assistance dog organisations. These organisations will be able to utilise the skills the dogs have already learned, and provide the working lifestyle they have been brought up to fulfil. If this is not an option, the dogs are available for rehoming.

Although they do not make it as guide dogs, these dogs can make wonderful pets. It must be remembered though, that they are all withdrawn from the programme for either a health, behaviour or temperament reason and normally require on-going health care or training. Some of our dogs for whom we need homes have complex needs, and these vary from case to case.

A health condition may well involve ongoing costs or a temperamental reason may require a knowledgeable home and the dog will come with recommendations for specific handling methods and advice to take the dog to obedience training classes or similar.

Homes for retired guide dogs

Guide dogs usually retire from work around 10 or 11 years of age. After this time the guide dog often remains with their owner, family or friends, but if this is not possible, Guide Dogs will rehome the dogs to new owners, where the dogs can enjoy their hard-earned retirement.

As with many dogs at this age, retired dogs will often be showing signs of age-related health conditions - such as arthritis. These potential issues must be borne in mind when considering rehoming a dog as these elderly dogs often require more frequent visits to the veterinary surgeon which can be costly and you would need to be able to access suitable transport to get the dog there. It is also important to recognise that retired guide dogs have spent most of their life in human company and may become distressed if left alone too frequently.

Our criteria is that the dog is left for no more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period. 

We do not count dog walkers, being dropped off at another home or people letting the dog out at lunchtime. Our dogs are highly socialised with people so do not like being left or taken elsewhere from the family home as many have very specific needs.  

Guide Dogs strongly recommend that the rehomer of a dog arranges Public Liability Insurance cover, to protect themselves against their own liability for the actions of the dog and insurance cover for veterinary treatment.

We NO LONGER keep a Rehoming Waiting list, and your application will be matched against the CURRENT dogs we have for rehoming.  Your application will be kept on file for six months, and if you do not hear from us within that time, it means that we do not at present have a dog that is suitable for you. After the six months, please re-apply.

If you would like more information, please read the following:

Rehoming FAQs

Rehoming steps and application

Elderly labrador lying on a carpet


Only 75% of trainee guide dogs meet our high standards to qualify to become guide dogs.


Insure your pet with Petplan and support Guide Dogs at the same time!

At Guide Dogs we believe pet insurance is an important part of responsible pet ownership, whether it is for your retired guide dog or any other pet you own. We have partnered with Petplan so that all our retired guide dogs receive 4 weeks’ free insurance when they go to their new homes.

What’s more, receive a 10% discount on Petplan insurance for your own pets.

Cosby, german shepard with owner running on the beach