Reclassified Dogs What is a reclassified dog?

Due to the specific and exceptionally high standards required in successful Guide Dog work, some puppies are not suited to the intensive Guide Dog training process

Although some may not have the traits required of working Guide Dogs, they do have many skills and the social attributes that may lead to an alternative career – through which they may provide support and independence to others in a wide variety of ways.

We take great care to ensure that our dogs’ ongoing health and welfare is considered before we place any of them into a new home.

Priority for our reclassified dogs is given to identifying an alternative role through which they can support a new handler’s independence.

If such a role cannot be identified, we will then look for a suitable family ‘forever’ home.

In the case where one of our dogs is reclassified as a pet, priority will be given to people who support our ongoing efforts to enable Victorians, who are blind or have low vision, to achieve a life without limits (e.g. Major donors, Puppy Raisers, Breeding Stock Guardians, etc.).

PLEASE NOTE: Unless specified due to the nature of any ongoing role, our reclassified dogs do not have the same access rights as a Guide Dog/puppy in training or a working Guide Dog.

Guide dog puppy

Reclassified Dogs Pets As Therapy Program

Dogs can play an important role in the emotional and physical development of children and young adults with low vision. Our Pets As Therapy offer a source of love, companionship and, importantly, an opportunity to experience and learn about the responsibility of caring for an assistance dog.

Additionally, many of the young people involved in the program may move on to use Guide Dogs in later life. The puppies can help lay important foundations for future interactions and relationships.

As with the Guide Dog program, Pets As Therapy dogs are carefully selected to meet the individual needs of each young person. Program coordinators visit each young person’s home to discuss these needs and, if appropriate, determine the best dog for that environment and to allow the person and their family to ask questions.

A specific training programme may then be developed to ensure the dog is ready to support the individual needs of the young person.

To ensure each young person establishes a sense of responsibility, the ownership of the dog is transferred to the family upon permanent placement.

Priority is given to current Guide Dogs Victoria clients.

To find out more about the Pets As Therapy program or the application process:  Phone: 1800 804 805 or Email:

The Pets As Therapy waiting list is currently closed.

Reclassified Dogs Companion Dogs

Our Companion Dogs are matched, primarily, with current Guide Dogs Victoria clients who need the ongoing friendship, support, happiness and calming stability that one of our reclassified dogs may bring.

We will also consider applications from others who may have physical or intellectual impairments.

Companion Dogs bring ongoing enjoyment to individuals and their families alike. They also offer the benefit of regular exercise through walking and playing.

Guide Dogs Victoria will provide support in helping the dog settle into their new home before the placement is confirmed.

Please note the Companion Dog waiting list is currently closed.

A group of five puppies - two blonde sitting on each side of a black puppy

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) Dogs

Reclassified dogs may require additional training to further develop skills and traits that are identified during the GDV Guide Dog training program. This training may be provided by GDV staff or, depending on the potential opportunities for the dog, through an appropriate partner agency.

One such organisation is Integra Service Dogs Australia. Integra Service Dogs Australia work with Veterans and First Responders living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and their families by enriching lives through highly-trained canine guardians.

A not-for-profit organisation, Integra supports Veterans and First Responders through the provision of dogs that provide security, assistance and friendship to those with PTSD as a result of their time in service.

Once a dog is identified as showing potential for this work by GDV staff, Integra Service Dogs Australia carry out a more specific assessment of the dogs’ potential before providing additional training in readiness for matching with one of their own clients.

Contact Integra Service Dogs Australia via their website here for more information.

Mr Walker

Reclassified Dogs Finding family homes for Reclassified Dogs

A limited number of Reclassified Dogs are offered to the general public. Whilst they are usually aged between 12 and 18 months, there are occasions where we look for a suitable ‘forever’ home for an older dog that is retiring from its role as a working guide dog or one of our breeding stock.

Every reclassified puppy offered to the public has been neutered and they are also socialised to ensure they are well mannered and house-trained.

We prefer to offer these dogs to homes that are similar to their current environment as there is a strong possibility that dogs can become restless or overwhelmed if they receive significantly more or less stimulation than they have become used to.

Our dogs are not, therefore, offered to households where they will be left alone for long periods of time, or if there are any concerns to the dogs ongoing care & welfare.

Homes with very young children and / or other pets will be considered on a case by case basis.

Applications for reclassified dogs are now closed. 

guide dog Warren

Reclassified Dogs How do I apply for a Reclassified Dog?

Applications for reclassified Guide Dogs are currently closed. 

Please follow us on Facebook for updates on when this list will re-open.

Guide dog mum with 2 pups