The How guide dogs work.

HOW GUIDE DOGS work
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How do guide dogs work?



Dogs are great pets, and they can certainly make great companions! But for many dog owners, the most they see their pet work in a day is chasing a rabbit or a squirrel in the backyard. And let’s face it, that’s just fun for our canine friends isn’t it? It’s true, many dogs don’t actually work that hard, and they have a pretty leisurely life. But there are other dogs that, while they are just as happy as domestic pets, they also lead lives that are full of work. And important work it is! These types of dogs, known as guide dogs, help people fulfill daily tasks and activities, and help them get around. Without these guide dogs, many people wouldn’t be able to perform even the simplest tasks. But just what do guide dogs do, and how do they work?

What Guide Dogs Do

There are guide dogs for just about any disability that a person could have. Seeing eye dogs, or dogs that help the blind get around, are the most common type of guide dogs. But there are also guide dogs for those that have autism, are confined to a wheelchair, or have another disability that doesn’t allow them to move as freely as they would like. In most countries around the world, guide dogs are allowed to go wherever the public is welcome. This allows the guide dog’s owner to get to wherever they might need to. Some places that guide dogs are allowed, whereas pet dogs are not, are on city buses and in courthouses. But, the dogs are in these areas for very specific purposes, and they must be able to perform a number of duties.

When out on the roads and in towns and cities, guide dogs have a number of tasks to perform. Firstly, they must be able to keep to a specific route, and in the meantime ignore distractions from all the sights, sounds, and smells that they may come across along the way. Guide dogs are also trained to walk just a little ahead and to the left, of their owner. To avoid their owner falling, they must be able to stop at every curb along the way, until their owner tells them to keep going. Guide dogs must also be able to stop, move forward, or turn right or left on command – and they must do it every single time they hear the command! In addition to these very basic commands, a guide dog must be able to do a number of other things. They must be able to guide their owner’s hand to elevator buttons, and lie down quietly when their owner is sitting.

But there’s another task that guide dogs must be able to handle and that’s called selective disobedience. This is one reason why guide dogs are so incredibly smart. Selective disobedience is when a guide dog hears a command from their owner, but disobeys it because they know it will put their owner in danger. For instance, if an owner tells a dog to step off a curb, but there’s a car approaching quickly. The dog would need to be able to recognize the danger in the situation, and disobey their owner’s command. This is an incredible skill that guide dogs have because they must be trained to be completely obedient, but still be able to judge a situation and still always do what they think is best.

This unique ability of guide dogs is very indicative of the relationship between a guide dog and their owner, or their handler as they’re called. The guide dog doesn’t control the handler and try to tell them what to do. But the handler also doesn’t hold complete control over the dog. Instead, these two work together to make sure that tasks get done and that both of them are kept safe and happy at all times.

Guide dogs do work incredibly hard, but they love their job too. In fact, it’s part of every guide dog’s training to make sure that they love what they do, otherwise they won’t be assigned to a handler. But, dogs don’t have a lot of “doggy fun” when they’re working. Praise is not usually given, because they’re simply performing their job, and praise can distract them from what they’re doing. Petting and playing is also not part of their job because these too, provide major distractions from helping their handler. This is why it’s so important for members of the public to respect the job the dogs are doing when they see a guide dog. It’s natural to want to pet and praise them, but these are distractions, and will not help the dog or their handler.

However, after coming home from a hard day’s work, guide dogs can play just as other dogs do. Guide dogs tell the difference of whether they are on the job or not, by the fact of whether or not they are wearing their harness. When their harness is on, a guide dog knows that they are working and that they are not to be distracted. But when that harness comes off, you can bet that the guide dog is going to chase balls and their own tail, as well as come up to their owner for a snuggle and pet, just like other domestic dogs do.

The Making of a Guide Dog

So, where do guide dogs come from? Well, they don’t just come from a pet store. Guide dogs are usually bred at guide dog schools. These schools are generally non-profit organizations that are dedicated to training and breeding guide dogs, and they usually provide their dog guides at absolutely no charge for those who need one. These schools not only provide and breed the guide dogs, but they also train them to do everything that they will need to do on the job, and they often also team up guide dogs with their handlers.

Guide dog schools have three general breeds of dogs that they use. These are Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers. These dogs are chosen because they are known to be especially intelligent, friendly, and have great stamina. Only dogs that have shown an aptitude for guiding, and a love for it, are chosen to be bred for guide dogs. Even though the dogs are carefully bred and trained, still not every dog was meant to be a guide dog. Guide dogs schools generally release about twenty percent of dogs out of the program. These dogs go on to help in other service areas, or they are given away as pets, once they are spayed or neutered to help control the pet population.

How Guide Dogs are Raised

Once a puppy has been bred in a school, often they will go to a puppy raiser. These puppy raisers are just people who love dogs and who have applied to the guide school to be a puppy raiser. The school will have an application process to ensure that the dog is going to a good home, and that the puppy raisers are given a training course so they can better train their dogs. Puppy raisers play a big role in a guide dog’s life. It’s the raiser who will first teach the dog some very basic commands such as “sit” and “lie down”, and will adapt them to social environments and social situations. Socializing a guide dog is one of the most important aspects of their training. This is because guide dogs need to be able to go out into the world and not be distracted by everything that’s going on.

Puppy raisers also use only a leash and praise to train a guide dog; treats and food are never used. This is because when a guide dog is on the job, they will need to know that they are expected to complete their job, without the expectation of getting a treat as a reward afterwards. Puppy raisers must also get their dog accustomed to going through several training sessions many times a week, and to getting accustomed to many different situations. Being a guide dog is a complicated job, and there are many situations that will come up that the dog is not used to. A guide dog must still however, be able to complete their task without distraction. This is one reason why guide dogs in training are often exposed to five to ten different experiences and situations every week. It trains them not to pay any attention to them.

Once the puppy has stayed with the puppy raiser for a little while, and have gotten the basics of their job down, they will be given back to the guide dog school. This usually happens after the first year of living with a puppy raiser. It can be a very difficult emotional situation, because the dog and the raiser have gotten to know and love each other. But, it’s a wonderful experience too because the raiser has done such a huge job and made such a huge contribution. Many puppy raisers will get another dog once their year with their dog is over, because they loved the experience so much and can’t wait to do it again!

When the guide dog is returned to the school however, their training is not finished. They will then learn to fine tune the different aspects of being a guide dog, such as walking. This training will last for usually four to five months and they will learn different skills separately. The first skill that’s learned is how to walk like a guide dog and like all the following steps, this is done gradually. First the dog will be trained to simply walk from one place to another. Then they will be taught to walk to the left and in front of the handler. Once that has been mastered, they will then be introduced to increasing distractions, until the distraction is built up to a large degree. Once the dog masters this, they are then fully ready to be a guide dog, because the trainer can be sure that nothing will distract them. Walking is one of the most important skills in being a guide dog, and just learning to walk will go on through the entire training process.

Once the dog has the basics of walking down, they will then be taught to stop at curbs, and then to assess the current situation before embarking off the curb. For this reason, many dog guide schools will actually have intersections built somewhere on their grounds, so that the dogs can become accustomed to them and learn all the different things that can happen within them. After the training has been completed, they will then be assessed and evaluated to see if they are suitable to go on to become guide dogs. Those that are evaluated to be ready to be a guide dog will then go on to meet their new handlers!

The guide dog school is also responsible for pairing up suitable dogs with suitable handlers. This is a very important part of the process too because the school must ensure that they are making pairs that have compatible personalities. A young energetic dog for example, would not be a very good match for an elderly person while a quiet and older dog might not be good for a young person who has a lot to do and many activities to take part in. Once the teams have been paired up, there will then usually be a ceremony or event to commemorate the fact that new handlers are being given dogs. The puppy raisers often come to this event to meet the handler that will be taking care of the dog that they looked after. This is often a very emotional part of the guide dog process! Once the handlers have all received their dogs, a trainer will then usually work with both the handler and the dog for a few months to make sure that they are getting along, that the handler knows how to work with the dog, and that the dog is comfortable with their new handler.

Retirement

Just like any person that works for their entire life and then retires, a guide dog also works and then retires. However, because being a guide dog is so physically and mentally demanding, a guide dog usually retires just before they reach old age, not after they already have. The average age for guide dog retirement is around eight to ten years old. Some dogs will retire earlier if they can no longer perform the work, and some dogs will continue being guides until they are 13 or 14! Retirement age really depends on the dog.

Once a guide dog has retired, their handler will usually get a new guide dog. But they will also have the option of keeping the retired dog as their pet. Many people like this option because they have gotten to know and love the dog so much. Others however can’t keep two pets and so they give the dog back to the guide school. If that happens, the guide school will just look for a new home for the dog and often, the puppy raisers will end up taking the dog back because they’ve missed them so much!


guide dogs.

 How guide dogs work.