Guide dogs have transformed the lives of people. You may have encountered a guide dog and are probably curious about how it works. Here are seven facts about guide dogs to help us appreciate these spectacular companions.
1. A great amount of effort goes into pairing guide dogs with their handlers.
Being carefully planned, every aspect of their life is taken into account when choosing a dog for the handler.
The handlers’ hobbies, how active they are, other family members and pets, and living arrangements. Whether or not the dog will be happy in their environment is the big deciding factor.
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2. Once they have chosen a candidate for the handler, they have to go through a lengthy training process together.
Forming a strong bond between the handler and the guide dog is extremely important. This takes hours of training with a professional.
A misconception is that a person can just pick up the harness of any dog and they will be guided. This is far from the truth. The handler and guide dog form a special relationship that is not easily replaceable.
3. The dog breeds most commonly used as guide dogs are:
German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers. Sometimes Standard Poodles are used for people with allergies.
The breed is a big deciding factor when pairing, matching the energy level of the dog with the activity of the handler.
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4. Guide dogs begin their training when they are very young puppies.
They progress through a long series of levels before they are paired with a handler. Once puppies are 8 weeks old, they are taken to a puppy raiser where they learn socialization and basic obedience.
At 12 to 18 months, they then progress to formal training at a guide dog organization, where they have to progress through multiple training levels. This can take months to complete.
5. A misconception is that guide dogs can read traffic lights or signals.
Actually, it is the handler’s job to listen to the movement of traffic and command their dog when it sounds safe to move forward. The handler gives directional cues which the guide dog follows and is trained to disobey if they see an unsafe situation in their path.
The guide dog’s job is to identify hazards that a blind person cannot detect such as an obstruction. The handler trusts the dog’s decision to determine if it is safe to obey the command or if they should disobey, depending on what they see in the environment.
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Important Rule When Seeing A Guide Dog
6. When you see a guide dog busy working, never pet them.
As hard as it is to resist their adorable and kind nature, it could distract them from doing a very important job. A working guide dog will have their harness on, so you can look to see if it is safe to pet them or not.
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7. Guide dogs have brought freedom into the lives of blind people.
Compared with using a cane, a guide dog offers better mobility and independence. Working dogs have transformed the lives of people. You can read an amazing story here of how Joey Rump about the obstacles she overcame with the help of her assistance dogs.
Thank you to flickr for the beautiful image
Blind Dog Sees His Family For The Very First Time After Years
This could very well be your favorite video of the week if you have a weakness for those videos in which a blind dog sees their loved ones for the first time.
Duffy, a rescue Irish Terrier, lost his sight due to diabetes.