Guide dogs for the blind have to go through much more training today than previously. With all the heavy lanes of traffic, push button walk signals and all the changes that have taken place during the last years it isn’t easy. Training is much more complicated but these dogs still pass with flying colors. Without these guide dogs, blind people would have much less chance of living a normal life. During a lifetime a blind person will go through several dogs, but when the dogs retire, they can stay with the owners if it’s agreeable.
Guide dogs for the blind have to be more intensely trained than previously. It’s a whole new ball game with button activated walk signals, skate boards, quiet cars, other dogs and heavy traffic. Dog Trainers work hard to assure that your dog wont be distracted anywhere. Anything that keeps a dog from focusing on his duty is a distraction. Never pet a guide dog without the owners permission. If you meet a guide dog and his owner, be sure your dog is kept leashed.
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Guide dogs are taught to keep their masters safe. If the dog considers a command unsafe, he will not move. The owner must trust his dog and follow his lead. Guide dogs must watch for cars turning on red, six lane streets. traffic islands, baby strollers, handicapped ramps, objects on the sidewalks and curb cuts. Some blind people use a GPS to keep track of where they are but no technical gadget can take the place of a guide dog. The dog owner is the leader and is responsible for caring for the dog and giving him praise. They must share a bond of love and trust. Owner and dog work as a team.
Guide Dogs for the Blind, which has a campus in San Rafael, north of San Francisco, trains about 2,500 of the guide dogs working in the U.S. They breed the puppies, and place those who qualify with trainers for 16 months. Then, the dogs train about three months at the school and go to a handler for further training. The school pairs dogs with masters that have a similar personality. If the blind person can’t afford a vet, the school pays for it. Most guide dogs retire at 8 or 10 years old. They can stay with their owners or go to an adoptive home.
One of the good things about Guide Dogs for the Blind is, they offer support throughout the life of the dog,and it’s free. One person may be paired with several dogs throughout his life time and the organization is there to help through each transaction
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