Dog Training 101 : Guide Dog Training
Dogs that receive special training so they can lead partially-sighted or blind people are called guide dogs. The most commonly used breeds are Labradors and Retrievers. The working life for such dogs usually lasts for seven years.
Guide dog training begins when a puppy is around seven weeks of age. Older dogs can also be trained for guide dog work. There are training facilities that breed their own dogs for the specific purpose of training them to guide.
Not every dog is qualified to become a guide. The training process takes anywhere from one to six months. First, the dog is assessed for guide ability. Many physical tests are performed to make sure the dogs health and behavior is desirable.
Puppies born to guide dogs are often preferred, however a favorable bloodline does not guarantee guide dog status.
The dogs found suitable are trained to be guides for the visually impaired. This training is conducted to teach the dog how to lead a visually impaired person through obstacles and across the street. The dog will also be taught how to retrieve objects for their owner.
Training is done in phases of increasing difficulty. Progress is strictly monitored and eventually, the training will commence on busy streets around heavy traffic and pedestrians, as well as in public places like stores and restaurants.
The visually impaired individual who will later own the guide dog joins in the training process at some point. Both the owner and the dog have a lot to learn. Some training schools offer accommodations for the dog’s new owner so they can stay there until training is complete. Other schools do not offer this and the courses take place at the owner’s home and outdoors. Many schools offer follow-up services and refresher courses as well.
Lots of training schools for guide dogs exist where you can find the right dog for you. A guide dog can improve your quality of life, not only providing you with a pair of helpful eyes, but also a lifelong friendship.