dog training, dog behavior, dog health

Seeing Eye Dog Training: A Labor of Love

The relationship between people who are blind and their guide dogs is so important that it’s vital to have expert seeing eye dog training.  These dogs are, after all, the blind person’s eyes to the world.

With the dog as their guide, the blind person is given the confidence to move around without hesitation and without the worry of someone tripping over their canes.  So since the blind person is so dependent on the guide dog, it’s critical that the dog be adequately trained for such a responsibility.  Because, in essence, it’s as if people who are blind are turning over their lives to these animals.

The guide dog as well as the blind person has to adapt to each other. Or should I say the dog has to adapt to that person’s lifestyle. How then does one accomplish this?  How do we forge and build this human/animal bond.  Essential ingredients: complete trust and respect.

Aside from the basic obedience training, guide dogs for the blind have to go that extra mile.

Guide dog training usually begins when the dog is just a puppy, even as early as a few weeks old. For the first year these puppies are nurtured with loving care, learning basic obedience and introduced to interacting with people and being exposed to experiences in public places. The trainer pays close attention to the puppy’s temperament.  (Personality counts with dogs too, you know.) Eventually, when it comes time to match the dog with a blind person this characteristic will be significant.

During the training period the puppy’s health is rigorously monitored.  And the dog is taught to recognize specific commands. After a period of time say, two years, the puppy, now grown is matched with a blind person.

This process takes into consideration the personalities of both the blind person and the dog.  Also in the mix is matching the person’s size to the dog as well as the person’s lifestyle.

As you can see, pairing a blind person with a guide dog is a finely tuned and thorough process. The training of these dogs is done by professionals who have the capacity of love and care that’s critical to the success of seeing eye dog training.