We have all likely seen a guide dog at work at some point in our lives.
We may stare in awe at how well trained, loyal, attentive and caring the guide dog is to his master. In fact, the scene may make us wonder how guide dogs are actually trained to be the incredible helpers they grow up to be. Allow us to satisfy your curiosity by explaining the steps behind these canine heroes.
In The First Six Weeks
The puppy tends to spend its early day like any other young pup; playing with its siblings, learning from its mother and taking plenty of puppy snoozes!
Up To Around Four Months
The puppy starts to learn basic commands, as well as walking to heel. There is also a focus on the puppy learning general good manners during these early months.
After Four Months
Bigger challenges are introduced to the puppy, such as how to safely go up and down stairs, how to calmly negotiate shopping malls and how to behave on public transport. In addition, the puppy will be given many opportunities to learn how to socialize.
From 14 Months On
Next it’s time for the dog to attend his very own school; guide dog training school! The dog will get used to wearing a specialized harness and begin to learn the art of negotiating obstacles. This is one of the key roles a guide dog has and requires plenty of training. Certainly, it takes the trainee pup a little time to master, however with the right motivation and treats they soon start to get the hang of what they need to do.
From Around 20 Months
After all the hard work, the guide dog is now ready to become someone’s hero. The dog will be matched to a suitable owner and partnership training will commence. This partnership may initially need to be taught, but it soon becomes second nature, both for the dog and his owner.
Indeed, guide dogs are able to positively change the life of a blind or partially blind person. Not only do they provide safety and direction, but they also act as a loyal, caring and committed friend. Next time you see a guide dog with his owner, take the time to think about all the hard work, time and effort that went into making this priceless canine hero.