Guide dogs

8 Feb

Guide dogs are perhaps the most commonly encountered type of working dog, largely because they are seen within more public areas rather than working in specific settings. Puppies are trained so that they are able to guide their blind owners and keep them safe from danger. The training process conditions the puppy to react to situations in a certain way which then informs their owner how to react in order to remain safe. Early socialisation of these puppies is very important; as a guide they need to be able to be around the public and still remain “on the job”. The puppy spends time with volunteers and trainers so that it becomes used to new people and new surroundings. It is then very important that the dog is matched to the correct human as they will need to develop a very strong bond in order to work correctly together. In fact, both the owners and their dogs will continue their training for many years. “Guide dogs” have been expertly breeding and training guide dogs for more than 75 years, providing many thousands to blind and partially-sighted people of all ages and from all walks of life[1]. Although a number of dogs could potentially be trained to be guide dogs, the most commonly seen breed of guide dogs is the Labrador. This is probably because whilst Labradors make great working dogs which are eager to learn, active and alert, they also make great companion animals.

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