For many of us it can be a challenge just to get our beloved pooches to sit so the mind truly boggles at the idea of a guide dog being so well trained and responsible for the safety of a human, and yet over 1000 new guide dogs are trained every year in the UK!
We take a look at a few interesting facts about these wonderful service dogs and their training;
It takes at least 18 months to train a guide dog.
After graduating doggy basics 101 each guide dog goes into formal guide dog training and between the ages of 12 months – 18 months the guide dog will meet his guide partner so they can get to know each other and train together before they are sent off into the sunset of companionship and care!
He’s not a know-it-all
It might look like the guide dog has it all figured out and knows exactly where to go but in fact the dog is listening and reacting to instructions and clues from their blind partner. Using Intelligent Disobedience, the guide dog will then refuse a command if it’s deemed unsafe.
Humans are bigger than dogs
Guide dogs are trained to understand height and width, not just direction, to make sure that their blind person can safely get through spaces.
Why did the guide dog refuse to cross the road?
Ever wondered why the blind person with their guide dog won’t cross the road at a crossing, even if you’ve stopped your car to let them pass? Guide dogs know that roads and cars are unsafe and therefore may not lead the person across the road until the way is clear, even if the car is stationary.
Distractions are dangerous!
You should never pet, feed or talk to a guide dog without asking the owners permission because the dog is hard at work protecting his human, distractions can be dangerous – especially in newly qualified guide dogs.
Guide Dogs are not just for the Blind!
In this post we’ve mostly referred to the Guide Dog’s owner as blind but in fact, there are many reasons that a person might have a Guide Dog including hearing impairment, mobility issues, chronic illnesses and mental health issues.