We have all seen guide dogs at work with their owners, and most of us are duly impressed by the amount of dedication, work and focus that this animal exhibits. These dogs can help those with physical challenges live life to the fullest, whether it is getting to and from work or simply enjoying a day at the park or the mall. Have you ever wondered how much time and effort it takes to do dog training for the blind? There is a long and involved process that is at work in preparing one of these amazing dogs to be matched with an owner. The time, energy and number of people that are involved in dog training for the blind make these dogs even more remarkable when you consider what goes into preparing one of these animals for their duties.
Raising the Puppies
Many of the animals that are used in the dog training for the blind programs are bred specifically for this purpose. There are many characteristics that make these dogs successful in this endeavor, including their overall health, willingness to work and ability to avoid distractions like other animals and food. Once these puppies are old enough to be taken from the litter, they are placed in the home of a volunteer who will raise and train the dog until he is old enough to begin the formal dog training for the blind. This usually amounts to a period of a year or more, leading to an emotional goodbye between the handler and the dog when the time comes for additional training to take place.
Once the dog has been sent to the official program for dog training for the blind, it is again assessed to ensure that it has the proper characteristics to make it a successful guide dog. If the dog is not found to be a good fit for the program, it becomes available for adoption. The list to adopt one of these animals is long indeed, and priority generally goes to the original handler and others who support the guide dog program. If a dog is deemed suitable, it is sent to an intense training program of dog training for the blind that will generally last for a few months in duration. During this time, the dog is taught how to perform in a large variety of situations and circumstances.
Matching Dogs to Owners
Upon completion of the training program, the dog will be carefully matched with an owner to ensure that the two will be compatible in every way. The new owner will then also go through a rigorous training program with his new dog, to ensure that he knows how to work with and care for his animal in the best way possible. A licensed trainer will usually accompany the pair for a period of weeks, or the owner will attend a training program onsite to learn the ins and outs of working with his new guide dog. The two are then able to begin their new life as a team that will go everywhere together.