Guide Dog Training
Guide dog training programs are extremely important because guide dogs are trained to see for those who cannot see for themselves. Many factors are taken into consideration when deciding if a dog is a good candidate for guide dog training including:
• the dog’s willingness to learn
• the dog’s ability to concentrate for long periods of time
• the dog’s intelligence
• the way the dog pays attention to touch and sound
• the dog’s health
But even when a dog has all the necessary positive qualities sought out by guide dog trainers, that does not necessarily make them good candidates for guide dog training. Many good dogs are screened out because of undesirable qualities such as:
• a nervous temperament
• aggressive tendencies
• extreme reactions to other animals
In order to properly determine whether a dog is a good candidate for guide dog training, the trainer needs to spend a quality amount of time with the dog. It will not be able to be determined whether or not a dog is a good candidate for guide dog training in just one visit. In some guide dog training programs, if the trainer determines that the dog is suited for guide dog training, but is not quite ready, the puppy may go back to it’s raiser for another month or two, so it can mature, then return to guide dog training. If the dog is determined not to be suited for guide dog training, commonly the school will attempt to place the dog in another line of service dog training.
Once a dog is determined a good candidate for guide dog training, the training process can begin. Different schools have different guide dog training methods, but commonly, guide dog training will last from four to six months. In order to ensure the dogs master all the complex guiding skills they will need, guide dog trainers have to introduce them to each situation gradually. After the trainer has introduced all that will be expected of the dog, the guide dog training is basically a system of rewarding correct performances and punishing incorrect performances. The reward system works in guard dog training because dogs have a natural need to please authority figures.
Guide dog training is an important part of dog training, as the blind depend on guide dogs to help them get to where they are going.