What Exactly is a Guide Dog?
As I look around, it seems as though it is raining puppies and dogs. Can you guess where I am? No, it is not the humane society. Give up? I am at a training facility for guide dogs, where everywhere, including the office, there are dogs being played with, spoiled with love, and working hard with their trainers.
Now that I have given you a mental picture of what a guide dog training facility looks like, you might like to know what they actually do there. At least that is what I wanted to know. I was amazed after seeing a student at Florida State University with his guide dog, and watching the two interact together. I stared as the dog helped his master avoid people and stopped at the bottom of each series of steps leading up to the Love Building. I had never seen anything like this before. I believed this showed people how smart dogs are and how humans and dogs can intelligently interact together. This incident is what intrigued me to want to know more about dogs as guides. I wanted to know how guide dogs are chosen and trained. Is there a particular breed that is easier to train? These are the questions we will find the answers to.
I began my search on the Internet. I was very surprised to see how many guide dog training schools have their own websites. Some only talked about how to volunteer or make contributions to their program, but others were very helpful in my search for information. One of the very first sites I visited gave me a great definition of tasks a guide dog is trained to do. According to the Assistance Dogs International website, guide dogs are provided to assist blind and visually impaired people in avoiding obstacles, stopping at curbs and ste...
... middle of paper ...
... well behaved guide dog you may have seen in the grocery store or somewhere else.
Assistance Dogs International. n.page. Online. Internet. 27 Sept. 1998. Available WWW: <http://www.assistance-dogs-intl.org/service.html>
Green, Kathleen. "You're What? Dog Guide Instructor." Occupational Outlook Quarterly. (Winter 1996): 47-49.
Guide Dog Association of N.S.Wales and A.C.T. page. Online. Internet. 28 Sept. 1998.
Available WWW: <http://www.guidedogs.com.au/>
Harrington, Paula. Guide Dogs for the Blind: Looking Ahead. San Rafael: Guide Dogs
for the Blind, Inc. 1990.
Southeastern Guide Dogs. Online. Internet. 27 Sept. 1998. Available WWW: <http://www.guidedogs.org/segd-home.htm>
Ulrich, Katherine. E-mail interview. 22 October, 1998.
Witchel, Alex. "Teaching Man's Best Eyes to See." New York Times. 6 Mar.1996: Cl, C9.
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