There are many things a guide dog can do to help. Guide dogs go through specialized training to learn to help with tasks like:
Walk centrally along the pavement while avoiding obstacles
Not turn corners unless told to do so
Stop at curbs and steps
Find doors, crossings and places which are visited regularly
Judge height and width so you do not bump your head
Help keep you straight when crossing a road – but it is up to you to decide where and when to cross safely
Think of it is a partnership between the owner and the guide dog. While your guide dog can do all of these things to help you get out and about, you will need to give commands and provide encouragement. Think of it as you being the navigator and your dog being the driver. A guide dog is not like a GPS, and cannot understand traffic signals. Instead, guide dogs take directional cues from their handlers and are taught to react if there is an unsafe situation in the handler’s path.
Guide dogs are very carefully paired with their handlers. Everything from a person’s lifestyle, hobbies, activity level, family, living arrangements, and other pets go into the pairing process when a person applies for a guide dog.
A good dog-handler team has a strong human-animal bond that is formed through many hours of training together. This bond is strengthened throughout the hours spent training together. Dogs and handlers work with professional trainers before going off on their own. Some popular breeds for guide dogs are German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Poodles.
Guide dogs can help bring a great sense of independence to their handlers. Having a trustworthy and loyal canine by your side provides dependable support, more independence, and increased mobility.
Additional Guide Dog Organizations & Resources: https://www.acb.org/guide-dog-resources https://www.guidedog.org/ https://www.guidedogsofamerica.org/ If you or a loved one are interested in working with a guide dog, we can help. We provide guidance, education, and resources to help you get started. Give us a call or contact us here.