Pups begin their training at around eight weeks of age and go through the curriculum. For the next 12 to 18 months, they are separated from their mother and placed with one of our volunteer puppy raisers. During this time, they are raised, trained in basic obedience skills, socialized, and exposed to various environments and situations to prepare them for adoption.
Throughout the puppy’s development, trainers analyze the pup’s strengths and weaknesses to provide assistance and advice to the volunteer puppy raiser and guarantee that the dog is in the best possible condition to begin advanced training. When the dog is 10–12 months old, doctors do a dysplasia test to determine whether or not it will be appropriate as a Guide Dog or whether it will be a therapy or buddy dog instead.
So puppies leave their common puppy training and join a formal training who will give the young dog home for the following 8–10 months until they have entered official, advanced training at about 18 months. During this time, the dog attends “school” every weekday with a single Guide Dog Instructor who works with the dog to develop trust and a solid and good connection.
They participate in several training sessions each day and rest in the Guide Dog office, play in the exercise yard, chewing on chewing toys, napping in between training sessions, and walking around the facility.
When the dogs are not in school, they enjoy playtime, free running, and toys much like any other pet dog.
What Do Guide Dogs Gain from Their Training?
In the first phases, they begin with simple activities such as the ones listed below:
• Getting used to walk while wearing a harness is essential.
• Maintaining a straight line while walking without distractions
• Strolling on the left-hand side of the track, just ahead of the trainer
• Coming to a complete stop at all curbs
· The practice of waiting for instruction before crossing a road
• Coming to a complete stop at the top of the steps and placing front paws on the step at the bottom
• Remaining silent for an extensive period of time, notably at work or in restaurants
· Gradually increasing the complexity and difficulty of the challenges as the dog becomes more adept at them. This may involve the following:
• Avoiding objects that are higher than one’s head
• Staying away from too small places for a human and a dog to walk through side by side.
· Attending the boarding and traveling on all modes of public transportation
• Taking the Instructor to the lift
• Refusing to obey orders that might put the Instructor in harm’s way (e.g., if the Instructor commands the dog to walk them into a hole, the dog should refuse to walk forward).
Train Your Guide Dog for the Beneficiary
A list of dogs that have completed this intense training program is compiled to identify potential matches with people who require a Guide Dog (Beneficiary).
Professional trainers evaluate and assess the characteristics of the dog about many elements of the user’s life, including but not limited to:
• Orientation and Mobility — How confident the person is and how well they understand their surroundings and have spatial awareness.
• Lifestyle — Is the user in good shape and active, or is he or she less busy or unable to walk?
• If a dog moves quickly — and the person using him or her is a slow walker, the partnership will suffer. If the opposite is true, the relationship will struggle.
• Geographical location — do they reside in a rural region or a crowded city? Some dogs are more sensitive to traffic or noise than others, and they may be better suited to a more peaceful environment.
• Travel — how much travel is necessary daily?
• Occupation — Is the user working, enrolled in school, or unemployed at this time?
• Parenting and care responsibilities — what obligations does the user have?
• Social activities — does a user enjoy going out regularly or prefers to stay at home?
Following the completion and finalization of the matching procedure, the new Guide Dog and user “partnership” training is adapted to the user’s unique needs.
Within 2–3 weeks, the GDMI trainers will educate the dog and user on negotiating routes or navigating obstacles in the environment. Journeys that are made regularly (e.g., to the shops, bus, or train station). This helps them grow familiar with the trip and feel comfortable working as a team in a collaborative environment.
After the course, a formal evaluation is conducted to decide whether or not a partnership is eligible to graduate. Once the collaboration has reached its conclusion, the GDMI will keep a working connection with the user and visit them regularly to ensure that everything is running correctly and that there are no difficulties. This continues for the duration of the dog’s working career.
How long does a guide dog perform his or her duties?
This varies from dog to dog and is dependent on the breed. Typically, a dog will labor for 8–10 years before being unable to continue. They will be able to put their harnesses away and relax once they have retired. The dog’s first option will be to live as a pet with the person who cared for them when growing up as a puppy raiser.
For guide dog puppy training, we advised a six-step puppy training secret book. It is an innovative way to train your dog, with “a wealth of practical tips, tricks, and fun games about Listen and Come secrets that will enrich the lives of many dogs and their human companions.”
This six-step puppy training secret booklet includes:
· All the puppies listen and come secrets
· Basic and easy homemade training tactics
· Handling biting, barking, jumping up, leash pulling, chewing, aggression, and other behavioral issues
· Cool tricks and tips while training to enjoy with your dog