Monday, January 18, 2021

How to train dogs for blind people?

Dogs are true companions for humans. They are even more so for blind or visually impaired people. They help them avoid loneliness and allow them to move around.

To fulfill this role, dogs are trained in a specific way. Zoom on the education of dogs for the blind.

A precise educational path

To become a blind dog, the dog follows a specific educational path. This education begins in the first months and continues until the first year.

As soon as it is 2 months old, the dog is placed in a volunteer foster family where it learns basic obedience.

From 11 or 12 months of age, he begins his training as a guide dog in a special training center. Once the training is completed, he is entrusted to a blind person.

The first months of the future guide dog

From the age of 2 months, the future guide dog is welcomed by a volunteer host family. The family is in charge of educating the dog in cleanliness, respect for his master and socialization (with various environments and animals).

This first education allows him to prepare for his training by receiving the necessary basics.

It is often done by a specialized educator who is part of the foster family or who makes regular visits to the family’s home.

Note that the breeds of dogs that are often selected to be guide dogs are labradors, short-haired colleys and goldens retrievers. They are selected for their intelligence and sociability.

The future guide dog for blind people at school

Once his first 12 months have passed, the future guide dog enters training in a guide dog school.

This is where he receives specific training for his future role. He is taught lessons such as walking on crosswalks, avoiding obstacles, using public transportation, passing through doors and stairs, reserved spaces, etc.

The goal is for the dog to improve the skills acquired in the foster home. The training lasts between 6 and 8 months.

For his lessons, the future blind dog is often equipped with a harnessĀ  with which the educator guides him. To be officially recognized as a guide dog, the animal must pass a certificate of aptitude.

To do so, he is put in various test situations and must respond to many orders that are taught to him during his training.

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