The Pet Praise Community celebrates the moments between people and their pets. Blind and visually impaired persons are a special group to us at Pet Praise because of the special relationship between them. Guide dogs are usually specially bred for their jobs. To see how helpful guide dogs can be to the visually impaired, watch the video below.
Southeastern Guide Dogs is one of Pet Praise's favorites for providing guide dogs to the visually impaired. At Southeastern Guide Dogs, candidate dogs are selected at birth from among Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and the mix of the two called Goldadors. These dogs have the inborn strength and intelligence to become guide dogs, but only the best of the best are selected for this important canine profession. The candidate dogs are sent to puppy raisers, where they learn the obedience and socialization skills they will need to go into harness training. Puppy raisers keep the candidate dogs until they are 14-20 months old. During the puppy raising period, guide dog candidates learn the critical difference between being "in uniform" for work and being a dog-at-play.
Now comes the final stage of training for the guide dog, the harness training. This is where all the critical commands are learned and situations are rehearsed. For instance, the dogs learn the 40 commands they must know while in harness such as:
- find the curb
- find the elevator
- find the steps
- find the chair
At last comes the best part where the harness trained dog meets their new visually impaired partner. The dog and new partner train together and become a working team.
To see how the whole program comes together, watch the video below from Southeastern Guide Dogs.