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The dog is perhaps the friendliest animal in relation to humans. It performs many functions - from security to decorative. For a long time already the dog has learned to help man, for which we appreciate this animal. But if before the dogs hunted with us, now there are ways to make life easier for people with problem health.
There is a whole group of dogs called guide dogs. Their main goal is to help blind and visually impaired people move outdoors and avoid collisions with objects. Dogs have served as guide dogs for several hundred years.
And after the First World War, schools even appeared in Germany that taught animals such a useful skill. This helped to compensate for the inconvenience of the veterans who were blinded during the battles. In the 1930s, similar schools appeared in America and England. Smart breeds are best suited for the role of guides: German Shepherds, Labradors, Giant Schnauzers and Rottweilers. But training of other breeds is also allowed.
A blind person can often make mistakes in their decisions, but the decision to have a four-legged helper is correct. Some myths are worthy of debunking.
Guide dogs can also serve as guards. People often even envy blind people seeing a dog next to them. It seems that this animal not only helps its owner, but also protects him. In fact, puppies who show even the slightest signs of aggression are not accepted to guide school. The fact is that a blind person often has to contact strangers, turning to them for help. An aggressive animal may want to protect its owner and scare off, attack an outsider, sensing a threat in him. You should not want to see in such a friend not only an assistant, but also a guard. Let it perform one function, but qualitatively.
Guide dogs lead their owners across the road. This is a very popular misconception. But the guide dog does not lead the owner across the road, focusing on the traffic signal. The animal is accustomed to leading a person to a crossing and stopping near a familiar landmark or near the side of the road. In general, it is believed that dogs are color blind. In any case, they perceive colors differently than we do. Therefore, you can not demand from them to respond to this or that traffic signal. The decision of how and when to cross the road must be made by the person. And here there are several solutions. Some blind people try to determine by ear the approach of a car, while others ask for help from passers-by. The most decisive put forward a hand with a cane and begin to move. It is good if the crossings are safe and equipped with sound signals. After deciding to cross the road, the person gives the command to the dog: “Forward!”. And the animal begins to translate the owner across the road. Often, ordinary people try to help a blind person in such a situation, but there is no need to draw the dog's additional attention to themselves. You should not talk to her, lure her with food, iron, try to flirt. It is necessary to help a blind person, not to entertain his assistant.
A guide dog also performs its functions at home. When the dog comes home, it, getting rid of the leash, turns into a very ordinary dog. The animal will play, gnaw bones, jump into bed with the owner and meet guests. Let the dog, at least at home, get rid of his work and be himself.
Guide dogs do not play with other dogs. While at work, these animals serve their mission. The person firmly holds the leash and does not allow them to be distracted by playing with their fellows. Any dog loves interaction with relatives. Some blind people keep not only a guide, but other dogs as well. And they get along very well with each other, as well as with neighboring dogs. You just need to divide the time for games and time for the service. There are guides who, in general, are more interested in human society than a dog.
Guide dogs react to whistles, clicks or the flapping of the hands of strangers. On the streets of cities, people often greet such dogs by waving, clicking or whistling. I wonder what answer they expect from the dog? It is likely that she will still look at the eccentric, but this will not go further. The guide has important work, from which he cannot be distracted. The animal controls itself and does not react to extraneous signals that interfere with the mission.
Guide dogs are not wrong. Unfortunately, nothing in this world is perfect. Even the best guides make mistakes from time to time. Sometimes the owners are worried, wanting to fix the problem without fail. Some take the dogs to courses, wanting to "improve" their qualifications. But it’s easiest to take it as a simple mistake. When a guide dog does something wrong, the key is to prevent it from happening again. And it is important to do the correct sequence of movements and praise the animal. So when the trainer makes the dog repeat the same action over and over again, it is about correcting a mistake or reinforcing a new skill.
Guide dogs are not social. Some people are afraid to send their pets to a guide school because they are afraid of a change in its character. It seems that the dog will become withdrawn and unsociable. But trainers laugh at such prejudices, especially when it comes to the popular Labrador retrievers. This breed, in principle, cannot be antisocial. When a person does not need a guide, he will simply rest. Without work, these dogs behave cheerfully, they love people and seem to want to get to know everyone. Labradors can look a little naive and silly even at such moments. But as soon as it comes to work, they are transformed and from a playful, loving dog, they turn into a serious assistant.
Guide dogs are like taxi drivers. For some reason, people think that blind people simply tell their dog where they need to go, and they lead them to their destination. But this is not true. The guides are taught to simply walk from one point to another, the person guides the animal with the help of verbal commands and control of the leash. Dogs are trained to walk from sidewalk to sidewalk. If you need to get to the store in the middle of the block of establishments, you will need to give up to five commands to get to the desired door. Most likely, you will also need the help of a sighted person to be at that very door. The dog cannot read the names of the shops and does not know exactly where the person is going. But if he often goes to the same place, then you can train the guide to take his master there. The dog understands repetitive actions, especially if they are accompanied by praise and reward in the form of food.
Guide dogs do not study after school. Surprisingly, even blind people continue to train their dogs. The guides are in a constant learning process, getting used to new things and commands. Their owners are mastering new routes, transport stops, shops. The advantage of an intelligent animal is precisely that it can learn and assimilate new human needs.
A guide dog must not be stroked. This is almost the biggest myth about guide dogs. Some breeders ask you not to pet your dogs while they are on a leash and working. In fact, this question is entirely in the hands of the owners. You need to ask a blind person: is it possible to pet his dog? Some owners have nothing against it, others do not consider it possible to do this while the dog is working. The key point here is contact with the owner. The fact that a guide dog sits calmly next to a person does not mean that it is not working. It's just that her work is out of sight. If the owner does not want his dog to be stroked, then you should respect his wishes and refuse such a desire. Sometimes the dog's love can even become a problem. A sociable guide, in response to affection, can pounce on the child in order to lick him. This can scare the baby. What appears to a dog as a game may appear to a person as an act of aggression.
You will have to pay for a guide dog. In Russia, visually impaired people of group I can get a dog for free by concluding an agreement with a training and canine center. You have to submit certain documents and get in line. Usually, a Labrador guide has to wait up to a year, but a shepherd dog - about three months. This procedure is very difficult. You can send your own dog to the nursery for training. It will be extremely difficult to complete the entire course on your own. Taking into account the fact that paid centers ask for a prepared dog up to 100 thousand rubles, it is easier to buy a dog of the desired breed and give it up.
Guide dogs are rare. In America and Europe, there is a well-functioning system for the preparation of such animals. Their services are used by up to 90% of blind people, while in our country this figure is about 20%.
Any dog can become a guide. Professional dog handlers carefully select dogs for the opportunity to become a guide. Best suited for this role are representatives of such breeds as the Labrador, Golden Retriever, Collie, German and North Asian Shepherd Dogs. According to statistics, only every fourth dog meets all the requirements. The smartest puppies are tested for fitness from the age of one and a half months. The dog must show restraint, deep affection for its owner, obedience. They will need to learn not to be distracted by extraneous noises. According to statistics, the puppy, whose parents were already guide, has the best chances to repeat this fate.
Not all establishments are allowed with a guide dog. Guide dog owners sometimes have to deal with an unpleasant situation. A person with an animal is not allowed into a pharmacy, shop, or public place. In this case, there is no need to argue and stir up a scandal. The truth is on the side of the blind person. He can present a passport for his animal and explain that there is no reason to refuse entry. If this does not help, then you can ask to call the administrator. It is better to keep the animal itself near you during a conversation, not to let it spin. An attempt to obstruct a person with a guide dog is a violation of the law, one can defend one's rights even through a court. If there are several shops near the place of residence, then it is better to discuss your visit there with the dog in advance, warning the employees. And in self-service establishments where food may be on low counters, it is wise to leave the dog near the entrance and ask employees or other people for help.
A guide dog can be driven without a muzzle. This owner knows that his dog is kind and does not harm others. Other people may be intimidated by a large dog. In addition, she can provoke a conflict with those who do not like such animals. The sharp movement of the dog will scare a child or an elderly person. So when traveling by transport or visiting a public place, it is best to wear a muzzle on the guide. In this case, the rules of behavior are the same as those of the owners of ordinary animals. The guides are also accustomed to this equipment and will calmly endure a few minutes in it. People around will appreciate the concern for the peace of mind.
Guide dogs are not allowed on public transport. Fortunately for blind people, Russian law allows guide dogs to use public transport for free. They can travel both on trains and in the passenger compartments of aircraft.
Guide dogs live less than normal dogs. This is also a common myth that has no basis at all. The lifespan of a guide dog is the same as that of a regular dog. But how much they are able to work as an assistant is a purely individual question. Some people, even in retirement, continue to work actively, dogs can behave in the same way, remaining faithful helpers in old age.