A dog is probably the friendliest animal to a human being. It performs many functions – from security to decorative. For a long time the dog has learned to help a man, for which we appreciate this animal. But if earlier dogs hunted together with us, now there were ways to facilitate the life of people with problem health.
There is a whole group of dogs called guides. Their main goal is to help blind and visually impaired people move outside and avoid collisions with objects. Dogs have been guides for several hundred years.
And after the First World War, Germany even had schools that taught animals such a useful skill. This helped to compensate for the inconvenience to veterans who were blinded during the battles. In the 1930s, similar schools appeared in America and in England. The role of guides is best suited to intelligent breeds: German shepherds, labradors, risen schnauzers and rottweilers. But training of other breeds is allowed.
A blind person can often make mistakes in his decisions, but the decision to get a four-legged assistant is the right one. True, many people do not dare to get themselves such a pet. Already painfully contradictory information spreads about guide dogs. Some myths are worthy to be debunked.
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 it. In fact, puppies do not take to the guide’s school, which show even the slightest signs of aggression. The fact is that a blind person often has to contact unfamiliar people, referring to them for help. An aggressive animal may want to protect its owner and scare off, attack an outsider, sensing a threat in him. Do not wish to see in such a friend not only an assistant, but also a guard. Let it perform one function, but qualitatively.
Guide dogs take their hosts across the road.
This is a very popular misconception. But the guide dog does not lead the host across the road, focusing on the signal of the traffic light. The animal is accustomed to bringing a person to the transition and stopping near a familiar landmark or near the roadside. In general, there is an opinion that dogs are colorblind. In any case, they perceive colors differently than we do. Therefore, you can not require them to respond to this or that traffic light signal. The decision on how to cross the road and when, should take a person. And here there are several solutions. Some blind people try to determine by ear the approach of the car, while others ask for help from passers-by. The most determined put forward hand with a cane and begin to move. It’s good if the transitions are safe and equipped with audio signals. After making the decision to cross the road a person gives the dog a command: “Forward!”. And the animal begins to translate the owner across the road. Often ordinary people try to help the blind in this situation, but to attract additional attention the dog is not necessary. Do not talk to her, bait food, iron, try to flirt. It is necessary to help the blind person, and not to entertain his assistant.
The guide dog performs its functions in the home environment.
When the dog comes home, she, getting rid of the leash, turns into the most ordinary dog. The animal will play, bite the bones, jump to the owner in bed and meet the guests. Let the dog at least get rid of its work at home and be self-sufficient.
Guide dogs do not play with other dogs.
Being at work, these animals serve their mission. The person firmly holds the leash and does not allow them to distract themselves from the games with their fellows. Any dog loves interaction with relatives. Some blind people keep not only the guide’s house, but also other dogs. And they get on well with each other, as well as with neighboring dogs. Just need to share time for games and time for the service.There are guides to which the society of people in general is more interesting than the dog.
Guide dogs respond to whistles, clicks, or the flailing of the hands of strangers.
On the streets of cities, people often welcome such dogs, waving them, clicking or whistling. I wonder what response they expect from the dog? It is likely that she will still look at the eccentric, but then it will not work. The guide has an important job, from which he can not be distracted. The animal controls itself and does not react to extraneous signals that interfere with the mission.
Guide dogs are not mistaken.
Unfortunately, nothing in this world is perfect. Even the best guides occasionally make mistakes. Sometimes the owners are worried, wanting to fix the problem. Some take dogs to courses, wishing to “improve” their qualifications. But it’s easiest to take it as a simple mistake. When the guide dog does something wrong, the main thing is to prevent a repetition of this. And it is important to make the right sequence of movements and praise the animal. So when a coach makes a dog repeat the same action again and again, then it’s about correcting an error or fixing a new skill. Guide dogs are non-social.
Some people are afraid to give their pets to the guide’s school, because they are afraid of changes in her character. It seems that the dog will become closed and unsociable. But coaches laugh at such prejudices, especially when it comes to popular in this quality labrador retrievers. In principle, this breed can not be antisocial. When a person does not need a guide, he will simply rest. Without work, these dogs behave cheerfully, they love people and seemingly wish to get acquainted with everyone. Labradors can even look a little naive and stupid at such moments. But as soon as it comes to work, they are transformed and from a playful dog-loving all turn into a serious helper.
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. Leaders are taught to just go from one point to another, a person with the help of verbal commands and control the lead guides the animal. Dogs are taught to walk from sidewalk to sidewalk. If you want to get into the store in the middle of the block of institutions, you’ll need to give up to five teams to get to the right door. Most likely, it will also require help from the sighted to be at the very door. A dog can not read the names of stores 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 back his master there. A dog understands repetitive actions, especially if they are accompanied by praise and reward in the form of food.
Guide dogs after school no longer learn.
Surprisingly, even blind people continue to train their dogs. Leaders are in a constant learning process, getting used to new things and teams. Their owners are exploring new routes, transport stops, shops. The advantage of a smart animal is that it can learn and absorb new human needs.
A guide dog can not be ironed.
This is almost the biggest myth about guide dogs. Some breeders ask not to pet dogs while they are on a leash and work. In fact, this issue is completely in charge of the owners. It is necessary to ask the blind: is it possible to stroke his dog? Some owners have nothing against, others do not consider it possible to do this while the dog is working. The key moment here is contact with the owner. The fact that the guide dog sits quietly next to a person does not mean that it does not work. Just her work is not in sight. If the owner does not want his dog to be petted, then it is worth to respect his wishes and give up 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 it. This can scare the baby. What a dog seems to be a game, a person may seem an act of aggression.
You will have to pay for the guide dog.
In Russia, people with disabilities in the first group of eyes can get a dog for free, having concluded a contract with the training and cynological center. It is necessary to file certain documents and get in line. Usually the guide-Labrador has to wait up to a year, but the shepherd – about three months. The procedure is very difficult. You can give your own dog to the kennel for training. It will be extremely difficult to pass the entire course independently. Given that paid centers ask for a prepared dog to 100 thousand rubles, it’s easier to buy a dog of the desired breed and give him upbringing.
Guide dogs are a rarity.
In America and Europe, there is a well-established system for the training of such animals. Their services are used by up to 90% of blind people, whereas this figure is about 20%.
Any dog can become a guide.
Professional cynologists conduct a careful selection of dogs for the opportunity to become a guide. Best for this role are suitable representatives of such breeds as Labrador, Golden Retriever, Collie, German and North Asian Shepherds. According to statistics, only every fourth dog meets all requirements. The smartest puppies have been tested for fitness since the age of one and a half months. The dog must show consistency, deep affection for his master, obedience. They will need to learn not to be distracted by extraneous noise. According to statistics, that puppy, whose parents have already been guides, has the best chances to repeat such a fate.
With a guide dog not allowed in all institutions.
Guide dog owners sometimes have to face an unpleasant situation. A man with an animal is not allowed into a pharmacy, a store, a public place. In this case, do not argue and inflate the scandal. The truth is on the side of the blind person. He can show a passport to his animal and explain that there is no reason to deny passage. If this does not help, you can ask to call an administrator. The animal itself is better to keep close to itself during a conversation, not to let it spin. An attempt to prevent a person with a guide dog is a violation of the law, one’s rights can be defended even through a court. If there are several shops near the residence, it is better to discuss your visit there in advance with the dog, having warned the employees. And in institutions with self-service, where products can lie on low shelves, it is wise to leave the dog near the entrance and ask for help from workers or other people.
A guide dog can be driven without a muzzle.
This owner knows that his dog is kind and does not represent harm to others. Other people may be frightened by a large dog. In addition, it can provoke conflict with those who do not like such animals. A sharp movement of the dog will frighten a child or an elderly person. So when traveling in a transport or visiting a public place, it’s best to put a muzzle on the guide. In this case, the rules of behavior are the same as in the owners of ordinary animals. Leading to the same accustomed to this outfit and a few minutes in it will be carried quietly. Others will appreciate the concern for the tranquility of people.
Guide dogs are not allowed in public transport.
Fortunately for blind people, Russian legislation allows free use of public transport services to guide dogs. They can travel both in trains and in passenger sections of aircraft.
Guide dogs live less than ordinary dogs.
This is also a common myth that has no foundation. The life expectancy of guides is the same as that of an ordinary dog. But how much they are able to work as an assistant is a highly individual matter.Some people, even retired, continue to work actively, likewise dogs can behave, remaining faithful assistants in old age.