Assistance Dogs – Once upon a time, seeing-eye (guide) dogs were almost the sole sort of assistance dog around. Over the previous couple of decades, the sector has widened considerably.
Today, Assistance Dogs help the hearing impaired, the blind, wheelchair bound and bedridden. Others simply provide a replacement quite therapy for prisoners, burn victims, the clinically depressed or merely home bound.
Assistance Dogs Training
Training starts before birth by careful selection. It’s no accident that certain breeds tend to be more useful for these roles than others. German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and a couple of others are favored both for intelligence and temperament.
Even within breeds some individual dogs are more keen on training than others. They display not only the power to perform an easy task on command, but a confidence and eagerness that’s essential to the work .
After a year of in-house training and bonding with an individual who also receives special training, the Assistance Dogs ‘graduates’ to subsequent level. Then, counting on the intended role, they receive a further two months to 2 years of intensive, specialized instruction.
Assistance Dogs in these programs learn everything from simple barking to alert the inattentive a door knock or telephone ring to fetching containers of food or drink, opening doors, and – in fact – providing vision-information to the sightless.
A seeing-eye seeing-eye dog may lead their blind companion around obstacles on the road or at the mall. The hearing-guide dog may alert their friend to an oncoming fire engine . The wheelchair assistant may even help the occupant off the ground or into bed.
These special animals are trained to remain focused in crowds and affect varying environments. Some attend urban areas where they’re wont to see a curb as a boundary, others find homes in rural areas where they learn that turning on a hose is more important than chasing a fox from the property. Try teaching that to Chauncy the terrier some time! Possible, but tough .
Besides the normal sit, stay, come these working dogs must learn to leap on command to deliver a cup of water without spilling to a paraplegic. They activate or off lights, change the quantity on the stereo, and convey bags containing medicines. Some are even trained to acknowledge and react to heart attacks and strokes and call 911!
Learning such beyond-the-norm behaviors takes months of dedicated concentration by both trainer and dog. Patience beyond what most people possess is required to show even the foremost willing students.
Assistance Dogs learn by cue and repetition. Though they will learn to acknowledge sounds and grasp simple meanings, they do not possess even the three-year old humans understanding of language. Teaching them to associate the sound ‘water’ with ‘fetch me a cup’ is repeatedly harder than for the typical toddler.
Yet these amazing creatures, with the guidance of their talented and dedicated trainers, learn to hold out a variety of behavior well beyond their peers. So, once you see one accompanying its partner, respect the sign they carry that says ‘Working. Please don’t distract’.
Just provides a silent bow of admiration to those hard-working dogs and therefore the dedicated people that train them.