Guide dog training
Guide dog training is divided into specific stages of training. The first phase involves choosing the most suitable dogs, usually between six and eight weeks-of-age. These young pups stay with volunteer families for a year and a half. . Their needs are provided by the training school and volunteer families teach them the basic skills of being a seeing eye dog. Later, they are given to professional trainers and trained until they are ready to be partnered with a visually impaired companion. The training process at the center takes a minimum of one month. Guide dogs must be confident, responsive and healthy enough to ensure their success.
Worldwide guide-dog training is monitored by the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) which consists of over 80 member-organizations which serve people who are blind or vision impaired around the world by providing training and fully trained seeing eye dogs. According to the federation, many guide dog schools train Labradors, Golden Retriever and German Shepherds as these breeds adequately meet the mobility needs of their companions and have greater physical abilities. Female dogs are generally found more suitable for the task.
From work to school to shops and cafes, guide dogs are actively in use. They learn how to safely guide their owners in a variety of situations like crossing the street, stopping at the top and bottom of the stairs, leading their companions from one point to another and helping their owners to avoid obstructions on sidewalks as well as psychological support, another crucial factor. They also help in using public transportation, navigating buildings and improving social inclusion.