The Golden Retriever is the perfect choice for a Guide Dog for the Blind. Golden Retrievers are intelligent, well-tempered, easy to train, and love to be given responsibilities and to perform tasks.They are working dogs and can focus on tasks they are given. Goldens are calm and comfortable around people and will not react aggressively in crowded situations. It’s body is muscular and able to wear a harness comfortably.
Personalty Of A Guide Dog
Guide dogs must be intelligent, gentle, patient and hard workers. The Golden Retriever must be trained to navigate all kinds of situations. They must remember where obstacles are in order to guide their blind or disabled persons in order to give them the ability to live a normal life. Golden Retrievers are able to concentrate on tasks without being distracted. Being a devoted and loyal breed, they never tire of pleasing their owners which makes them suitable to be service dogs. Their exceptional memories for routes and their love of performing tasks, makes Golden Retrievers great guide dogs. Because of the Golden’s intelligence, they are able to be trained to make decisions such as not crossing the street if it is not clear.
Golden Retrievers love to work. The training that a dog is given in order to become a guide dog suits the Golden Retriever’s personality and eagerness to please. Guide dogs have to be dependable and reliable. He has to remain focused on his tasks through any disruptive situations that may occur around him. Goldens are very loving and loyal companions. They love to please people and being part of a family. Even though they become part of the family, they never forget the duties for which they were trained. They are gentle and friendly. Everyone who is greeted by a Golden Retriever is greeted with a friendly expression and a wagging tail.
This is a community of volunteers who raise puppies to be guide dogs. These puppy raisers teach puppies good manners and socialize them for the first year of their lives. They usually join puppy raising clubs where members meet and share ideas and information as well as training techniques while socializing these puppies. Formal guide work training begins at around 15 to 17 months old at which time the puppies are returned to the guide dog campus.
Training A Guide Dog
Once the now grown dogs return to the campus, they are ready to learn the tools of the trade. Not only will they be well-behaved and socialized, they will be professionals. For the next two to three months, the dogs are taught buy professional guide dog mobility instructors. Guide dogs are smart. Not only are they trained to guide a person safely, they are also trained to disobey an unsafe cue given by its handler. Guide dogs are trained to have manners. They may visit restaurants, stores and public transportation. These dogs are trained to avoid distractions.
Guide dogs are trained with positive reinforcement methods with the use of rewards of both food and praise. Rewards, affection, and praise creates motivation and confidence and a happy guide dog.
Being Paired With A Client
When the formal training is completed, the dogs entered “class training”. A fully trained dog is matched with a visually impaired student and enrolled in residential classes. The training ensures that the person and dog are compatible in every area, from communication styles to personalities. The team spends two weeks training in real life situations. At the end of the class training there is a graduation day. Now the team can begin their lives together. It is a very special day.
Golden Retriever’s Life As A Guide Dog
As a guide dog, the Golden Retriever gets to go everywhere and do everything its partner does. Guide dogs are given a lot of attention everywhere they go. Guide dogs lead very active lives. They are allowed to go to work, school, shopping malls, restaurants and hiking trails. When the harness is on, guide dogs are working. When the harness is off, its playtime and the guide dog become the family pet.
Most Golden Retrievers work as guide dogs until they are 8 to 10 years old. After retirement, guide dogs spend the senior years pampered as the family pet.
What would persons who are visually impaired do without guide dogs? Golden Retrievers make perfect guide dogs. No matter what breed guide dog is being used (Labrador Retrievers also make great guide dogs), it deserves to have a loving home and to be loved. They guide the visually impaired through life safely. Guide dogs protect and are loyal and become loving companions to their partners.
When a guide dog retires, whether it stays with its partner, returns to its puppy raiser’s home or is adopted, the guide dogs deserve to be loved, pampered and forever honored