International Guide Dog Day: Three Things You Need to Know

Every last Wednesday in April is a World Day dedicated to guide dogs for the blind. The dog is considered man’s best friend and is a partner ultra effective for the visually impaired or blind.

To get a guide dog, you must first have one. Only humans over 12 years and suffers from visual impairment or blindness there we are right. To do this, contact a guide dog school, ideally closest to the person in question, and send your journal there.

A meeting is then arranged between the person and educators, psychologists and instructors. If the request is accepted, a meeting with a dog in training st organized. Anyone who has a guide dog must complete a two-week training course with an educator.

How are dogs trained?

A guide dog begins its training about a year. For eight months, he will work two hours a day to learn how to do it recognize your environment, go straight ahead, avoid obstacles and stop before pedestrian crossings. A guide dog should too recognize right and left and learn to do research work: a vacant seat on a bench so that the person he guides can sit down, a staircase to avoid …

At the beginning of their training, the puppies learn on a leash and then put on the rigid harness, which allows the person being guided to feel the dog’s movements. He also learns to recognize when he worksthat is, when he wears his harness, and when he can run and play when he takes it off.

A guide dog is also entitled to a pension. It must stop at a maximum of 12 yearsknowing that the average life expectancy of a dog is between 10 and 13 years.

The education costs approx. € 25,000but the dogs are given free to the visually impaired thanks to donations to associations.

Which breeds can be guides?

In France, eleven dog breeds are trained : Labrador, Labrador x Golden, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Royal Poodle, Labradoodle, Saint-Pierre, Flat Coated, Swiss Shepherd, Border Collie and Barbet. It happens that some other breeds are trained, but the dogs must have a large frame. You will probably never see a Chihuahua guide for the blind.

Today, the dog is the only guide for the blind, but in some countries such as. USA, capuchin monkeys are trained to help people with disabilities.

The Norwegian Association of the Visually Impaired designed an advertisement in which other animals became guides, such as a sheep, an ostrich, a duck or a llama. This ad titled “It could have been worse, it’s just a dog we want to have with us” was intended to create awareness. , so people who have a guide dog can take it everywhere. We better understand why only dogs are guides.

Some guide dogs have had extraordinary lives

For people who have a guide dog, it is not just a tool to get around safely. The dog and his master develop an emotional and trusting relationship. Some dogs have had an extraordinary life and role.

On September 11, 2001 in New York, the young labrador retriever Roselle guided his master, stuck on the 78ᵉ floor of one of the two towers of the World Trade Center. But even without saving lives, dogs can allow people who have become blind to return to a normal life. American athlete Thomas Panek was the first to run with his dog, Gus. He realized that the dog allowed him to have more autonomy than with human assistance. Kika is also an extraordinary female dog. His London mistress, who was not blind from birth, can now film the smallest of his movements. A camera is constantly attached to Kika’s harness, which allows him to share his travels.

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