Uncanny Canines: All About Guide Dogs

guide dogsFrom cancer sniffing canines and drug and bomb detecting dogs, to dogs that protect our borders and keep our food supplies safe; and, to the best pal that sleeps at the end of your bed, there’s no shortage of amazing dogs out there. In honor of dogs and the wonderful services they provide for their human companions, we’d like to take this opportunity to pay homage to the original service canine: guide dogs.

Guide Dogs Defined

Guide dogs are professionally trained to assist the blind and visually impaired by avoiding obstacles, navigating traffic and urban obstacles, and generally helping their person get to where they need to go, safely. The dog and their human (handler) work together as a team; the handler knows where he or she wants to go, and the dog’s job is to get both of them there safely.

Guide dogs are trained from birth to about 18 months old, typically spending the first year of their lives with a “foster family” whose role is to provide a loving home, basic obedience training, and socialization. After about a year the dogs undergo their formal guide dog training, which typically takes 4-6 months.

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