The Guide Dog training process
Turning a cute pup into a fully working Guide Dog involves a remarkable process. Selected puppies undergo an intensive five-month program with a Guide Dog Instructor to learn the complex skills required for their new job.
The Instructor’s job is to build each dog’s confidence and consistency, while observing their personality and tailoring training to suit their temperament. Training occurs through positive reinforcement. This means lots of pats, praise and food rewards.
As training progresses, the dogs learn to travel through confusing and crowded areas, like shopping centres and busy city streets. As you can imagine, this requires careful training so the dogs can master commands associated with a complex sequence of events.
Despite the hard work involved, Guide Dogs have a rewarding job. Of course, when the harness comes off there’s plenty of downtime at home!