By Helen Burns | Dated June 24, 2021 | 0 Comments
Right at the end of April the gorgeous Murphy came in to see us for his annual vaccination and check up. Little did we or his lovely family know that […]
By John Morgan | Dated June 1, 2017
Do you know what it takes to be a guide dog?
Guide dogs are bred at the Guide Dog Breeding Centre where they are carefully bred for their health and temperament for the responsibility of life as a guide dog. At 8 weeks of age the bundles of love join their puppy raising family, where they stay for the next 12 months. During this time they attend puppy classes, and enjoy life as a playful labrador puppy.
The next step in their quest to become a guide dog happens at 14 months of age, when they have a tearful goodbye to their puppy raising family and return to Guide Dogs to start their training. This intensive training takes about 5 months, and during this time they learn the skills required to be a guide dog. Just as with puppies, the training is based around positive reinforcement and lots of down time to enjoy just being a dog!
The training set up is remarkable. For instance, they practise walking on seven different ground surfaces, such as concrete, mulch, gravel, sandstone and rocks. They learn to safely negotiate obstacles of different sizes and shapes such as manholes, bridges, traffic barriers and temporary construction paths. Additionally they learn to find landmarks such as bus stops, traffic lights and crossings.
Prospective guide dogs learn to be careful around vehicles, locate a door at a new destination, cope with busy shopping centres and how to travel on buses, trains and in cars.
As you can imagine, they are also tested on their ability to concentrate when there are distractions such as noises and food, which is challenging for a labrador!
And what does this cost? All up, it costs about $35,000 to breed, raise and train a guide dog over the first 2 years!
At Gordon Vet, we are happy to have been asked by the Guide Dogs Association to provide their veterinary care, to help ensure that Guide Dogs are kept happy and healthy.