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Everything you always wanted to know about guide dog training

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Every dog ​​is special in its own way, whether it be barking the words “I love you”, taking the longest naps in the world, or helping the visually impaired get around. Guide dogs are particularly qualified puppies who have had months or even years of experience to prepare themselves for the care of their person – but what exactly is part of the training of guide dogs?

Training a service animal is different from training a pet and depends on the dog’s skills and behaviors, as well as the particular task assigned to it. There are hearing dogs, psychiatric service dogs, mobility aid dogs and of course guide dogs for those struggling with visual impairments. These are just a few types of tasks a trained puppy can perform. However, this article will focus specifically on guide dogs for the blind. How do you do it when such a great responsibility is on your paws?

How long does it take for a puppy to become a guide dog?

There are many steps between a puppy and his potential work as a guide dog. Not every puppy bred for service even reaches the socialization stage where they spend the first year of their life with a volunteer puppy breeder (dream job alert!) Who teaches them basic obedience. According to information from industries for the blind and visually impaired (IBVI) Only 50% of the puppies take part in formal trainingwhich starts around 15 months of age. Of those who make it, the graduation rate for this program is around 72%.

Belish / Shutterstock

How are guide dogs trained?

Guide Dogs of America, a premier service dog rearing and training program, trains their pups with a balance of positive reinforcement (including clicker training) and canine decision making. Early training consists of structured obedience, during which the dogs learn the basics of leading the visually impaired, including:

  • Travel safely and securely from one destination to the next
  • Stop when the altitude changes
  • Avoid obstacles on your way

Later training means more independence for the dog so that he can practice making decisions in real time. When accompanying their human, guide dogs must make split-second decisions to ensure everyone’s safety. Hence, trainers are always on hand to reinforce a dog’s good decision and turn it away from the bad. Once a guide dog finds its perfect fit, it will train for another month with its new owner, officially known as the dog handler.

Who trains guide dogs for the blind?

The person who raises a guide dog puppy is usually not the same as the one who trains them. After they have spent their puppy years learning social cues and basic obedience to the volunteer who raised them, they will attend the official guide dog school. This training takes place in the organization that later connects them with their future families.

According to Seeing eyeAs a leading non-profit organization for guide dogs for the blind, trainers have not only graduated from college but also completed three years of on-the-job learning. Trainers must be patient, physically fit, and attuned to the dog’s body language and behavior.

How can you become a guide dog trainer?

If you are interested in training guide dogs for the visually impaired, there are numerous resources available to help you find out more. These are just a few of the steps mentioned by to give you an idea of ​​how you can work your way up Guide dogs of America: complete a three-year “training” on site and meet everyone International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) standardsCompletion of additional company training and assessment and completion of annual refresher workshops to keep knowledge current.

What you should know before volunteering as a guide dog trainer

If you are considering serving as a guide dog trainer you should be aware of the time and effort that will be required before you can begin. To meet the standards of both the IGDF and the company you work with, you may need to earn certain certifications or go back to school. It is also important that you are in good health for a job like this, as you will deal with large animals in a variety of situations, including bad weather and stressful moments.

Many prefer to volunteer to raise a guide dog puppy, which in itself is a huge commitment. Not only can you spend a year with a furry floppy baby, but you can change someone’s life too! To raise a puppy, you must regularly attend meetings and outings with the other puppies to be accountable and accustom the dog to unusual situations.

Everyone involved in raising a guide dog, from puppy age to graduation, becomes part of something amazing – and adorable! Whether you’re raising a puppy, training a puppy, or donating to a nonprofit, you’re helping connect those super talented canines with people who, with the help of a dog, can lead a limitless, free life. The workout may be extensive and time consuming, but the benefits are oh so nice.

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Why is my dog ​​still getting sick? – Dogster

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why is my dog ​​still getting sick? dogster

How is it possible that many vets report an increase in the ailments normally associated with hanging out with other dogs – visits to dog parks and the like – in dogs stuck at home with their owners during the pandemic?

These include kennel cough, which is common on boarding and daycare, and leptospirosis, a bacterial infection associated with puddles and dirty water. Two things dogs love to wallow in in dog parks?

For example, multiple vets stuck at home and frolicking in the backyard can simulate these very same conditions.

“Everyone is more at home, so they see more things, especially things they might not have noticed before,” says Jenni Grady, DVM, who works at the Community Medical Center, which is part of Tufts University’s Cummings Veterinary Medical Center up north is Grafton, Mass. “As more people have purchased pets during the pandemic, they are seeing behavior that they are not used to.”

In this context, pet owners have faced the occasion and filled veterinary practices and emergency rooms. If there were concerns that people would forego the most routine treatment during the pandemic – either because of the cost of layoffs and closings or fears of disease exposure in veterinary offices – it simply wasn’t.

“It’s just one chance in the setting we’ve seen for so long,” says Kerry Young, DVM, of the Rutherford Veterinary Clinic in Dallas. “They’re willing to go the extra mile because they see their pets as part of the family, so they want to make sure they’re healthy.”

By and large, veterinarians say, pandemic trends have included:
Continuing care, especially for heartworms and fleas. The owners did not stop giving treatments despite the cost. Dr. Grady reports that flea is currently still popular with cats.

An increase in some immunizations, especially for leptospirosis and kennel cough. Dr. Young says she advises patients to pay close attention to shots for their locations such as Lyme disease in the northeast.

Busy clinics and emergency rooms in some parts of the country. Traffic had declined by up to 25 percent at the beginning of the pandemic, reports the AVNA, but it recovered quickly. Dr. Young says she didn’t see this in Dallas, but Drew Sullivan, DVM, says it was common in his Chicago practice that is part of the University of Illinois Clinic. In the early days of the pandemic, restrictions meant veterinarians schedule fewer appointments, while an increase in puppy and kitten adoptions over the past year meant more patients were seen. Dr. Sullivan says, “We were crazy busy and that was a surprise.”

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Red Heeler – Dogster

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red heeler dogster

Hello Brian,

I am not an expert and I only share my experiences and advice from my own perspective. So what I do may or may not work with your dog … but I hope it will help. I owned 3 dogs before the one we just got, and I’ve been with lots of other dogs, cats, and animals in my half century.

On April 14, 2020 we received a 1 year old Red Heeler named Copper. He likes to be on our heels while walking or running and seems to be intentionally trying to trip us. He also likes to nibble on our hands all the time. He doesn’t bite to injure himself, but rather nibbles and nibbles very playfully. Overall, I understand that for him, it’s playful and fun. I read that this is in the breed.

One thing I’ve read to stop the nibbling on my hands, and something I’ve worked on with Copper, is, whenever he gets into that playful playfulness, gently slipping the matching chew toy, rawhide, into your mouth stuck. or whatever you want him to chew on every time he starts nibbling on my hands. In this way he learns what to / cannot chew on. Then give them plenty of positive praise and rewards for chewing on the right thing.

I keep him on a leash so he doesn’t rush on my grandchildren or suffocate them as they run away from him. I’ll slow him down enough so that he just runs behind or next to them so he can keep up with them. He is very playful and excited so I give him lots of positive praise and answers for behaving the way I want him to. And firmly tell him STOP or NO when I see him doing things that are undesirable.

Another friend of mine had a border collie and said if he didn’t walk his dog daily, his dog would start chewing on everything. But when he took her for walks, she looked great all over the house. So what I’ve done with Copper is take him on walks and frequent long walks several blocks along the river or on the local canyon trails so he can burn off all that energy before it builds up. I see that when he’s cooped up and doesn’t burn that energy, he gets caught up in things and even tears small pieces out of his memory foam mattress when we took off the cover to wash. As Sandy said in her comment, “A tired dog is a good dog.” There is a lot of truth in that. Let your dog wind up, get worn out and burn off that energy.

The positive praise that directs his attention to suitable chew toys, firmly commands him to stop, and especially to burn that energy, seems to work with copper. I also talk to him a lot as if he were human and explain to him what I do with him. He learns from repetition to recognize words and commands. He also knows now that he has to run away from me when I tell him it’s time for a bath, haha.

Copper came from a negligent and potentially abusive home. When we got it, it didn’t even respond to a tennis ball or a squeaky toy. His jaws were weak and he could barely chew the rawhide. He had mange and smelled of the uncleaned dog kennel. Her other dog was a pit bull who was missing half of his hair around his neck / chest and back due to mange. Now that the mange is gone, we are in the process of getting the yeast infection under control that is causing his skin to be red and itchy. Three weeks later, Copper is playing Fetch, is house trained and a really great dog. I attribute this to the intelligence of his breed and do a lot of research online or watch YouTube videos. I can’t remember ever seeing a dog pick things up so quickly.

All the best to you and good luck to you and your heels.

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Easy ways to deal with matted dog hair

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easy ways to deal with matted dog hair

Matted dog hair is the worst! It’s ugly, dirty, sometimes painful, and once matted dog hair starts it can get out of control and become a health problem.

I have babysat a brother-sister team of Blue Picardy Spaniels. These royal dogs have lush, wavy feathers on their legs, undersides, and tails. This breed is also a ball of energy! Add this gorgeous feathered coat after a long hike of running and frolicking through creeks and you have some serious matted dog hair of your own!

The kicker – the siblings’ people firmly believed that their fur could not be cut. I would try to help by brushing them after our outdoor adventures, but I felt bad for the groomer if I put them down and had to remind the staff, “No cutting!” As if by magic, these two pups would be silky with , mat-free springs come back. How did these snow groomers deal with all that matted dog hair? Patience, the right tools, skills, and help from watchful dog parents.

Dog with crazy messy hair blowing in the wind. Photography © cynoclub | Getty Images.

What you need to know about dealing with matted dog hair

Here are some grooming tips for dealing with matted dog hair:

  1. First, Train your dog to enjoy grooming so he’ll stand still long enough to get the mats out! Start brushing your puppy when he’s young, even when he doesn’t need him. Hand out praise and quality treats so he can combine grooming with happy things.
  2. Pay close attention to areas that are easy to matte: behind the ears and legs, in the armpits, on the chassis and where his collar or halter rubs.
  3. Prevent matted dog hair from forming. A detangler cream or spray will prevent the fur from clumping together and can be used before your puppy jumps into a river or lake to make it easier to brush out after a swim. Only use products made specifically for dogs.
  4. When your puppy’s fur has grown Take a trip to the vet who is badly matted or has not been cared for in a while. Unkempt fur and extremely matted dog hair can cause skin irritation or infection that needs medical attention.
  5. To learn that It is best to speak to your groomer about brushing out your pup and the type of brush. Your groomer will be happy to let you know because the better you groom yourself daily, the easier your job will be.
  6. Don’t ignore the paws. Hair that grows between the pads can become matted. Keep your hair short. If you need a touch up in between professional grooming, purchase a couple of dog clippers. They’re easier than scissors on your dog’s delicate paws.
  7. Hair clippers are also useful for keeping a puppy’s rear end neat and tidy. Between sitting and pooping, this area can quickly get messy. A clean area around the anus is worth a little embarrassment between you and your dog.
  8. Good diet will help them have a healthy coat, which is less likely to mean matted dog hair. Look for omega-3 or fish oil in your pup’s diet and supplements. Of course, consult a veterinarian to find out how much is best to give your dog.

A dog with a grooming tool or brush. How do snow groomers deal with matted dog hair? Photography by Laures / Thinkstock.

Professional snow groomers for handling matted dog hair

1. Deana Mazurkiewicz IGMS, NCMG, IFMS President, Intellectual Groomers Association and Stylist at Pawsh By Deana in Zephyrhills, Florida. facebook.com/intgroome

  1. Never bathe your dog if he has mats or kinky hair. Water acts like a sponge and only makes it stronger.
  2. Use cornstarch to loosen matted dog hair. Rub a little on the mat to loosen it up, then brush it out.
  3. Don’t assume the conditioner will remove or loosen mats. They need to be brushed and combed thoroughly before bathing.
  4. NEVER try to cut out matted dog hair. The mats may be tighter than you think or have skin caught in them and you can cut your pet easily.

2. Windmere Kennels, St. Charles, Michigan; facebook.com/Windmerekennels

  1. Brush! Dogs like poodles and goldendoodles that are considered non-shed don’t shed dead hair on their own. They need help by brushing with a good, smoother brush at least twice a week.
  2. Regular visits to a professional snow groomer are a must to ward off matted dog hair! Every six to eight weeks is recommended.
  3. Mats start at the base, not the top, of the hair. While your dog looks matt-free, hold your fingers on the nape of the hair to check for tangles and growls. Catching a potential mat before this happens will make removal a lot easier.
  4. Research your breed’s specific needs for proper grooming. Depending on your breed, the coat or hair may require different practices to stay healthy and alive.

3. Vanessa Hoyt, Groomer Girls Pet Salon, Lawrenceville, Georgia. Facebook.com/groomergirlspetsalon

  1. Always work on small sections, from the ends of your hair to your skin.
  2. Always use a good conditioner. Demating can lead to serious harm even if done correctly.
  3. Always use cooler warm water as a quick rinse as the last thing you do in the tub. This helps seal the hair shafts. Warmer water leaves them open, making hair prone to breakage and damage. Broken and damaged hair tangles faster.
  4. Always use a finishing conditioning spray.

Top photo: © Tierfotoagentur | Alamy Stock Photo.

Originally published March 27, 2018.

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