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What it takes to be

a Guide or

Assistance Dog

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Guide Dogs
By: Tippy

Guide dogs are also referred to as assistance dogs. These
dogs are specially chosen and trained to help disabled
humans through a variety of chores. The most well known use
of a guide dog are the "Seeing Eye" type of dogs that guide
a blind person, although assistance are also used for the
deaf and other associated disabilities.

A guide dog must have the right combination of intelligence,
alertness and obedience to qualify to become a guide dog.
Some disabled people raise and train their own dog to assist
them. Other guide dogs are trained by agencies and there is
usually a very long waiting list for these dogs.

Guide dogs are special in that in many countries, including
the United States, by law they can go anywhere that their
human can go. They are allowed in restaurants, airports and
other public places that ordinarily are closed to dogs.
Guide dogs are trained to be especially obedient and well
mannered and many places do not mind their presence.

Special training of a guide dog takes years and it isn't
always successful. Dogs have to go through an evaluation
before they begin trained to become a guide dog, and many
dogs do not pass this evaluation. Others begin training but
can't finish. Such dogs are sent as pets to good homes.

The most common breeds used as a guide dog are the larger
retrievers. Golden or Labrador Retrievers are popular. Many
other breeds have been trained for this purpose, however,
most especially the German Shepherd.

It does take some training on the owner's part as well,
training of the owner as to how to handle a guide dog and
interpret signals that the dog gives. All guide dogs are
required to have a special certification and registration
and to wear appropriate gear to mark them as service dogs.

These dogs are invaluable to their human handlers and help
people complete everyday tasks. A disabled person often has
the capability to live independently because of the aid of a
guide dog. Guide dogs are important and vital parts of
modern society.

c/o Canine Partners For Life
230 Whitehorse Rd.
Cochranville, PA 19330
(610) 869-4902, (610) 869-9785

Delta Society
An organization which promotes animals helping people improve
their health, independence and quality of life.

289 Perimeter Rd. East
Renton, WA 98055-1329
Phone: (800) 869-6898
Fax: (206) 808-7601

Guiding Eyes for the Blind
A provider of dog guides for individuals with blindness.

611 Granite Springs Rd.
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Phone: (800) 942-0149 or (914) 245-4024
Fax: (914) 245-1609

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