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The Incredible History

of Seeing Eye Dogs


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Seeing Eye Dogs or Guide Dogs - a History of them.

Seeing Eye Dogs, also sometimes referred to as "guide dogs,"
have been used as far back as the mid-16th century. However
the first real established guide dog training schools were
introduced in Germany during World War One to help the
wounded veterans returning from war.

The United States started establishing Seeing Eye Dog
schools in 1929. The first was in Nashville, TN and was "The
Seeing Eye."

In the beginning most guide dogs were German Shepherd breed.
The German Shepherd is still one of the favorite breeds for
guide dogs although today you will also find such as Golden
and Labrador Retrievers. Although these are the
preferred breeds, nearly any breed of dog can be trained to be a
Seeing Eye Dog.

Typical Seeing Eye Dog training starts when the dog is about
eighteen months old. For the first eighteen months the puppy
is trained in basic obedience and socialization to get him
ready for his guide dog training.

The total Seeing Eye Dog training program lasts about four
months and there are several schools across the country that
do this type of dog training. After the dog is trained he is
matched up with a blind companion and they spend twenty-
seven days training together with the help of professionals.

Seeing Eye Dogs work by commands such as forward, right, or
left. The owner usually gives these commands based on what
they know about the situation, however if a dog senses
something is unsafe they are trained to do what is called
"intelligent disobedience."

Once the dog is trained and certified it will be allowed
access to any public place in the United States, under the
Americans with Disabilities Act which provides for this in
all fifty states. It is extremely important to remember that
these dogs have a job to do. If you see a blind person with
their Seeing Eye Dog on the street or in a building don't
attempt to approach it or do anything to distract the dog,
as this could end up causing harm to the dog or the owner if
the dog is not paying full attention to its work.

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Frisco would like to come back in his next life
as a Seeing Eye Dog. Frisco thinks that would be a pretty
darn neat thing to do helping blind people.

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