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  • Writer's pictureThabo Baseki

Man's Best Friend

Updated: Sep 11, 2022

A Golden Retriever dog looks up

Dogs are one of the animals most often kept as a pet in the household, and it is believed to be one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. It can form a long-lasting relationship with its owner. Dogs are the most popular pet in the United States. About 24 million more households in the US own dogs than cats, according to writer Elizabeth Gray.

The essence of this article is to briefly discuss guide dogs. What are they? How do they assist blind people?

A guide dog (sometimes known as a seeing-eye dog or service dog) is a dog that has undergone training to provide mobility assistance and protect its master. A process for training guide dogs originated in Germany during the first world war to aid veterans who went blind.

Ranging between 14 and 17 months of age, these dogs receive several months of training to mold their behavior and performance so that they can support their master. The dog learns to stop at curbs, gauge its owner’s height when traveling in low or obstructed places, and even to disobey a command when obedience will endanger its master! The Germen Shepherd breed is one of the widely used dog for this service. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

What Does a Guide Dog Help With?

  • walk centrally along the pavement while avoiding obstacles on the route

  • it will not turn corners unless told to do so

  • stop at curves and steps

  • find doors, crossings and places which are visited regularly

  • judge height and width so the owner does not bump their head or shoulder on objects

Read more on this subject from Guide Dogs for the Blind.

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