Well, guide dogs are trained specifically for movement. There are a set of commands and visual reactions these dogs will recognize. A good example is a blind person crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing. The dog can be trained to look at both signals when crossing the pedestrian. The guide dog will know when to move or when to stay.
Guide dogs are trained to recognize doors, chairs, and tables for seating. They will know when to find the hotel door or the reception desk at a hotel or even an empty seating at a coffee shop. It is expensive to purchase or rent a guide dog because of the intelligent and extensive training these dogs have gone through to help the visually impaired.
Intensive Obstacle Course Training
Guide dogs will go through several weeks of manoeuvre through obstacles. This is very important as these dogs will use this very same skill to guide the blind. Cones are set up and the dog is guided by the trainer with various commands to go from point A to point B without hitting or touching the obstacles.
How the Guide Dog knows Where to Go
It is not left solely up to the guide dog to traverse the streets. Both guide dog and the guided will need to work together to make traversing much easier. Guide dogs are trained to walk in a straight direction without turning. The will manoeuvre obstacles such as people, benches etc. to lead. The guide dog owner may know for example that the coffee shop is three blocks down the road at the second right turn. The guided should reinforce this route in the guide guides head by probably saying, Coffee Shop to the dog each time the dog visits the area. This will allow the animal to develop a natural GPS of where the owner wishes to go each time he says coffee shop to the dog. Likewise, allow the dog to reinforce the word home so the dog clearly knows where to go whenever the word home is mentioned.
Guide Dogs are Costley
Initial cost for Guide Dog = $50,000. Ongoing cost = $1,200 a year. Estimated working span = 8 years. Total cost for a guide dog = $59,600.
The most popular breed of dogs used as guide dogs are the Labrador Retriever. Other dogs used are Golden retrievers, German shepherds, Boxers and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Mix breeds of Golden and Labrador Retrievers are also favorable. These dogs are chosen for their calm temperament, intelligence and their ease of training. They also make great companion and family dogs.