Guide dogs can be one of the most well advised options for anyone who needs assistance in accomplishing various everyday tasks. This can include people who have physical or emotional impairments that may compromise their lives in many ways. If we consider the benefits of guide dogs for blind people, we’ll see that these dogs can be the best and the most reliable companion for blind people who will never be away and will always be there for the person to help him or her in any way it is trained for.
Guide dogs for the blind are well-trained dogs that are very well equipped with all the skills that will be needed to help a blind person in leading a risk-free life.
Keeping in mind all the liabilities and obstacles blind people have to face like walking from one place to another safely, walking on the roadsides, climbing stairs, or a pathway with obstacles, guide dogs that are meant to assist blind persons are trained to guide blind people accomplish all these tasks and handle such situations successfully.
Not every dog can be a guide dog. Dogs that are considered to be guide dogs for the blind are the ones that are being trained and raised specifically for the sake of becoming a guide dog. These dogs are trained by volunteers for about a year, and after that they have 6-9 months of professional guide dog training, enabling them to perform specific tasks to help the blind.
The most common dog breeds that are best to be used as guide dogs for blind people, as defined by Assistance Dogs International, are German Shepherd, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers because of their size, physique, and intelligence level.
Skills that a guide dog is expected to acquire during training
These dogs are very well trained to identify obstacles that the blind are unable to detect while on their way.
Understanding and signaling elevation
They are also trained to understand and signal when they see an elevated pathway or stairs ahead.
Traffic hazard identification
While on the road these dogs are taught to keep the person away from any upcoming traffic, though they are unable to comprehend traffic signals or guiding the person to a new destination, rather they are able to assist in figuring out the time when the road is safe to move on.
This skill is of great importance as when the dogs are prepared for the purpose of saving the blind person from danger, they will have to stop obeying the usual command and use its understanding of the situation based on its training.
What kind of tasks can a guide dog perform
Moving a person from one place to another
A guide dog can help a blind person to move safely from one place to another without getting struck by any obstacle. Though it cannot help you in determining the exact pathway or direction, it can help its owner walk on the pathways safely without tripping or getting hurt.
Emergency situation handling
These dogs can also alarm the person regarding any hazardous situation and will keep them away from getting into any problems. Like if there is anything unusual or damaging going on, it will stop and pull the person back.
Stopping the blind person when needed
Guide dogs are able to inform the blind person when they need to stop and take on steps carefully. They will stop when there are stairs, slopes, elevated pathways, etc. and help the person know when they need to move carefully.
The overall benefits of having a guide dog for blinds
A person who has impaired vision can stay away from hazards and can live a safe life while performing usually tasks on a daily basis. These dogs will keep them informed and guide them to stay safe and secure even if they cannot see. We can say they can prove to be a second pair of eyes for the blinds.
Due to the fact, physical impairments and disabilities bring the level of confidence to a level down as compared to a normal person. It is because when people cannot perform their own tasks are unable to fulfil their personal needs they feel inferior. When the blinds get a guide dog, they will definitely feel an improvement in their confidence level as they will be able to live a worry free and independent life.
Decrease the burden on other family members
Same is the case with the other family members. When a blind person is able to move around with the help of his or her guide dog, there will be no need of another human assistant or a family member to stay all day long with the affected person and both can stay worry free an safe from any issues that may otherwise affect everyday life.
Full time support for people living alone
No one can have a 24 hour support from a human as humans have their personal needs and preferences and you cannot expect any family member of friend to be there for you whenever you have to go out somewhere. For people who have impaired vision needs a 24 hour assistance when they have to move around or go out somewhere. Guide dogs can be the best in such cases as these dogs will be staying all time and will never spare their owner, at any time.
Better social life
Due to the fact when you are able to go out and move around safely, you can go to your friends, and be a part of a social life that you like. Blind people can live a better social life while staying independent and moving to nearby friends safely with the help of their guide dog.
Today, dogs are being trained in a more dynamic way so that they can assist people better and can confront the modern lifestyle and its complication in a better way. According to a pioneering blind dog training professional Michele Pouliot, who has been working as the GDB researcher and analyst, guide dogs for blinds should be trained, using the latest methodology techniques and reinforcement methods with the help of creative scenarios. And according to Pouliot dogs trained with the latest training techniques are better problem solvers and provides better assistance to the blinds as compared to the traditional trained dogs.