Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Canine Helpers

Not every dog is cut out to serve as a guide dog. These uniquely gifted dogs are the result of careful breeding and vigorous training. And, of course, thoughtful placement with the right owner ensures the best possible outcome for both the dog and owner.

Historically, German Shepherd Dogs were used as guide dogs because of their strong-bodies and willingness to perform tasks. Starting in the 1960's other breeds were incorporated into the guide dog training, including Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.

Today, worldwide, the Lab is the most-used breed of dog for this work. Not only do they have a strong body and will, but also a calm, even-temper and the initiative.

Guide Dogs of America, founded in 1948, is one such organization that trains and breeds dogs to assist their owners. At 8 weeks of age the dogs go to foster homes and begin a program of early socialization, formative training, learning to be a house dog, and getting into normal public places. At 16 to 18 months they return to the school for their formal guide-dog training.

You can apply for a dog or make a donation by clicking on the above link.

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