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When a dog replaces eyesight

There are people to whom the dog replaces … eyesight. Perhaps you rarely see such people on the street. Still would! In Russia and on the territory of the former Soviet republics there is only one (!) School for the restoration of the working ability of the blind and for the training of guide dogs of the All-Russian Society of the Blind. It is located in the village of Kupavna near Moscow. Real enthusiasts of their hard work work here.

Morning walk

The school started a commotion. “What happened?” – I asked Anatoly Ermoshin (director of the school). “Yes, our disabled person was gone! Just yesterday I came to prepare – to deal with a dog. We gave him Charlie, our handsome German shepherd gave them, settled them in a hotel, which is located here in the territory, and today he has already disappeared somewhere with him. In the morning we have a traditional route to the railway station and back, everyone goes together: blind, guide dog and instructor. Meet in front of the school at eight in the morning – and more! Olenka, our instructor, waited for them for an hour, rushed to search – nowhere. And where did Charlie get him? Here they are, thank God! ” Satisfied Ivan Petrovich walked along the path leading from the forest, with wet leaves adhering to his clothes. In his left hand he gripped the special leash tightly. The handsome Charlie led him sedately, and it seemed that the dog was also smiling, pleased with the long walk. The couple stopped at the porch, only then Charlie allowed himself to shake off and looked at us guiltyly. “We went to the forest here, walked together. When I saw it, I loved to go mushroom picking. Charlie is such a fine fellow, he was always there and brought me out … ”- Ivan Petrovich justified himself.

The instructor-methodologist should not only raise a guide dog, but also teach a disabled person to navigate in space with the help of a dog. Loss of vision seriously injures the human psyche, he needs a special approach. If the instructor does not find a common language with the disabled person, consider that the time has gone to train the dog.
Practice has shown: Labradors are the best guide! (80% of all guide dogs in the world are representatives of this particular breed, the remaining 20% ​​are German Shepherd dogs.) Labradors are calm and balanced, they have a stable psyche. A guide dog will never hurt anyone!
Collie, or Scottish Shepherd dogs, are also very friendly dogs, but they have a weak nervous system. For example, they may panic when the thunder rolls, but for guide dogs it is no good! There is no need to talk about rottweilers … In general, making a dog angry and uncontrollable is easier than ever. Our task is to educate her as kind and calm as possible. By the way, the English experience in the training of conductors showed that their properties are transmitted by genes, by inheritance, therefore, at our school there is a nursery of guide Labradors.

Both in the rain and in the snow
Dogs are trained, starting from the age of one, for six to eight months. Every day, regardless of the weather and time of the year, the instructor and his pet walk 17 kilometers. Preparation consists of several stages. First, they study the suitability of a Labrador for a difficult guide service. They check his reaction to external stimuli: traffic, the noise of a city street, shots, a large crowd of people, and also find out how the dog relates to his brothers and cats. The second stage includes a general training course. A guide should be absolutely obedient and friendly, in no case pull the leash, calmly go next to the owner. School pets are taught special skills: stopping at intersections, going around hatches, puddles, various obstacles, correctly guiding a blind person in public transport, serving him fallen objects, and not taking food from outsiders. At the end of the training, the instructor-methodologist and his student pass the exam.

Each disabled person’s dog is selected individually, taking into account the diseases of the future owner and psychological compatibility – after all, a person’s life will depend on the tailed guide in the future. For example, in Sweden, before getting a guide dog, a disabled person needs to write an essay, which psychologists then check. Thus, they investigate how newfound “eyes” can get along with the owner. “One disabled woman from Petrozavodsk was training with us. We handed her a fawn Labrador Sam, ”says Anatoly
Ermoshin, director of the guide school. – So they got such a great tandem! He brings her lost things. After all, at the command “aport” the guide should pick up objects from the floor. And Sam does it without a team. He’ll find the glasses – he’ll drag him in, then the mobile phone … ”Disabled people live with their four-legged friends soul to soul. Only one problem bothers them the most: public rejection. With us, a blind person with a dog can easily not be allowed into the store, in the clinic or in the subway. There were times when the police threatened to confiscate the guide dog only because the blind walked with her in the park.

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