Labrador Retrievers are exceptional guide dogs and perfect companions for disabled people. They are not only smart but eager to please as well as athletic. This, of course, makes them suitable for many jobs. But, they are not born with the skills that they need to be a guide, service or therapy dog. They must learn.
So, how do they go from just a pup to a guide dog? Read on to find out:
0 – 6 weeks
The pup is just like any other. It is learning the basics of how to live in a human household. It gets its shots and is checked for health problems.
6 weeks – 4 months
During these important developmental months, the dog will begin living with a specialized trainer who will work with them on skills like basic commands and walking on a leash. Just as with human children, it is essential to “get them young.”
4 – 14 months
During this time, the dog will begin to learn how to climb stairs, make its way through busy shopping areas or streets. It will also learn how to navigate various means of transport, like trains and buses, for example.
14 – 17 months
The Labrador is ready to start school! A professional guide dog trainer will introduce the puppy to a training harness and begin working on avoiding obstacles, and skills that will allow them to protect their future owners from hazards such as high curbs on streets or blocked roads.
17 – 22 months
Around this time, the Lab is matched with a future owner.
After that, the dog becomes a vital part of the daily life of their blind or partially sighted owner. Though having a dog may seem like a small thing to some, to a person dealing with sight loss or blindness, their new pet can be a life-changing (or even lifesaving) friend.
Do you have a service or guide dog? Or, do you someone who does? Drop a comment below and share with us how this dog has changed lives.