„Go out!” – this is the command our guide-dogs-in-training are given when they go outside to practice. On their way out of the building they have to bypass obstacles that their trainers set up for them from time to time.
Developing problem solving skills constitutes an essential part of the guide dogs’ training programme. Guide dogs must be able to judge and correctly assess traffic situations in which they need to make autonomous decisions, for instance when they see road blocks or traffic diversions. Baráthegyi Guide Dog School is the only centre in Hungary where a professional instructor – rehabilitation expert dr. Tamás Mezősi – facilitates this learning process.
At the beginning of their training programme, prospective guide dogs practice in safe, artificial settings. The trainers set up artificial barriers and bollards inside a building and the dogs practice under controlled conditions. Guide dogs are fully aware of their owners’ visual impairment and they know that they are the link between their owners and the visible world.
It is imperative for guide dogs to be able to make the right decision at the right time without hesitation. In order to safeguard their handlers, guide dogs must also learn to say „NO” once in a while. If there is an obstacle in the street that cannot be bypassed, refusing to obey the command of the owner can save lives. During their months of intensive training, guide dogs are given a great deal of practice to be able to assess traffic situations correctly and be their owners’ „seeing eye”.
For details on how you can support our mission to provide more and more visually impaired people with guide dogs, click here.