[nagdu] should guides be given a second owner if it doesn't work out with the first owner?

Tamara Smith-Kinney tamara.8024 at comcast.net
Thu Apr 14 05:36:07 UTC 2011


I'm glad you asked this question.  That's one of those program policies I
ran across while researching for owner-training, and my first response to
the notion was very negative.

Since then, I've heard of enough positive experience with dogs who were
reissued after being returned to have a more favorable view of the practice.
Most of what I've heard is from people who have done well with re-issued
dogs or from people who know people...  /smile/  Still, I get it more now
and understand the reasoning others have explained, and it does seem to work
for the most part.  There will certainly be times when it doesn't, but that
is true of matches in general.

As for whether you're over-reacting...  As a still pretty new and only
somewhat experienced guide dog handler, also an owner-trainer then
self-taught handler, I've been observing the attitudes and ways of thinking
of handlers at or just above my level of experience as closely as I have
those of the long-timers.  I can watch my peers in that regard to give
myself a reality check as to how I'm coming along not just in skill but in
maturity as a handler while I'm learning from those with much more

So here's my observation, based not just on myself but on a generalized
group of other first time handlers going through or just coming past the
team building phase:  We over-react.  To everything.  /lol/  The good, the
bad, the mundane...  It is all new and exciting and frightening and
wonderful and awful, all beyond belief.  We popped out to dinner just this
evening, and at the restaurant there was just this one little thing that no
one would have noticed beyond our table...  Outwardly, I remained calm and
responded correctly and it was all okay.  Inwardly, what did I do?  /lol/
OMG!  How can this be?  What can it mean?  Oh, no, this is so terrible!
Then I noticed nothing had actually happened that was worth all the fuss and
got over it.  /smile/  More and more, it's all old hat, but apparently I can
still freak out just fine over absolutely nothing.

As for working through bad habits in your re-issue dog...  I think others
are right in their observations that during the first year or so, there will
always be something that will make you absolutely crazy about your dog.  In
your first dog, these will be far more magnified in your own mind than in
those you work with later on as a truly experience dhandler.  The bad habits
need to be dealt with and modified, certainly, but it's not really habit for
you yet to deal with those ups and downs.  So you really have to think your
way through it and notice every little thing and try to figure out how to
counteract and...  Well, on and on.  It just takes awhile for all of that to
become havit and natural.  I've only been there for a short while -- with
minor blips where I freak out over nothing -- and that sure is nice!

Good luck with your dog; sounds like you're coming through the tream
building phase and are starting on the next one -- which is where it all
falls together and you're just you working your guide.  /smile/  I'm loving
that, and trying to hold onto that feeling as I move into the taking it all
for granted phase.

Tami Smith-Kinney

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Brittney N. Mejico
Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 3:20 PM
To: the National Association of Guide Dog Users NAGDU Mailing List
Subject: [nagdu] should guides be given a second owner if it doesn't work
out with the first owner?

Hello all,  
My dog had another handler before me.  I don't think that guides should be
given another handlerbecause the dog picksup a lot of bad habits and they
are  really hard to get rid of.  I love my  dog very muchand harvard has
changed my life, but it took me a year to stop a lot of her bad habbits, and
we still have some work to do.  What do you guys think? am I over reacting? 

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