[nagdu] Letting Someone Else Work Your Dog

Julie J julielj at neb.rr.com
Sat Apr 23 15:04:12 UTC 2011

I let a friend work Belle around the block to see what working a guide was 
like.  I tried to let someone work Monty, but he was having none of it. 
Like others have said it depends on the dog, the person and the situation. 
I think just like everything else if it's done responsibly, I don't have an 

With my own dogs though, I would be concerned that the other person wouldn't 
know how to work them.  Since I've owner trained, the particular set of hand 
gestures, verbal commands, foot placement and sequences of behaviors is 
probably different from the standards taught at a program.  Unless I spent 
some considerable time teaching all of that to the other person, I don't 
think they'd get the results they were looking for.  I suppose the same 
could be said of a person who has never worked a dog before or a person 
whose dogs came from a different program.

It's interesting that in some countries guides are given to couples because 
they don't have enough dogs to go around.  Both individuals are trained with 
the dog and each works the dog, swapping back and forth frequently.  No idea 
what happens when both people want to go somewhere at the same time though!

Hope the accident wasn't too painful.  Feel better soon!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Buddy Brannan" <buddy at brannan.name>
To: "NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users" 
<nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 23, 2011 9:38 AM
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Letting Someone Else Work Your Dog

> Hi,
> I expect most of us have, at one time or another, test driven someone 
> else's dog for one reason or another. Though, certainly, whether and who 
> depends a lot on the dog, the person, and lots of things that really don't 
> apply to car ownership. I do agree, though, that this decision, like so 
> many others, rests with the guide dog owner. Which is to say, I think it's 
> perfectly acceptable for us to be empowered to make bad decisions, too, 
> although I of course never make that kind.
> --
> Buddy Brannan, KB5ELV - Erie, PA
> Phone: (814) 860-3194 or 888-75-BUDDY
> On Apr 23, 2011, at 8:21 AM, Cindy Ray wrote:
>> Ouch, Marion, sorry to hear of your accident. As for working a dog, I 
>> wouldn't most of the time myself, though I might let someone try it as 
>> you did. But I did once work my ex-husband's dog. I had had a dog for a 
>> while but she didn't work out. His dog was very fond of me, and I was 
>> suffering from wondering if I ought to go back and try for another dog. 
>> My husband thought I should test drive his dog. He said he wasn't really 
>> concerned about any fall out from it. I said, should I take him around 
>> the block? And he said, heck just go anywhere with him, you're a good 
>> user. We did walk, and the dog quickly matched my strie (Chuck is tall 
>> and I am short) and we had a marvelous walk around downtown Lawrence. I 
>> no longer questioned whether I ought to go back and get another dog.
>> Cindy
>> On Apr 23, 2011, at 6:20 AM, Marion Gwizdala wrote:
>>> Dear All,
>>>   I wanted to comment on the provision that many training programs have 
>>> in their agreements concerning allowing someone else to work your dog. I 
>>> frequently compare owning a guide dog to owning a vehicle, including the 
>>> right to own the harness just as car owners own their keys. Similarly, 
>>> if someone owns a vehicle and allows another to use it, that is fully 
>>> within their rights, provided that person is a licensed driver and is 
>>> either covered by the insurance policy or is somehow otherwise insured. 
>>> Here are my thoughts on allowing another to work my dog.
>>>   When I went to convention in years past with one of my previous dogs, 
>>> I would allow someone who had never worked a dog "test drive" one of 
>>> mine. I had no fear that the training program from which I received my 
>>> dog would interfere with this, as I have ownership. Through this 
>>> experience, I have introduced many people to the joy of working a guide 
>>> dog. Now, I would probably not let a novice work my current guide dog, 
>>> as he is a lot to handle.
>>>   On Thursday, I fell and fractured my tibia; I am non-weight bearing 
>>> for the next two months. My dog was going stir crazy, so my wife took 
>>> him out and worked him. She will also be taking him to school with her 
>>> on Monday. Merry is a seasoned guide dog handler and is very competent 
>>> to work Sarge. In addition, Sarge needs to work. In fact, he is 
>>> insisting on it! (grin) Merry will be working him regularly while I 
>>> recover, keeping his skills up and giving him much needed exercise. I 
>>> have absolutely no fear posting this message to a public list because I 
>>> know GDF will not interfere with my choices. This is not true of other 
>>> programs who seem to be looking for reasons to take a dog away just to 
>>> reinforce their ability to do so and keep their consumers in line 
>>> through fear and intimidation.
>>> fraternally yours,
>>> Marion Gwizdala
>>> _______________________________________________
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