[nagdu] Questions About Guide Dogs

Tatyana tagriru at gmail.com
Wed Aug 31 02:38:57 UTC 2011

Do you use a cane and  a dog? A cane for me now is  like a  part of me so I 
can't think to leave it and have a dog as the only helper. How to deal with 
curbs and bumps, not stumble?

> Hi Larry,
> Yeah, these guys are great in what they can be taught. Given patience, 
> time, and some training tricks you're likely to learn at guide dog school 
> and pick up along the way here and elsewhere, a dog's ability to learn new 
> skills is amazing.
> I do think it's important to discuss the differences in orientation with a 
> dog versus with a cane. While you will use many of the same skills, such 
> as finding landmarks and using environmental clues to determine where you 
> are in space, the landmarks and clues you use with a dog will of necessity 
> often be very different from the ones you use with a cane. A cane will 
> give you a lot of tactile landmarks, and you get a very in-depth idea of 
> your very immediate surroundings. This way, you can know that you turn 
> into the second driveway after the third mailbox on your right. Or, you 
> can know that just past the bench at shin level, there is a trash can, and 
> just past that you'll find a bus stop pole. These kinds of things aren't 
> as easy to do with a dog. Since your dog will treat things in your path as 
> obstacles, you can't very well use them as landmarks, so you have to use 
> other things, such as the change in acoustics (for instance, are you under 
> an overhanging roof or not), changing in pavement texture, and the like, 
> not to mention estimating distances to things. As time goes on, you'll 
> even learn to use things like your dog's reaction as environmental clues 
> unfamiliar routes. Strange but true. I think someone said that with a dog, 
> you've got more of a macro view of your surroundings, where using a cane 
> gives you a micro view, or a more detailed view. Some people don't care 
> about that, while others may well feel very lost without all of the very 
> immediate tactile information one gets from a cane. I say there's a place 
> for both. Sometimes the close-in tactile world is a great tool for 
> teaching your dog something new, but sometimes that same view gets in the 
> way and slows you down. I'm sure I'm not explaining this well at all.
> --
> Buddy Brannan, KB5ELV - Erie, PA
> Phone: (814) 860-3194 or 888-75-BUDDY
> On Aug 30, 2011, at 9:48 PM, Larry D. Keeler wrote:
>> My neighborhood is very walkable as well.  My mobility is pretty good.  I 
>> like working with my Holly for a few reasons.  We can move really fast 
>> and not have to worry about bumping into anything.  For instance, I have 
>> to transfer busses often.  I try to run to catch the next bus and bump, 
>> bump, bump!!  I would have to have a head like a musk ox to survive all 
>> of those posts I bump into.  And a 30 foot cane to hit them in time to 
>> stop!  I haven't hit 1 post with Holly!  Also, Holly is just a great 
>> companion!  I forgot, she also will go around those cars who insist on 
>> sticking out in stopped traffic and finding those curb cuts quickly.  And 
>> she also finds the push button lights and now, the sheltered bus stops! 
>> I'm trying to think of a way she can find the bus stops that are not 
>> sheltered.
>> Intelligence is always claimed but rarely proven!
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