[nagdu] Questions About Guide Dogs

Julie J. julielj at neb.rr.com
Wed Aug 31 03:29:18 UTC 2011

Concerning the number of words a dog can learn and what sorts of 
commands are used...

First I'm with Buddy, I like using the word request more than command.  
It is ultimately the dog's call if the request is safe to execute.  
Second request seems more respectful of the partnership, where command 
seems more like I'm being a drill sergeant. *shrugs* Maybe it's just me.

Anyway guide dogs do know quite a few words linked to specific 
behaviors.  I'd guess most guides range between 25 and 50 words.

Generally speaking a behavior request would be something that can be 
generalized in lots of different situations.  For my dog forward means 
to pick a safe path in the general direction of in front of us, going 
around anything big, stopping if he can't go around and following any 
small curve of the obvious path.  Inside means to take me to the nearest 
door that is an obvious entrance.  However you can teach your dog 
specific words for specific things that only apply in a single 
situation.   You could teach your dog to find a specific mailbox that 
you use or the water fountain in the middle of a long hallway or a 
particular office in a large building.

In a parking lot I might use forward if I wanted to walk through and end 
up pretty much in a straight line from where I started or I might use 
inside if I wanted to go into the building associated with the parking lot.


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