[nagdu] puppy! and Owner Training

Julie J. julielj at neb.rr.com
Tue Jul 9 12:31:20 UTC 2013


My first dog was more an experiment to see if I could train a guide dog. 
She was older when I started and didn't work long before age related health 
issues became apparent.  My second dog is nuts.  She's still living here 
with me and she's still nuts.  I worked her for a couple of years before 
ending her guiding career.  She has a lot of fears of small motorized things 
and she was unpredictable.  It got worse the more she was out, until no 
amount of training or management was enough to be safe.  My third dog is the 
one I'm currently working.  In a few weeks I will have had him for 5 years, 
which means he's coming up on 6 years old.  He's been working for almost 4. 
My plan is for him to work two more years.  Then when the new dog comes I 
will split the guiding up between the two of them, so the new dog can be 
eased into the responsibility and my current dog will still get in some 
work, which will make him happy.

I wouldn't exactly call that three successful dogs.  Each was successful in 
their own way, but I wouldn't call Belle a super successful guide.  When you 
owner train, you have to be more flexible than with a program.  When you go 
to a program they have lots of dogs and they know exactly what each one 
strengths and weaknesses are.  When you owner train, you don't figure that 
out until the end.  Sure some of it is picking a good dog to start with and 
some of it is training and socialization, but if I'm going to be brutally 
honest, I think there is a part that is just luck.  For example when it 
comes to pace and pull, I have my ideal and then I have a range of what I 
can deal with.  If I went to a program I would most likely get my ideal. 
Owner training means I compromise with something in my range of acceptable.

When I mentioned that Monty can be pokey, that is actually only when we are 
on a route that he's done a million times and it's boring.  He's a fast 
paced dog in all other circumstances.  To gauge the pace of an older puppy 
or adult dog, I take them out on leash for a walk.  Once they settle down a 
bit and start actually walking nice, I just notice how fast they are going 
and if it's comfortable for me.  That will get you close, but when a dog 
wears a harness it may move slower or faster by a bit.


-----Original Message----- 
From: Ben Humphreys
Sent: Monday, July 08, 2013 7:44 PM
To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] puppy! and Owner Training


All good info.  Looking forward to hearing about the trainer.

I think it's interesting that you haven't had a
single dog "wash out" for typical reasons like
health, fear, aggression, apathy, etc.  I wonder
if part of that is just sticking with it through
all the problems until they're worked out, if that's somehow possible.

Also, you mentioned the pokiness factor, which
for me, has been the main problem with my first
guide, and seems to be so pervasive among
handlers, as opposed to "my dog is too fast",
that I wonder if it's inherent in guide work.

I wonder if there is any way of evaluating walk
speed of a puppy or at least indications of eventual pace?

Great discussion...


At 08:26 PM 7/8/2013, you wrote:
>Ben, I'll talk to the trainer and see if she's okay with going public. 
>*smile* Depending on the dog, I'm on my third, some things they got right 
>away and some things they didn't.  Dog 1 was a rock star at overhangs, Dogs 
>2 and 3, not so much.  Dog 2 was good at locating people we know in a crowd 
>or large place.  Dog 3 has been the best overall.  Most things he figured 
>out with minimum to moderate instruction from me. He's super good at 
>remembering places we've been and problem solving new situations.  He gets 
>bored with too much of the same thing and  walks super pokey. Dog 1 was 
>content to do the same things over and over.  All three needed months and 
>months of daily training.  Even the areas that each dog excelled at still 
>required guidance and fine tuning. I prefer the term owner training to self 
>training.  It is me, the owner, doing the training.  The term self training 
>sounds to me like it’s the dog training himself.  I wish that were the 
>case, but so far I haven't figured out how that works! *smile* When I 
>trained my own dogs the cost is pretty reasonable.  There's the initial 
>cost of the dog or puppy, which can vary from free to several thousand 
>dollars.  My previous three dogs came from shelters and were around $100. 
>Dog 4 is of course from a breeder and is $700.  You need some basic 
>equipment, crate, collars, leashes, carpet cleaner, bowls, food, toys, 
>grooming supplies, vet care including some nonroutine checks on hips, 
>elbows and eyes.  In addition there will be incidental expenses during the 
>training of the dog.  You'll need to expose the puppy to all sorts of 
>transportation, for example, so you might find yourself taking a train you 
>wouldn't normally take for the exclusive purpose of training.  I'm taking a 
>guess that $1000 could cover all of this.   Less depending on where you 
>live, your particular vet and how lucky you are at scoring good deals at 
>garage sales. Of course hiring a trainer costs more.  I want to talk to the 
>trainer before I talk about the costs.  I want to make sure she's okay with 
>that. Julie _______________________________________________ nagdu mailing 
>list nagdu at nfbnet.org http://nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nagdu_nfbnet.org 
>To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for 

nagdu mailing list
nagdu at nfbnet.org
To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for nagdu:

No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 2012.0.2242 / Virus Database: 3204/5974 - Release Date: 07/08/13

More information about the NAGDU mailing list