[nagdu] What one wants

Raven Tolliver ravend729 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 23 20:39:28 UTC 2014

It's okay not to have big wants concerning a guide dog program, but I
think that it's best to have them.
It's not as simple as wanting a guide dog that guides well, doesn't
hurt you, and enhances your mobility. Especially since most schools
don't grant ownership upon graduation, you still have a school to deal
with after you graduate. This is not to say ties can't be cut, but
personally, I want to be comfortable calling my school for follow up
support. And some clients want to be able to consult with their
school's veterinarians. Some people choose schools that help pay vet
bills. If people want to continue communicating with school staff,
then they need to pick a school that meets their wants and needs.
For instance, in the case of training methods. If I had a dog who was
a scavenger, I would not want to seek advice from my trainer, only to
have that person advise me to start executing practice sessions where
I used positive punishment or negative reinforcement to solve the
problem. I would want a school that advocated, advised, and suggested
the use of techniques that are as positive as possible. To me, a good
guide dog is an optimistic one, and harsh training techniques make
pessimistic dogs in my opinion.
Also, people should always talk to their school and grads about the
ownership policy. Some schools have reputations for abusing there
discretion when it comes to ownership policies. No one goes to a
school to get a guide dog expecting or believing that their school
might unfairly remove their dog from their care.
I say if you have big wants and expectations, look for a school that
meets your criteria. If you can't find that in a program, and don't
have what it takes to train your own or have it privately trained,
then start scaling back. There's nothing wrong with being picky. If I
said the opposite, I'd be a hypocrite.

On 1/23/14, Tracy Carcione <carcione at access.net> wrote:
> I think it's fine to not have any big wants.  Basically, I want a guide dog
> who actually guides me, one who helps me instead of hurts me, one who
> enhances my mobility.  Without that, anything else is irrelevant.  One would
> think that one could always count on that basic, but clearly it ain't
> necessarily so.
> So I try to pick the program that I think has the very best chance of giving
> me that essential, and then, if I think there's more than one that fits the
> bill, look at the would-be-nice list. But figuring out which program gives
> me the best chance of a good dog is not as easy as one would think it should
> be.
> To follow Rebecca's analogy, my house has to keep me warm and dry, and not
> fall down around me.  Then we can talk about bathrooms, location, etc.
> Tracy
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