[nagdu] What one wants

Tracy Carcione carcione at access.net
Fri Jan 24 12:37:22 UTC 2014

Hi Raven.
I too have high expectations.  However, you can't build anything solid and 
strong on a shaky foundation.  If the basic guide dog skills aren't good, 
nothing else matters.  That's all I'm saying.  Anyone who goes to a school 
should be able to take basic guiding skills for granted, but the truth is 
otherwise. So I've picked schools where I feel very confident in the basics, 
and then I look at stuff like ownership, follow-up, attitude, etc.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Raven Tolliver" <ravend729 at gmail.com>
To: "NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users" 
<nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2014 3:39 PM
Subject: Re: [nagdu] What one wants

> Tracy,
> 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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> -- 
> Raven
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