[nagdu] Owner Trained Versus Guide Dog School Program in order to get a guide dog

barbandzoe at comcast.net barbandzoe at comcast.net
Wed Jul 23 15:01:10 UTC 2014

I have been looking into going to a school, I found only two that have the two week program for first time dog owners. And I live in Minnesota so Freedom will not work with me, I called them. 
I have had no formal O&M training. If I want training, and I want to get my state organization to pay for it, I need to combine it with other kinds of training, school, job stills. witch I have done through them and I don't think they are going to help me go to school unless i have a really good career idea. So I am on my own for the training. 
So the schools want O&M training, I had a trainer fill out the paper that said I could travel, but the schools want the training. 

I am really thinking that if I want a guide dog I will have to train one myself. 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Name, Full" <nagdu at nfbnet.org> 
To: "Julie J." <julielj at neb.rr.com>, "Name, Full" <nagdu at nfbnet.org> 
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 7:37:31 AM 
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Owner Trained Versus Guide Dog School Program in order to get a guide dog 

Julie, I always love your well-thought out responses. The things you have listed are probably the reasons I would not see myself doing the owner training thing, though I love the idea of the completed project. Who wouldn’t? But one thing you didn’t mention is how far ahead you have to be looking, how far into the future should you be training your own dog. My dog is eight. He probably is fine now, and when it is time for him to retire, I can apply to the school for another. Since I’ve been there already, I usually don’t have to wait a really long time for a replacement. If I am training my own dog, I should probably have already started that process as you have with Monty, and I don’t know if I’m spelling that right. It almost seems to me as if, with the exception of maybe a year or two, one would almost always be training a dog. 


On Jul 23, 2014, at 7:28 AM, Julie J. via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote: 

> I agree with Tami. the customization and flexibility is the main difference. Well, other than the obvious, an owner trained dog is trained by the owner and a program trained dog is trained by a program trainer. 
> As an owner trainer, I have the flexibility to use the training methods that I prefer. I can feed the food I choose. I can vaccinate and provide health care that I feel is best for my dog. I can use equipment that I choose. And I can choose the specific skills to train my dog, which are most meaningful to me. For example my current guide is not trained for escalators because there isn't a single escalator in the town where we live. It doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time on that skill when I won't be using it. However he is quite skilled at sidewalkless travel and targeting locations of interest across large open spaces because those are skills I need and use frequently. 
> With a dog from a program you get training that is a little bit of everything so it will fit the widest possible range of possible handlers. Nothing wrong with that and certainly that training can be customized when you get home or you can make your needs known to the program so they can do a bit more advanced training with you while your there on the things you'll be using most often. Still, it's like Rebecca's house analogy. If you purchase an existing house, you can do some remodeling, paint or put in new carpet, but the main structure and foundation remains. With an owner trained dog/a custom built home, you design every element exactly as you like all the way through the process. 
> The trade off is a load of time, effort and resources. Training your own dog takes an incredible amount of work. You won't be doing much in the way of fun, career advancement, family expansion or personal projects while you are training a guide dog. It requires daily effort in the way of daily training sessions at home, on the streets and eventually in public places. You have to think ahead to what the dog is ready for, what skills are needed, how to teach them, what to do when plan A doesn't work, who to call for help, and assessing your progress honestly. You will need a lot of resources to be able to owner train your own guide. It costs money. It doesn't seem like a lot to me from month to month, but it most certainly does add up. However because you aren't spending a whole lot of time on frivolous entertainment, perhaps it all averages out? I'd still plan on a couple thousand dollars to cover expenses. You also need some people to help you. I don't mean to help you train the dog. that would be kind of nice, but it isn't called owner training for nothing. Even if you do find a trainer to assist you, it is still you making all the decisions about what training to be doing. Mostly though, I mean you need people to give you some honest feedback about your dog. Sometimes you will be so enthralled with the process you will miss the forest because the trees get in the way. Having someone watch you with the dog and providing feedback helps incredibly. the person doesn't have to be super educated about guide dogs. You'll be able to sift through their comments and sort what is a legitimate concern with what is lack of understanding about guides. Perhaps the most important thing you need from your people is support. Owner training is incredibly mentally and emotionally taxing. You need people to reassure you that you aren't nutters, yes, I can guarantee there will come a day when you question your sanity. You need people to talk to when things get tough and you need to do some problem solving. You also need people who will give you a high five when things are awesome, people who will celebrate with you. 
> Julie 
> -----Original Message----- From: Tami Jarvis via nagdu 
> Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:49 PM 
> To: helga.schreiber26 at gmail.com ; NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users 
> Subject: Re: [nagdu] Owner Trained Versus Guide Dog School Program in order to get a guide dog 
> Helga, 
> Not a silly question at all! The difference between the owner-trained 
> dog and the program-trained dog once the training is completed is that 
> the owner-trained dog is likely to be more customized to the handler. A 
> program-trained dog can be customized to some degree once it goes home 
> with its new handler, depending on the skill of the handler and the 
> wishes of the program. 
> The differences in the process of ending up with a working guide are 
> more profound. To get a program guide, you have to fill out a bunch of 
> forms and jump through some hoops, wait to hear if and when you'll get 
> the dog, then go get it. More or less. Most programs will provide 
> transportation to their facility, room and board, and instruction in how 
> to use a guide dog and to handle your new dog in particular. Most will 
> send you home with a starter kit including grooming supplies, toys, 
> working gear, and even dog food. Follow up may include vet expenses, as 
> well as answers to questions or further training for you or your dog if 
> you need it to develop into a strong working team. You will start out 
> with an adult dog, raised specifically for the job, with a good set of 
> house manners, good social etiquette and task training. That's a very 
> generalized overview, of course. /smile/ 
> To owner-train, you first have to find the right dog. This can take some 
> time, a lot of research, more time, more research, and often evaluating 
> a number of candidates before finding the right one. You may decide to 
> start with a puppy, so you have total control of its rearing, which 
> means you will be busy for about 2 years (depending on how fast your dog 
> learns and matures). Or you can get an older pup, which has pros and 
> cons. Getting your hands on a dog that is closer to adulthood will get 
> you a guide dog faster, but you have to watch out for emotional baggage. 
> You will need to then train the dog, which means every day, building the 
> skills for the job and the manners for public access. Some phases of 
> training are relatively dangerous, so you need to be aware and figure 
> out how to teach the dog to be safe without getting hurt in the process. 
> You will be buying your own gear, kibble, grooming equipment, paying all 
> vet expenses, stuff like that. At some point, you'll need to transition 
> from trainer to handler, which can be interesting. All along the way, 
> you need to be able to evaluate your dog for fitness and be ready to 
> wash it out if necessary. You will need to learn the laws thoroughly and 
> be ready and able to self-advocate. 
> The reasons people choose to owner-train instead of getting a guide from 
> a program vary. For myself, I can think of various and sundry items on 
> my list of reasons why, but when it comes down to it, I think I do it 
> because I want to. Also, I love training and the challenges and chills 
> and thrills and, well, all of it. /smile/ 
> Again, that's a quick and dirty overview, very generalized. 
> Tami 
> On 07/22/2014 07:58 PM, Helga via nagdu wrote: 
>> Hi all! How are you all? I just wanted to ask you, what is the difference between a owner trained and a guide dog school program in order to get a guide dog? I’m just wondring since I’m plannin to get a guide dog next year! Sorry for asking this silly question!, which I’m suppose to know! the answer for! Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks and God bless! 
>> Helga Schreiber 
>> Fundraiser Coordinator for Phi Theta Kappa, Alpha Delta Iota chapter 
>> Member of National Federation of the Blind and Florida Association of Blind Students 
>> Member of The International Networkers Team (INT) 
>> Independent Entrepreneur of the Company 4Life Research 
>> Phone: (561) 706-5950 
>> Email: helga.schreiber26 at gmail.com 
>> Skype: helga.schreiber26 
>> 4Life Website: http://helgaschreiber.my4life.com/1/default.aspx 
>> INT Website: http://int4life.com/ 
>> "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 
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