[nagdu] Arbitrary restrictions on playing with future guide dogs
solsticesinger at gmail.com
Wed Aug 12 02:47:59 UTC 2015
Basically, I view the lecture on play as a list of guidelines that I obey until I know my dog well. In the case of my current guide, fetch is all right, but soft toys are not. He is a power chewer, so stuffed toys don’t last long at all. Fetching a bone or a kong hasn’t caused him to behave badly while working, but I can see why schools might advise against such things, especially in the beginning. It takes time for dog and handler to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and, until that happens, I see nothing wrong with some guidance. I found it especially helpful when working my first guide.
Shannon and the Acelet
> On Aug 11, 2015, at 10:20 PM, Raven Tolliver via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> As some of you know, I recently started working at LDB. One of the
> aspects of my job is handing puppies over to puppy-raisers, explaining
> to them basic dos and don'ts of raising, and going through the 16-page
> contract they have to sign.
> One of the things we tell them not to do is play fetch with the dogs.
> Also, many of you know that the schools advise both raisers and
> clients against giving the dogs soft toys, such as stuffed animals,
> squeaky toys, or rope toys--anything they can tear apart easily.
> I recently sat down with the director of training and asked him why
> they set these guidelines. He explained that LDB doesn't want to
> stimulate a dog's prey-drive. They don't want the dogs to be excited
> by moving objects or moving animals because it could translate into
> lunging after balls, animals, etc in harness.
> I think this is ridiculous. I haven't raised a pup myself, so maybe
> there's something to it. But since I've brought my golden home, we
> play fetch with balls and frisbees, tug with stuffed animals or
> squeaky toys, and whenever the Golden Guy is in his kennel at work, I
> give him a stuffed golden retriever as a comfort object, though he
> probably doesn't need it. My coworkers were surprised that my dog will
> not chew the stuffed toy apart and rip the stuffing out of it.
> Also, I played fetch with him out in the hallways tonight, and the
> kennel care staff asked very sarcastically, "Wow, playing fetch
> doesn't ruin his work?" And we then had a long discussion about how
> the no-fetch advice is extremely unrealistic. They even told me that
> the trainers will play fetch with the dogs in the runs sometimes, and
> that there are many a tennis ball in the training trucks while dogs
> wait their turns to be with their trainers.
> I understand all dogs are not the same. Some dogs will chew toys up if
> you let them, or if they're under stress. But you should monitor your
> dog with toys no matter what. Some dogs just have the prey-drive
> engrained in them and will go after moving objects and small animals
> regardless. But I don't think the ways we play with them mitigates or
> increases these behaviors. Retrievers were originally trained to
> fetch, and shepherds were trained to lead and chase. They can
> differentiate very well between what they do with toys out of harness,
> and what their job is when in-harness. Given, dogs have their
> distractions, but again, I don't think playtime has anything to do
> with it, unless play is used as a reward during work.
> Even then, the reward is offered after a cue is given, so if used
> properly, this kind of play would improve a dog's work, not ruin it.
> Does anyone else find that the advice against fetch and soft toys is
> nonsense? Or Is it legit in your experience?
> Founder of 1AM Editing & Research
> You are valuable because of your potential, not because of what you
> have or what you do.
> Naturally-reared guide dogs
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