[nagdu] Arbitrary restrictions on playing with future guide dogs

Kaye Kipp kkipp123 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 12 05:03:39 UTC 2015

I guess it depends on the dog.  I had a golden who loved soft toys and would
never chew them up.  I also had a yello lab who loved them.  On the other
hand, I've had dogs I'd never give soft toys to.  I don't see anything wrong
with playing fetch.  In fact, years ago, fetch was a part of the training.


-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Raven Tolliver
via nagdu
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 7:21 PM
To: nagdu
Cc: Raven Tolliver
Subject: [nagdu] Arbitrary restrictions on playing with future guide dogs

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

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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