[nagdu] Arbitrary restrictions on playing with future guide dogs

Julie J. julielj at neb.rr.com
Wed Aug 12 11:10:21 UTC 2015

I let my dogs play with whatever they can handle.  Monty has aged out of his 
hard chewing, so he can have stuffed toys, balls, rope toys...just about 
anything.  Jetta still likes to destroy toys, so she is limited to hard 
rubber things for now.  I'm not opposed to her having other toys at some 
point if she is able.

I also play with my dogs with tennis balls, although they require 
supervision because they like to eat the fuzz.  If we pass by tennis courts 
and people are playing, Monty will glance at them, but it doesn't interfere 
with his work.  I don't think Jetta even glances or not that I've noticed.

I play tug games with them.  I think it's important to have rules.  With tug 
the rule is that the toy is mine and if I say give, I mean give.  If the dog 
gets too rowdy I have them give me the toy and we take a break.  I have a 
hard time with tug because of my hands so we don't play it as much anymore.

Monty plays Frisbee.  It is one of his most favorite things.  Once the 
neighbor dog wandered over to play too.  I took turns, throwing it for one 
dog then the other.  They both had a good time.  Yes, this was in the front 
yard, no leash and no fence and the neighbor dog was never confined that I 
know of.  I have not played Frisbee with Jetta since she is not ready for 
unfenced areas with no leash.

I play fetch with both of them nearly daily.  I have played fetch with every 
dog I've ever had.  Some of them were more into it than others, but they all 
played fetch to some degree.  I haven't noticed any connection between 
playing fetch and chasing after small furry things.  The dogs used at guide 
dog schools should not have a high prey drive anyway.  Fetching and prey 
drive are two separate things.  Retrievers were bred to retrieve, not chase 
after small furry things via their prey drive.  Hunters do not want maimed 
or half eaten birds.  They want to shoot something and have the dog calmly 
and accurately retrieve it, returning it in the same condition they found 
it.  A dog with a super intense prey drive can't do that.  There is a vast 
difference between a hunting dog and a dog who hunts.  One is trained to 
work with humans calmly and efficiently.  The other is eating.

I think what it really comes down to is knowing what your particular dog can 
handle.  If you don't have a lot of experience with dogs, you simply may not 
know.  In the case of puppy raisers, I suspect the rules are in place so the 
puppy raisers don't have to be left wondering if their puppy is okay with a 
particular type of toy.  It is easier to make a rule of no tug toys than it 
is to provide training on dog behavior.

Courage to Dare: A Blind Woman's Quest to Train her Own Guide Dog is now 
available! Get the book here:
-----Original Message----- 
From: Raven Tolliver via nagdu
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 11:03 PM
To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Cc: Raven Tolliver
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Arbitrary restrictions on playing with future guide 

But I could use the same argument for my guide dog who has a dog
distraction. Would it make sense to say that his dog distraction comes
from being around other dogs? When they're born, they're around other
dogs for 7 to 12 weeks, depending on when the puppy is returned to the
school and given to a raiser. After that, they are around other dogs
for training classes, playdates, etc.

I'm not sure if dogs' different obsessions and distractions stem from
games and toys they've been exposed to. Every dog has different levels
and types of instinct in them, and different dogs prefer some games
and toys over others. I guess I haven't found any factors yet that
bring me to the conclusion that this is in fact a result of games
played during puppyhood, as opposed to something that simply varies
from dog to dog and is a part of individual personalities.

Also, if a person doesn't play fetch or tug with their dog, how else
do they play together? Dogs typically like to play chase as well, but
I don't think people are playing that game with their dogs every time
they play together. I'm asking sincerely. I admit I am far more
familiar with pet dog training than service dog training.
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

On 8/11/15, Vivianna via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
i am just getting her to play ball.  she is 6 years old and, it is
very obvious that she was not taught how to play ball, which is just
fine with me.  we can walk past any park with no problems.
> i think it does depend on the dog but, why create a potential problem for 
> a dog that would do fine without becoming obsessed.
> Vivianna
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