Training Seeing Eye Dogs
The practice of training seeing eye dogs
dates back quite some time, and continues to this day because of how effective it is.
With the popularity of topics such as Dog First Aid and healthcare for pets, it seems like the main issue of having a dog is always dealing with its problems. Guide dogs, however, are mainly used to benefit the health of their human companions. Seeing Eye Dogs are a great solution for people who suffer from blindness, providing mobility and convenience to people who can't see.
With a trained canine to guide them, they can go about their lives as normal. In addition, they also get a faithful friend out of the deal, so it's no surprise that entire organizations have been created for the express purpose of training Seeing Eye dogs over the years.
Though the first known mention of guide dogs goes all the way back to the 16th century, the first school devoted to training seeing-eye dogs was established in Germany during World War I. The original idea behind these dogs was to improve the mobility of war veterans whose eyes were damaged in battle. Then later, in 1929, a similar training school was established in the United States.
The school was known as The Seeing Eye, and was originally located in Nashville, Tennessee before being moved to Morristown, New Jersey roughly two years after its founding. One of the original founders of The Seeing Eye was a man by the name of Morris Frank, who was the very first owner of a Seeing Eye dog in the United States. He and his German Shepherd Buddy were trained in Switzerland in 1928, and he's considered to be one of the most iconic people in the History of Seeing Eye Dogs.
Due to its usefulness, the practice of training Seeing Eye dogs also became popular in other countries. In Great Britain, the first Seeing Eye dogs were German Shepherds just like Frank's dog Buddy. On October 6, 1931, three of these guide dogs (Judy, Meta and Folly) were given to a group of veterans from World War I who were blinded and in need of companions.
A few years after that, a charitable organization known as the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association was established in Britain. A man named Captain Nikolai Liakhoff arrived in England about a year before the founding of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and he eventually became their very first permanent trainer. The Guide Dogs charity was so successful that it continues to exist today, training and supplying seeing-eye dogs for all the visually impaired people who need them.
Sometime after its establishment, the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association began to recruit volunteers to act as puppy-walkers. It also introduced a new breeding program, and eventually received its own premises at Tollgate House.
They soon began to fund their work with children's programming, allowing themselves to train more dogs to continue making the lives of the visually impaired easier.
Today, all of the dogs trained by the Association are dedicated, hardworking individuals who are loyal to their blind human companions, with a willingness to do their best.
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