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Deservant of Guidedog?

By Sulfura - 2 April 2008 32

About 15 minutes ago, on Alinga Street just near the Post office in Civic, I saw a middle-aged blind man get into an altercation with a woman over his treatment of his guidedog.

 I didn’t see him mistreat his dog, but from the way he screamed at the woman I am guessing he is not the gentlest of people.

 The dog seemed very timid, with its ears flat against its head and tail between legs. After the shouting match the blind fellow wanted to go into the Post Office and the dog couldn’t find the right door so the man started tugging its harness quite hard and raising his voice.

 I’ll give the gentleman the benefit of the doubt, he was perhaps having a rubbish day and was just being rougher than normal.

 Although it got me thinking, does anyone know what kind of training visually impaired people recieve on how to handle their dogs? And is there a way you could report the abuse of a guide dog to the powers that be?

 This fellow aside, if a disabled person abuses their helper animal, the animal should be given to someone more grateful who is also in need.

 Did anyone else witness the argument and hear what was actually said? I only caught a few snatches. One thing I did hear was the man saying to the woman how few guide dogs there were and how many people needed them, which struck me as an odd way to justify your poor treatment of such a special animal.

What’s Your opinion?

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32 Responses to
Deservant of Guidedog?
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valkyrie4 9:29 am 27 Apr 08

Hi there all,
I am currently using my second dog guide. She is a 2 year old labrador golden retriever cross who has a few issues that we are working through…
I have to say that dealing with the general public can be the best of things and the worst of things… I have been fairly lucky in most of my dealings no one has done anything too dangerous or abusive to me but I have heard of other peoples experiences that almost take your breath away… the worst that has happened to me is that a few people have tried to take my dogs harness to guide us when we have asked for help… big deal eh? Well, you try being pulled down the street and see how you feel…
I have only had one person tell me I am cruel for using a dog and that was outside my own home where I take my dogs to toilet. My dogs have both been trained to use a toileting harness which eliminates the need for me to pick up after them as we use a shared naturestrip. Anyhow this person stopped her car and started yelling at me because she thought I was so cruel (my dog at this time was walking around quite happily with her tail wagging…) I politely told her the situation and that if she took objection she could report me to the RSPCA and since she already had my address I gave her my name… do you know I never heard anything from them or her?
There are Guide dog schools in every state in Australia ( and one national school, Seeing Eye dogs Australia ( People from ACT are serviced by Guidedogs NSW/ACT ( or Seeing Eye Dogs Australia. This choice is just like picking out a school for your child, each gives you a great education they just achieve it in different ways. Generally Guide Dogs have leather harnesses where as Seeing Eye Dogs have material harnesses with a martingale strap between the front legs of the dog. Knowing this will help direct your complaint to the right place. If you feel that someone is mistreating their dog. I generally believe that it is best to approach the person and ask what they were doing and that you were concerned… what you think is abusive might have been extremely necessary… I would also tell them that you are thinking of reporting them to their school… this might be all they need in order to start acting more appropriately. If you can ask for their name and their dogs name. If you can’t get this information, you need descriptive information about the location, the person and the dog. I would always start with reporting them to their school as the school is able to provide more appropriate support than an agency like the RSPCA. If necessary a school can remove the dog from the owner. It is usually a case that the person is given extra training.
So we know dogs are dogs and we are human. We both have our good days and our bad days. The worst thing is when both your bad days combine… it is possible to over react.
Whilst dog guide schools have been moving towards more positive training methods such as clicker training, these methods can be hard for some people as the reinforcement has to be precisely timed and is usually based on some visual cue and for some people who are totally blind this is challenging and not appropriate. The correction collar is still widely used too and various degrees of correction are taught depending on what your dog has done wrong… generally you start with a verbal correction, moving to a leash correction moving to a harness correction. Personally, I found that my first dog reacted more strongly to a leash correction than a harness correction so I saved leash corrections for if she did something really bad…
Harness corrections may look bad but they can not actually inflict harm to the dog as the design distributes the tension across the body and since the harnesses are designed to be worn everyday they are very soft with no sharp pieces.
with my current dog I was not taught to use the harness for corrections, as my instructor believes that the harness should only be seen by the dog in a positive light. I was actually taught a lot more harness techniques, ways to make my dog speed up or slow down using the harness.
In training we are taught about public relations. The bottom line is, public donations is what enables us to have our dogs, the schools receive little if any government funding so the people who see us on the streets are hopefully going to get such a warm glow from seeing us work that they are going to dig deep into their pockets and give large donations to one of the schools (it costs in excess of $25 000 to train a dog guide).
When we learn corrections therefore, we also learn how we need to justify it to the public who are likely to be watching. This might be that you talk a lot more than what your dog needs… ‘fido NO.” is what the dog needs but you might say “fido NO – leave that dog alone you are working…” all that is for whoever is listening. One really important thing we are taught is that you need to find something positive pretty quickly that your dog does, this is equally important for the public as well as for the dog.
Sometimes things happen that you don’t expect. Like the other day I was walking and my dog was so excited that she turned a corner very sharply and whacked my hand onto a metal pole. Now, in this case you are taught to bang the pole to bring it to your dogs attention (if you hit a tree branch you are meant to bring it down and shake it at your dog if possible). Well, I banged this pole and it was quite hollow inside so it made this almighty racket… certainly my dog won’t run me into that pole again in a hurry… we both got a fright!
I don’t know if anyone is still reading this thread but if you ever have any questions about Guide dogs ring up one of the schools they have staff who are able to help with any matter.

SheepGroper 9:27 pm 09 Apr 08

Is that physical love, or platonic?

Timberwolf65 9:04 pm 09 Apr 08

Until one has loved an animal, one’s soul remains unawakened.

blood_nut 9:27 am 07 Apr 08

Not struggling Thumper, but thanks – I make no excuses for sloppy lanuage in hurried posts.

I do apologise for the bad pun which seemed to go unoticed by Sulfura.

Sulfura – pot calling the kettle deservant much?

Mælinar 8:50 pm 06 Apr 08

I think one of my cats has a bit of human in him, as well as several other animals.

Thumper knows of the cat I speak of. Our current theory is he escaped from an experiment involving cross-breeding animals with each other, and ended up at the RSPCA, because even though he’s an evil genius, he’s deaf, so can be snuck up on by an intrepid animal catcher.

Thumper 7:40 pm 06 Apr 08

I think that the word people are stuggling to find is anthropomorphism.

Sulfura 6:27 pm 06 Apr 08

“human social morays”

* mores

Sina 6:18 pm 04 Apr 08

blood_nut said :

There was no direct implcation of humanisation. The post (through a lack of evidence of any physical abuse at all) implied that the animal’s ‘abuse’ was somehow perpetrated by a sensitivity to human social morays.

Hence my comment – only fools humanise animals.

Which actually makes the time you took making your post completely redundant.

I still don’t see your point, but if it makes you happy then fine.

blood_nut 4:36 pm 04 Apr 08

“The original post had nothing to do with people “humanising” animals, so your comments are completely irrelevant to the matter at hand.”

There was no direct implcation of humanisation. The post (through a lack of evidence of any physical abuse at all) implied that the animal’s ‘abuse’ was somehow perpetrated by a sensitivity to human social morays.

Hence my comment – only fools humanise animals.

Which actually makes the time you took making your post completely redundant.

Sulfura 11:18 am 04 Apr 08

lol, sorry! *deserving.

Don’t know what word I was thinking of.

Sina 5:41 pm 03 Apr 08

blood_nut said :

Simply pointing out that only fools humanise animals.

They let them sleep in their bed. Sit on their couch. Eat from the dinner table.

I’ll reiterate that dogs are dogs – not humans.

The original post had nothing to do with people “humanising” animals, so your comments are completely irrelevant to the matter at hand.

Cameron 1:43 pm 03 Apr 08

el said :


I can’t believe it took til the sixth comment for someone to point that out.

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