Monday, June 6, 2011

Puppies with Pull

Vinson in walking stride on my left

Vinson in relation to me
If you've watched any of the popular dog training television shows, one of the topics you are familiar with is leash training. Dog owners strive to get to a point where their canine will not pull ahead of them on the leash, will enter doors only after the person, etc.

Interestingly, this is quite the opposite of how we are to train Seeing Eye® puppies. Because success as a guide dog ultimately requires pulling in the harness, and entering doors and areas slightly ahead of the human partner, puppy raisers work on specific techniques:

  1. The puppy always walks on our left, the side they will eventually walk on in harness.
  2. The ideal position for the puppy is slightly ahead of the person, as you would envision the distance if they were in a harness.
  3. We do not want to teach the dog to stop pulling completely. Training a dog to re-learn to pull after they've learned not to can be a very difficult challenge.
  4. We do not teach the dogs to enter doorways behind us.
Here are a couple of photos of Vinson taken on the training path at The Seeing Eye this morning. My intent was to show the proper puppy position in relation to the human, but since I was both the human and the cameraman, it may not come across perfectly.

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