- How much is a Guide Dog?
As long as you have a guide dog provided by Guide Dogs Association Turkey (which is up to 8 or 10 years of age if there is not extraordinary circumstances) food, vets and even toys are provided by us.
- What does a Guide Dog Do Exactly?
A guide dog takes you from point A to point B; on determined routes to places you go most frequently. E.g. Home to Work, Home to the Shop etc.
Stops at all kerbs, stairs going up and down, also stops when there is an obstacle in front of you.
It is important to mention that a guide dog is not responsible of knowing where you are. That is always the job of the guide dog owner. But our Guide Dog and Mobility Instructor does teach you how to count your step, helps you with tips such as finding your direction according to sunlight, and listening to traffic before you cross a road.
- What happens when I go out of my routes?
The dog does not know where you are this is your responsibility, but it will still stop at kerbs, stairs and when there is an obstacle in front of you and guides your as it is conditioned to do so.
But the most important thing that needs to be remembered on a new route is that a guide dog is a living being and not a robot so it can be distracted easier.
- How do I deal with stray dogs?
Guide dogs are raised to not be a threat or have a body language that would be threatening to other dogs. So usually stray dogs in Turkey will leave you alone once they realise the guide dog is not a threat to its territory.
Although as a precaution we will provide you with a tool (Dazer II) that is designed to get rid of dogs around you with a high pitched frequency that humans cannot hear. It does not cause pain or hurt other dogs in any way just makes them uncomfortable.
Your own dog will not be affected since house pets are raised in environments that have these high-pitched frequencies such as a microwave in the house, so they are used to it and are not bothered by it.
Another solution we have is that if your daily used routes go through stay dog territories that can be a danger to your dog is changing your route in order to keep you and your dog safe.
- Where does the guide dog live?
It has to live indoors with you and be treated as part of your family in order to do its job to its full potential. We do not accept balconies or gardens for the dogs living quarters.
So clients have to speak to their landlords in order to be eligible for a guide dog.
- How do they act in public transport?
Firstly, there is a law waiting to pass in the parliament, it states that dogs will be allowed on all public transport and to cafes etc.
When you board a train or a bus your dog will lay under your feet and not move. They are trained to do so.
- Stages of Training?
A guide dogs training starts when it is about 2 months when it is given to a puppy walker family. Here they learn basic commands – sit, stay, down etc. They also learn to to behave in different environments and become a member of society.
The second stage of training begins when the puppies mature to 1 year olds. They are taken from families and moved to kennels. First they are assessed for 3 weeks to see if they are fit characters to becoming guide dogs. If they are fit than the training commences which take up to 5 months. Within this training there is stopping at kerbs, learning what moving traffic is, walking according to obstacles on the pavement and other different concepts.
In all starges of there training, our dogs’ characters are assessed in order to fit them with the right client in the end of training.
The last stage of training is with the visually impaired client where they come to ankara for 1 or 2 weeks and live with the guide dog. They learn basic commands and how to drive the dog as well as how to look after the dog. The last week which is the 3rd week, the guide dog and mobility trainer go to the clients home and teach the dog their most frequently used routes.
- Which breeds are used?
At Guide Dogs Association Turkey we use Golden Retriever and Labrador Retrievers. The reason behind this is;
- They are well natured and willing to work.
- They have a medium range size fit for human beings.
- They are double coated which makes them adaptable to different climates (hot and cold)
- How will I manage toileting the dog and walking the dog?
Our trainers will teach you how to do this. You mainly stand still and with leashes that are up to 10 meters long the dog can sniff, walk and toilet in a green grass area.
(You will have to pick up after your guide dog. You can tell what the dog is doing from its body positioning.)
- What is an Assessment?
Assessments are for us to decided if you can have a dog or not. They are questions we ask you to determine this. Other than that we look at your balance, orientation etc. in order to find you the right guide dog.
We see your living quarters, we ask you if you got a dog where would you keep it, did you speak to your landlord, what exactly is your visual impairment condition.
The best thing you can do before we come to visit you in your home is decide why you would like to own a guide dog.
- What is matching to a guide dog mean?
Matching is a process from begining of a training till the end of it. The clients are always in the back of our trainers minds in order to match them with the right dog according to their characters, sizes and the dogs characters.
It is very important to give the right dog to the right person for the dog to fulfill its full potential. We consider everything from the clients tone of voice, to the area they live and even their speed.
- What is a puppy walker family?
A puppy walker is someone who looks after the puppy from about six weeks of age until they are one year old and ready for advanced guide dog training. Once they reach the age of one they are taken from the puppy walker.
The aim of a puppy walker family is to have a puppy that is socialised well with people and all aspects of daily life, who is also friendly and well behaved. It is crucial for the puppy walker to always be with the dog, take it to where ever they go on a leash and making sure it is at ease in all environments and also for it to be exposed to town or city conditions, other animals and traffic/cars etc. Of course our trainers will advise in each step and give exercises to do for the puppy walkers.
- Puppy Walker Criteria?
It is very important for each individual of a family to act exactly the same towards the puppy and follow the rules given below:
- The puppy should not be left alone for more than 3 to 4 hours each day.
- The puppy cannot live outdors or on a balcony. It has to live indoors with the family.
- It need to have a routine walking schedule and get taken out at least 3 times a day.
- The puppy should not be allowed to play fetch as it can turn into obsessive compulsive behaviours.
- The puppy should not be allowed to go onto furniture.
- The puppy should not be fed anything other than its own dry food.
- People under the age of 18 cannot be puppy walkers.
- Puppy walker families may have other dogs considering they are well socialised with other pets.
- Most importantly the puppies must be raised with love and care.
- Important things to Note:
If you as a client live with your family, you must remember they are not the ones who go through training which means a guide dog will be your responsibility and yours only. You are responsible of feeding, toileting and grooming. This may be enough reason for us to give you a written warning if you are not being responsible of your guide dog.
Our trainers will teach you how to look after your god, feed and groom it.
If you are working you are required to talk to your workplace and boss and get their permission to be able to bring your dog into work with you. Because guide dogs are not to be left alone and are trained to be with you at all times.