Dogs with the mission to help and facilitate the lives of people with special needs
These dogs, better known as four-legged angels, play a fundamental role in the lives of the less able bodied, helping to make their daily mobility that much easier.
But training a guide dog is no easy task and requires the work of experts who teach them how to avoid obstacles, keep calm in crowded places, and obey commands—such as, sit, lie, stay, and no—without hesitation. They also need to learn how to wait for pedestrian signals to turn green and how to identify certain dangers that their owners may be incapable of perceiving, forcing their canine companions to make live-saving decisions.
Another important factor that is taken into consideration before training them is the personality of the dog: it cannot be frantic, fearful or without initiative.
There are certain breeds that are best suited to the training, such as German Shepherd, Labrador and Golden Retriever, but even a friendly mongrel can be moulded to meet the specific needs of its owner. Dogs can also be trained to work with the police and rescue services (sniffer dogs), the military, deaf people, or even work as therapists.
One last thought: if you encounter one of these angels, be careful not to distract them… don’t forget, after all, that they are working!