Training a guide dog
By Sakshi Agrawal
15-month-old Eva is a Labrador golden retriever cross and is a guide dog in training with her owner Josh.
“We have had her since she was four months old. My partner works from home and she looked after him in the earlier months. Now that Eva has grown up, she comes to work with me about twice a week,” Josh said.
Josh and his partner wanted a puppy and decided to try training a guide dog before getting a dog for themselves.
“We got in touch with Guides Dog Victoria and we had to follow a number of prerequisites and training to get her,” he said.
He said that there are many deal breakers that people face which may put them off such a program.
“They [dogs] can’t be left unattended for more than three hours a day. Since they are not mature enough in the first few months of their life, they cannot come to work with you which can be very difficult for some people,” Josh added.
Talking about his experience training a guide dog, he said: “It’s like training a well-behaved dog of your own. You are a little bit stricter. She gets to experience environments that she might encounter in her working life.”
Josh takes Eva to multiple places like supermarkets, trains, buses, restaurants and even cinemas.
Eva will be returning in a couple of months for a career assessment to determine if she will be a guide dog or some other kind of assistance animal.
“I am surely going to miss having her around. But she is going back to help someone and hopefully she will get assigned a career,” he said.