Friday, April 17, 2009
Training a guide dog with a private trainer
When I became legally blind and needed a guide dog, there were no schools that trained guide dogs for wheelchair users. I already had a service dog that was a white Siberian Husky named Lily. I decided to have her trained to also guide me. I first trained her to lead me with just the leash. She did very well at this. I finally found a trainer who was willing to work with me. He and I trained Lily to lead me from the wheelchair. Several years later, Lily became very ill with Valley Fever, and I retired her. She died a month later, while I was still looking for another dog to train. I was heartbroken, but I knew I needed to find a dog soon.I tried out a rescued Border Collie, but he had been very abused and could not handle being out in public. I then found a Siberian Husky who is named Nala. My trainer and I worked with this dog and within 4 months she became a trustworthy guide dog. She learned very fast and really seemed to enjoy working. I have had Nala for 7 years and she has been a wonderful guide dog. She is now 9 years old, and has some arthritis and has been diagnosed as having asthma. It is time for Nala to retire.