Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dog Distracted Guide Dog

I ran into a tricky situation today. I was walking with Sterling, and as we came to an intersection, there was already a guide team waiting there. As soon as the guide saw Sterling, he started jumping up and down and became VERY distracted. The handler gave him corrections, but the dog continued to focus on Sterling. I called out that I had a dog and backed up several feet (I was already 10 ft away!) to give them space to work it out. When it came time for them to cross, the handler told the dog forward, and the dog almost ran him into a car that was blocking the cross walk (stopped car).

The dog also ran his head into a pedestrian that was passing by the team. I followed behind them...unfortunalty this is the way I had to go...and the dog kept spinning around to look at Sterling. When we got to the crub, the team stopped, and I called out my position as I passed behind them.

I am wondering if I should call the school so that the handler can get some help reworking with his dog? I would say maybe they were having a bad day...but one other time we ran into this team, the guide ran the handler into a railing looking back a Sterling.

What would you do....any suggestions? Also, was what I did in the situation correct, anything that would have been more helpful? I did make sure Sterling did not stare at the other dog, nor did bark or anything like that....


Lisa and Ellie said...

I asked a local guide dog handler this question since at my church, when I had Runza.. the man who was using a guide dog had a difficult time handling his dog around Runza. The handler I asked said she should be able to handle another dog - it was nice to alert them so they can use the correct correction/command to ignore the other dog - but that just what you did was perfect. Now with Ellie, that dog that got distracted with RUnza in church is much better. I guess they were a fairly new team when I had Runza and just had to work out some kinks. I'm pretty sure though that the handler knows the issue and might already be in contact with the school and could even be working on resolving it.

Brittany said...

Wow, that is a difficult situation! You could call GDB and just ask what you could do to be helpful to this team if you run into them again. That may get the ball rolling without actually saying something like "hey this team really needs some help"

I ran into a team once (obviously a new one because they had the new swiss harness) and the dog almost pulled its handler off the bus-stop bench trying to get to Hobbs and Patriot.

Princess Coral said...

We are a new team (about 10 months) and Coral's biggest issue happens to be dog distraction, and my lack of assertiveness made things worse that it should be at the beginning. However, it's getting better these days. I think the turning point was about 5 months ago. It was a very scary incident for me though; we were walking along and stopped at the curb. For some reason, Coral was very anxious to go. When the light changed, I gave her the "forward" command, and we were almost dashing into the street! I was pulling the harness and telling her steady without knowing what to expect! I also felt vearing to the left. Then I heard a small dog barking on our left & behind me! Someone with a dog was coming towards up and passed us on the left side. When we finally got to the curb safely, Coral was still focusing on the dog now on the other side of the street! I corrected her as hard as I could, and had her do puppy push-ups and whole obedience sequence. I was mad & scared at the same time! I didn't call GDB that day since it was in the evening, but I was going to if that happened again. However, since that incident, things have been much better. Maybe the correction finally sank in?

Sorry about the long rumbling... But the most scary thing was that I had no idea what was going on until heaing a dog bark. So I'd appreciate you giving the team space to rework and alerting the handler about another dog.