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Working With Assistance Dogs

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 25 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Assistance Dogs Assistance Dog Puppy

Assistance dogs are trained to work with the less able bodied amongst us. These animals are trained from a young age to be the eyes, ears and even hands of the people they go to live with. Apart from being a family pet the dog is a lifeline to the outside world. Training these dogs and working with the recipients of these wonderful animals is a worthwhile occupation and very rewarding.

Guide Dogs for the Blind

Guide Dogs for the Blind is a large organisation with four dog training schools plus a breeding centre spread across the country. They also have twenty eight district teams so for anyone wishing to work for this organisation there are plenty of opportunities.

Dog Care Staff

Dog care staff work with the puppies and breeding stock. They take care of the young puppies and also the older dogs and carry out most dog care duties such as grooming, feeding, cleaning kennels and exercising the dogs. The working hours can start early and include weekends and bank holidays. The dog care staff will also be expected to carry out training work with the dogs.

Puppy Walkers

Puppies go to puppy walkers for the first twelve to fourteen months of their lives. Puppy walking is a voluntary job. There are about 1000 puppy walkers at any one time who teach basic obedience such as sit, stay, down and walking on the lead. Veterinary fees are paid as is food and other puppy expenses. The puppies will be walked in all kinds of environments so that they become familiar with roads, towns, shops and all sort of unfamiliar noises.

Guide Dog Trainers

After being with puppy walkers the dogs go back to the training centre. Guide Dog Trainers take over walking the dogs many miles and assessing their charges abilities until they feel they are ready for instruction to become guide dogs. For this job you need to be able to assess your charges, enjoy walking, hold a driving licence and be a team worker.

Guide Dog Mobility Instructors

It is the mobility instructors who work with individual dogs training and assessing them each step of the way until they can be paired with a visually impaired client. They will work with the client and their dog for four weeks either at the clients home or in a hotel. This will be followed with after care and continued contact.

Rehabilitation Workers

There is also the position of the rehabilitation worker who works with the visually impaired to help them adapt to living independently and gain new living skills.

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People

Working for a canine charity does not mean that you have to handle a dog. There are many other jobs available for those who wish to work with this worthwhile charity. Volunteers also play a big part in the organisation.

There is a vast array of voluntary jobs available for people who want to work with this charity. From puppy walkers, brood bitch and stud dog fosterers to emergency hearing dog care, fundraisers, driving clients and work experience kennel hands.

Work vacancies can include such jobs as housekeeping at one of the training centres where clients stay while being trained with their dogs. Dogs go through socialising training, advanced sound work training followed by home placement training. Each step of the way qualified trainers and workers work with dog and client until they work as one.

Other Assistance Dog Jobs

Mention assistance dogs and we immediately think of Guide Dogs for the Blind and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf but there are more just as worthy assistance dog charities where paid and volunteer vacancies occur. Alert Dogs are dogs that alert their owners that they are about to have an epileptic fit. Others are trained to alert a hypo attack in someone that has diabetes. Other dogs can be trained to sniff out and detect cancer. Canine Partners train dogs who will aid people with physical disabilities lead a more fulfilling life.

Who would think that our faithful four legged friends were capable of helping us and in so many ways? To be able to work with the organisations that match these dogs to the human friends is certainly a worthwhile career.

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