Our first blog in this series of entries on Guide Dog Schools from around the world focuses on a very small school indeed.
Guide Dogs of Texas is a school operating in San Antonio, Texas that caters to Blind and visually impaired individuals in the state of Texas. Its regional feel allows the school to provide extremely personalised care and ongoing support with its clients post graduation.
Training takes place either at the designated centre in San Antonio or at the clients home, depending on if their circumstances mean they can leave their job/family to train away from home. Training takes roughly 3 or 4 weeks after the right dog has been matched to an owner.
This approach means, that a profile of the clients and dogs are built up prior to class and during a “matching visit” where the instructor brings the dog to meet the potential client in their home, the instructor and client can discuss if the dog is right for them. If agreed, training goes ahead.
During the period of training, as with most schools, handler and dog are taught to work together as a team and the client is given the tools and knowledge to take the best care of their dog.
Once training is complete, and a fee of $1 is paid to the association, the handler goes home with their new guide with follow up visits from their instructor to help them settle in and give them training on routes the client will need the most.
Annual aftercare visits are ongoing support where the trainer visits within the home and sees how the partnership is doing. Phone support and in some cases, further visits are made if the client is especially worried about the dogs progress.
All vet and food bills are the client’s responsibility but the school gives the equipment needed to the client at no cost.
We are very lucky to be able to follow, right now, an ongoing blog about a client training with his new Guide Dog pup at the Guide Dogs of texas campus as we speak. Training began only yesterday and we’ve been given permission to link to his blog from here so you guys can Read the latest entry here or Subscribe to the RSS feed
We hope you’ll enjoy reading about Justin and Piper’s journey together and we’ll soon have more insight to other Guide Dogs Training schools from around the world.