Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs- Who We Are

We are Seeing Eye Dogs, a division of Vision Australia. We’re the largest national service provider in Australia and we
provide working dogs for people with blindness and low vision that need them
to go around their daily business and do the things that they want to do. Our dogs
will assist people to navigate in the environment and travel to the places
that they want to go daily. I think one of the things that really makes
Seeing Eye Dogs stand out versus other types of assistance dogs is the
nature of the work that they do. In a lot of assistance dog situations it’s a
stimulus response so you ask the dog to do a function and the dog does the
function that they’re trained. With the Seeing Eye Dog, it’s different. The dog
could be going to an environment that it’s never been to before and is
required to make good independent decisions to help guide their Handler
and keep both of them safe so you really have to teach the dog how to think and
how to make decisions, which is pretty unique in the dog world.
Seeing Eye Dogs stand out from other assistance animals because of the really
high-quality dogs that they are and how proud they are in the work that they do.
The differences that they make to the clients lives; so much attention and so
many resources are invested into creating a Seeing Eye Dog, even well
before the dog’s born, before it’s even conceived, there’s so much attention
that’s put into making sure that we’re going to breed the best possible puppies
and raise them really to the best possible standards so that they can go
on to be really high-quality working dogs. The training program that we have
now and that we have developed and are continuing to develop is an amalgamation
of a lot of skill sets of a lot of different people. We’re very blessed here
that we’ve got some pretty experienced instructors from all over the world,
and we’ve been able to take the best of the best that each of those people
has and how do we incorporate that into our program. It’s important to
recognize too that our program is not now and never will be stagnant. You’re
always growing, you’re always developing, You’re always looking for
what’s a better way to do things, what’s a more motivating way to reward
the dog. In its simplest form, you’re getting away from telling the dog “Hey, do
something and if you don’t you’ll get a correction” to “Hey, offer some behaviors
and when you offer the one that I want to see repeated I’ll give you a reward”
whether that be food or touch or verbal praise and that’s really motivating
for the dog, that’s introduced a lot of initiative in the dog. We couldn’t do
the amazing work that we do without our huge, unpaid, wonderful, volunteer work
force who pretty much give up their time to look after one of our gorgeous, fluffy,
puppies 24/7 so, we can’t thank those people enough for the
work that they do, we couldn’t do our job without them, and we’re always looking
for more volunteers. The impact that these dogs have on our clients lives is
really incredible and when we see a client especially a new client working with a
new dog, it’s really heartwarming to see the confidence, that upbeat nature that
the dog encourages the client to have you can see that energy as they’re
walking down the street. I think it’s just confidence, it’s companionship, and

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