Preparing the client and handing over a dog
It is of prime importance to ensuring the satisfaction of future guide dog owners that they are looked after when they ask for a dog. There are three qualified instructors in spatial orientation and independent movement in our team, who will go through their individual needs and requirements with them. It is not uncommon for us to put a dog into training based on an inquiry made by a client, especially when that client has specific requirements. The waiting time for the provision of a dog depends on our ability to meet the client’s requirements with regard to their dog – particular qualities, breed, sex, colour etc. As soon as we agree that we have a suitable dog for the client, preparation for handing over the dog will proceed for the entire duration of that dog’s training. We can meet while the dog is being trained and regularly go through all the required information, from feeding and caring for the dog to special commands needed to communicate with the dog. These meetings allow the future owner, instructor and dog to meet each other. The instructor will learn about the environment in which the applicant lives, his walking speed and all his needs. The future dog owner will learn about the dog’s nature, how it acts in certain situations, how to control him and how adaptable he is. The dog gets used to his new human at these meetings, making sure he is not a total stranger when the dog is handed over.
During dog training, the client asks the Employment Office in the place where he lives for a contribution toward buying a guide dog. The conditions which apply to awarding a contribution are found in Act No. 329/2011 Sb. We agree on the procedure in submitting an application for a contribution with each client individually. This mainly involves when to submit the application, the documents required for the application and any additional payment that must be made over and above the contribution provided by the Employment Office.
We suit the actual handover to the client’s possibilities and the needs of the dog to make sure that learning this new life in a new environment is as effective as possible. The instructor takes the dog to the place where the client lives and begins practising the required routes according to a pre-agreed plan. The instructor stays somewhere close to where the client lives and usually remains for 5 days for basic training. If required, this period of intensive training can be divided into several parts or extended. The instructor returns the following week to check and supervise that the routes learned are correct. Each client agrees on an individual plan for subsequent training for the period that follows – for example, learning routes in Prague or in another city (place of study, temporary place of residence etc.).