Integrating the Tellington TTouch method in guide dog training

Lloyd, Janice, and Roe, Elizabeth (2012) Integrating the Tellington TTouch method in guide dog training. In: International Mobility Conference 2012. pp. 127-130. From: 14th International Mobility Conference , 13 - 16 February 2012, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

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Guide dogs benefit people who are blind or vision impaired by facilitating independent mobility, providing companionship and improving social-function (Lloyd et al., 2008a,b). Although most guide dog and handler (owner) teams work well (Lloyd et al., 2009), training can be stressful for even the most robust dog. Unfavourable effects of training appear to include increased anxiety, reduced concentration and a decreased ability to learn (Lloyd, 2006; Roe & Madigan, 2008a,b; Vincent & Michell, 1996). Months of training are required to produce a guide dog, during which time the dog learns many tasks including those with a high level of discrimination. However, many dogs are withdrawn from training due to anxiety and fear-based behaviours (Goddard and Beilharz, 1984; Lloyd, 2002, 2003; Stafford et al. 2003) resulting in considerable wastage for guide dog schools. Analyses of the records of training centres in England, U.S.A. and Australia by Goddard and Beilharz (1984) indicated that dogs failed not because they could not learn what was required, but because competing responses such as fear, interfered with the dog's performance. Guide dog schools are challenged with developing dogs that are sensitive enough to be managed by their trainers and owners, yet temperamentally able to deal with the stress of training and working environments (Pouliot, 2002). Typically, dogs commencing training are young (12-20 months old) and have recently left their ‘puppy-walking’ families to live in a kennel environment. Therefore incorporating techniques to help these dogs relax, increase confidence and focus can assist learning and improve the welfare of the dogs. Combining the Tellington TTouch method as an adjunct to traditional guide dog training may help to achieve these goals. This poster will explain this method, its rationale and discuss ways that it may affect the training and development of guide dogs and other working dogs.

Item ID: 20945
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2013 02:27
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110399 Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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