TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A guide dog class hit the streets of downtown St. Petersburg on Tuesday to help the pups work on their skills before being assigned to a person in need of a guide dog.
Southeastern Guide Dogs worked with the newest group of class-ready dogs Tuesday morning.
Trainers harnessed the dogs and simulated real-life working conditions. The dogs navigated street-crossings and traffic, responded to cues and dealt with distractions in the environment.
“A lot of it is distraction work. The dog shouldn’t be scenting, shouldn’t be saying ‘hi’ to people, other dogs. Shouldn’t be chasing squirrels. They should pretty much be walking in a straight line unless something is in their path of travel,” said Alice Ryskamp, a guide dog training team manager.
The dogs have completed all required training and are waiting to be matched with their “forever person.”