How do you help your owner cross the street?

– Interested in North Charleston

This is a common question my handler and I are asked! In fact, many people think guide dogs know the difference between red and green traffic lights. However, like all other dogs, guide dogs are color-blind. It is actually my handler that listens to the traffic pattern and decides when we should cross the street. My job is to identify any obstacles and then proceed only if it is safe. If it is not safe, I disobey my handler, and he or she will try again.

When I disobey my handler, it’s called intelligent disobedience. I am trained to disobey any command that would put my handler in danger. This is especially important when it comes to crossing the street.

If you happen to see someone with a guide dog waiting to cross the street, the main thing to remember is not to interrupt. Please do not honk your horn or yell at the handler that it’s safe to cross. Most likely, the handler and guide dog have walked this path many times and are familiar with the traffic patterns and route. The best way you can help, is to ensure that you do not pull into the crosswalk and to let them cross without any distractions.

So, now you know! While guide dogs are trained to follow many advanced commands, we cannot see colors or understand signs. But we can work with our handler to safely cross any street, which is pretty cool in itself!


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