See also Seeing Eye Dog, Dog Guide, Service Animal, and Assistance Animal. This is a specially trained dog that helps people who are blind as they walk about. The dog wears a specially designed harness with a handle shaped like an upside down “U”, allowing the user to grasp the harness comfortably while walking. These animals are highly trained and must always be considered to be a working tool not a pet to be casually admired or petted by other than the owner.
Beginning shortly after weaning, these animals are carefully watched and reared to exhibit certain characteristics (obedience, calmness in strange surroundings, passivity when around other animals). Additionally, their health is monitored since only the healthiest animals will be used for the advanced training and offered to a blind person for years of service.