Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bulgaria to begin first certified guide dog training program

From Novinite August 18:

A training course for guide dogs instructors is being organized for the first time in Bulgaria and six Bulgarians are going to receive certificates as instructors of guide dogs for the blind.

The training course began in July and will end in December of 2008. The course is organised by the "Four Paws" foundation and is co-financed by the European commission.

The trainees are going to be taught by the Russian expert-instructor Aleksey Shamaev, who has prepared over 60 guide dogs instructors during his career.

The training includes four stages and is based on the "learning through doing" method.

Each of the six instructors has the task to prepare and certify their dog and to prepare the blind person who is going to have the dog how to use their four-legged companion's amazing kills.

The instructors are going to have to take some of their tests wearing a blindfold and moving with the dog through the learning polygon and in real city conditions. The instructors will receive scores from an expert committee. Any unnecessary movement away from the sidewalk on failure to stop when there is an obstacle are going to be penalized by taking 10 points from the partners' total score. To pass the exam, the instructor and the dog are going to need a minimum of 80 points from the maximum 100.

The final goal of the project is to place the certified instructors to work at the Bulgarian school for guiding dogs for the blind.