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Blind handler?


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This is an odd question.

 

Can you think of any way a person could run a dog in a sdt if they were blind? Even if it was NC?

 

Thanks

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Yeah, I was asking opinions about Sheepdog trials.

I guess nobody thinks it is possible

 

The other stuff was interesting

 

dreamer......dreamer

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I guess I don't really see how it would be possible, Tea. I have poor eyesight myself. I can't really see what's going on at the top on most courses, but that's not fatal -- many dogs can handle the top by themselves. But to tell the dog where to take the sheep on the drive, it seems to me you need to know where the dog is in relation to the sheep. I know that with my bad depth perception, I often can't tell on a drive away whether the dog is, for example, just on the far side of 3:00 in relation to the sheep, or just on the near side. Obviously, seeing that correctly affects the commands you would give, and I've gone wrong many times as a result. If you couldn't see at all where the dog was, what could you do? An experienced dog could conceivably be able to handle the pen largely on its own. But the shed? Impossible, I would think. So I just don't see how it could be done.

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I saw it done once many years ago. An old handler came to a trial with one of his old dogs. It had been many years since he had trialed and he had gone blind. Some of the old hands talked him into running with the help of a handler standing beside him telling him what was going on. They managed to get around the course without too many mishaps. Everyone was happy, including the old dog.

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Gives new meaning to "Blind" outrun! At the novice level with just a fetch and pen probably. Lines would depend much on the dog's natural talent and I bet there would be few commands!

 

I know there is one guy who runs in arena trials. He is pretty amazing and more adept than many sighted handlers at knowing where the dog (using a bell on the dog) and the sheep are! He uses his ears to listen for the movement of the sheep. I was doing set out once and this guy was there. I had a second dog tied near him and asked the blind guy to 'keep an eye' on the dog. When I had a break I asked him how my dog behaved. He described a fairly accurate description of how the dog would behave. When the sheep ran by the dog got up went to the end of his chain then went back to ie under the truck. This is what the dog would have done as I had observed it on prior occassions.

 

This guy can put beepers on obstacles in some arena trials so he can guide his dog towards them. So far he has only run at the lower levels but has been successful (not that arena trials equate with field trials). Last time I saw him he was working on driving with Gordon Watt at a clinic.

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