the ticketmaster
How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/27/2009 12:14PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I was walking to school today and there was this blind lady with her black Labrador guide dog waiting to cross the street.It was a two laned one way street. There was a car at a red light in one lane and the other lane was completely empty.As I was walking by I told her she could cross the road, which she duly did.Now I'm thinking whether I should have left them alone and let the dog decide when to cross. Did I mess up its routine or something? At first I was glad I helped but now I'm kinda worried...
Squid
RE: How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/27/2009 12:23PM - in reply to the ticketmaster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
My Yellow Lab knows he can go when the light changes to WALK. The black ones must not be so smart.
yup...
RE: How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/27/2009 12:30PM - in reply to the ticketmaster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
What happens is the blind person listens for traffic and when it sounds like the appropriate traffic is moving, s/he tells the dog to cross. The dog will simply disobey if it's unsafe. So it's the person that makes the decision to go, not the dog.

So in your situation, you let the person know that it was okay to give the command. What would have happened if you didn't say anything is the team would have waited until the person thought it was safe, and then she would have told the dog to go.

Don't worry; you just helped speed things up a bit. They would have been fine if you didn't help them, and they're fine now since you did.
ponytayne
RE: How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/27/2009 12:31PM - in reply to the ticketmaster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
my guess is that neither the dog nor the woman were following your advice. Rather, the dog was probably doing exactly what it was trained to do and walk when the walk sign appeared.
However, the woman may have taken your kind advice. If so, she can override the dog's lead.
yup...
RE: How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/27/2009 12:35PM - in reply to ponytayne Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Just to clarify if people are interested, guide dogs pay no attention to walk signs.

Like I said earlier, the person is the one that tells the dog to go, and the dog proceeds if it is safe and disobeys if it is unsafe. At which point the person would try again.
pnw runner
RE: How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/27/2009 2:06PM - in reply to Squid Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
They look both ways.


Squid wrote:

My Yellow Lab knows he can go when the light changes to WALK. The black ones must not be so smart.


I see what you did there. Way to be a racist....
ponytayne
RE: How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/27/2009 2:10PM - in reply to yup... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I see. That's interesting. I saw you post on the other dog thread that you train guide dogs. What criteria are the dogs trained to use to know if it is actually safe to cross? I'm very curious to know this, as many large intersections can have complex movements with left turn lanes and all that.
IRUNINDY
RE: How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/27/2009 2:14PM - in reply to the ticketmaster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Many of our traffic intersections have lights that play a chirping bird sort of noise when the walk light is on. I figured the blind used that.

Now, in an urban environment like this, you have many pigeons, starlings, etc that make a lot of noise. Seems to me if you was going to set something up whereby the bling could use it for a signal, you'd use a noise that you wouldn't normally hear in a downtown area -- perhaps a lion roaring or some such. Using bird noises may force the blind into intersections against their will.
You Are A Dumbass
RE: How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/27/2009 3:08PM - in reply to the ticketmaster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Guide dogs know when to cross the road because the f u c king chicken tells them!
Mowgli
RE: How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/27/2009 4:49PM - in reply to You Are A Dumbass Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
There is a Canadian Comic who does a great routine on a similar scenario. Blind guy and the signal that tells them it's okay to cross.
PwD-SD-Awareness
RE: How do guide dogs know when to cross the road? 5/28/2009 12:20PM - in reply to Mowgli Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
It's a team effort per say! As a trainer as well as a legally blind individual it is my part to listen to the traffic as guide dogs do not read signs. However the dogs are trained to make intelligent decisions *Intelligently Disobeying*, in unsafe, dangerous situations.

The training evolves in having a sighted partner using a 2 way to communicate with the trainer. As they drive up or told when to drive up towards the team. And the driver will communicate to the trainer when they reach what is called the dead man zone. This is the area in which the dogs must disobey a cue to cross. Though this isn't done first as one teaches these dogs about driveways with moving obstacles. Once the dogs do the auto stop on moving vehicle forward then backwards then and only then would one start the teachings of traffic in low key first.

One of my biggest pet peeves though is when drivers will not totally stop then beep their horns to more less tell a perdestrian to cross. The biggest problem is our guides are taught to don't cross when vehicles are moving and cross when vehicles are stopped. *totally stopped* No drifting is allowed. This happens even when we cross the road a driver will start drifting and what does this mean to our guide dog. It means Danger! Move quickly either forward or backwards which ever is the closest safest spot.

Hope this gives some insight.