MOTIVATION TO SEE THE WORLD AS COLOR BLIND
One of my final duties in the military was being a Senior Drill Sergeant. The best part of this job was having the opportunity to shape the lives of our future soldiers, leaders, and everyday citizens. I was extremely lucky to have incredible Drill Sergeants on my team, so I didn’t have to really do too much. That first moment of military life for these individuals, known as “Pick-Up Day” in the Drill Sergeant world, was the beginning of molding their young brains and thoughts into what I felt was most important.
After some slight yelling and minor exercising (sarcasm), I would have every single person lined up inside the bay and began the process of what I felt was most important for a large portion of our recruits. The first words I spoke to them went something like this…
“I don’t care if you’re a country boy from Nebraska, a gangster from Chicago, a football hero, a Senator’s son, or raised on food stamps. I don’t care if you’re short, tall, white, black, brown, yellow, blue-eyed, male or female. I don’t care if your last name is Smith or (found someone whose name I couldn’t pronounce). I don’t care about anything in your life until what you do from this moment on. I promise each of you that the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and every other enemy of the United States will shoot you in the face regardless of who you ‘think’ you are.”
I then made sure to bunk white people with black people, city folks with country folks, and so-on. Anytime I noticed clicks beginning to form, I destroyed them. I began the process of changing the way these young minds think. What if we all had this type of experience when we were 18 years old?
Or, what if we were all color blind?
ARE DOGS COLOR BLIND?
I’ve had this question asked every single instance while conducting boundary training. Whenever you order an e-fence containment system from the number of companies offering them, marking flags are included. The flags almost always come in one color, white. So, when families ask why I use blue flags or blue tape for inside and outside boundary training, the discussion commences. I always want to set a dog up for success when introducing a new behavior or technique. Just like using clear communication with dogs, I attempt to do the same with humans and make it as easy to comprehend as possible.
The best way to understand how a dog sees colors differently than humans do is to look at the colors of ink used for your at-home printer. There are typically only a few colors used, but the combination of those colors can create a mirrored image of anything you choose to print. The human eye has three types of cones it uses to see, and the color combinations are red, yellow, and blue. A dog’s eye only has two cones, yellow and blue. An application called the Dog Vision app gives users the ability to see how a dog sees the world in shades and in a blurred state more-so than no colors.
No, dogs are not actually color blind in the sense that they do not see any type of color. They see the world through their eyes like a color-blind person sees the world.
CHANGE THE WORLD (I)
As we continue to apply dog training lessons with ways to change the world, sometimes dogs can have a measurable impact on the world through unimaginable ways.
In 2014, a doctor began his journey to find a cure for night blindness in dogs. Dr. Gustavo Aguirre’s research on blindness in dogs, particularly night blindness, led to a breakthrough treatment for children suffering from a lifetime of general blindness. Babies who are born with a disease called Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) will have extreme vision limitations, general blindness, for their entire life.
It doesn’t always take a highly trained Service Dog to create a new outlook on life for someone in need. Our genuine love for dogs fueled Dr. Aguirre’s motivation for helping them. In return, a child who would’ve suffered from lifelong vision problems will now see the world in a whole new way.
CHANGE THE WORLD (II)
Most of the dogs I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to work with have the maturity level of a 4- or 5-year-old child (Even though sometimes they give me the attitude of teenager). Sometimes all we have to do is look at the innocence provided by our children and follow their example.
In 2017, a heartwarming storing became national news when 5-year-old Jax Rosebush tried to trick his teacher. He got a buzz haircut to make his teacher think his best buddy, Reddy was his twin brother. I can’t think of a better way of explaining how to be color blind than this inspirational story.
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